Parenting is the most challenging and responsible job anyone can have.
There is more criticism than support for parents.
You have to learn the skills of parenting so you can give your child or children the best start possible.
How you have been parented influences your parenting style. Most parents provide enough intimacy, show love and affection and teach children life skills to help them cope with the world around them.
Also, unfortunately, most families have toxic patterns they pass onto children.
There is now overwhelming scientific evidence to prove that childhood maltreatment can cause adult mental illness.
As Oliver James writes, "Whether loved or maltreated, the impact of parental care cascades down the generations."
If you think you have a difficult child, you must cease thinking they were born that way. You may think you have no effect whatsoever in the relationship. BUT YOU DO!
Are you treating your child the way your parents treated you?
Mental illness runs in families because of nurture and not genes. If unhappy patterns are recognised and dealt with, they will not be handed down to future generations.
In some way, you are teaching and modelling behaviour patterns for your child to adopt. Your child is modelling your behaviour all the time.
Emotional abuse is emerging as the single most destructive maltreatment if you persistently point out a child's negative traits.
You are setting them up for an emotionally impoverished life.
It is painful to admit, but most parents at some time have unintentionally maltreated their child or children. Usually, they are not consciously aware of the effect they are having.
Most parents want to do the best for their children. They want each child to reach their potential and contribute to society. When you realise you want to improve your parenting skills, you will find plenty of tips from so-called 'parenting experts'. Many tips are not helpful, so check for the reputation of their source.
Following are some ideas about what you can implement to make your life and your family relationships more rewarding.
1. Notice and acknowledge your child's positive behaviour. Point out exactly what was appropriate. You don't ignore harmful behaviour. Your child will realise you have been paying attention to them. Better to reinforce a positive rather than a negative response.
FACT: The more a child is scolded or reprimanded, the more the harmful behaviour is repeated. The child's self-image or identity is of a bad child always in trouble, so why bother to behave.
The more parents scold or reprimand, the more the bad behaviour gets repeated.
ACKNOWLEDGE GOOD BEHAVIOUR AS SOON AS YOU SEE IT.
Keep to the FACTS and DON'T PRAISE. Example: You finished tidying the Lego this evening.
It may seem very strange doing this, but it will change your child's behaviour.
2. Teach your child to give to others. You can also model this behaviour. Children do find happiness giving to others. Most of us are naturally self-centred and do benefit from thinking of the needs of others. A fulfilling life depends upon contribution. Example: Mow an elderly neighbour's lawn together.
3. Don't shout. We all know it is pointless. FACT The more you shout, the more the poor behaviour continues. Control your anger by; ·
- Looking for the reason for the behaviour. Empathise. ·
- Use logical reasoning to get them to co-operate ·
- Decide you will not shout (unless it is an emergency!) ·
- Decide how you will behave if you feel angry. ·
- Walk away if necessary ·
- Take five deep breaths before speaking to the offender. ·
- Do not threaten them with any punishment instead discuss the issue when you have calmed down.
4. Make sure your child has regular tasks to complete. You are preparing them for adult responsibilities. Household responsibilities teach duty, cooperation, community responsibility and hard work. FACT A family doing household chores together sets children up for future success.
5. Your relationship with your spouse is of paramount importance. Parents who respect, like and show affection are more likely to raise well-adjusted children.
6. Show your child how to view challenges positively. Overcoming challenges builds resilience. Vital in adulthood.
7. Make sure you raise responsible and independent children by not doing anything for them they can do for themselves.
- Over-nurtured children do not cope with any challenges. ·
- Train your children to make age-appropriate choices ·
- Let them deal with the natural consequences of their choices
- Do not make your children the centre of your life ·
- Let them fail ·
- Ask them how they might solve a problem instead of solving it for them.
8. Give your children social opportunities.
They need to have the following skills: ·
- Sharing ·
- Giving and receiving feedback ·
- Accepting differences ·
- Respecting others' rights and property ·
- Identifying others' feelings and feeling empathy ·
- Making eye contact ·
- Managing negative emotions ·
- Listening to others without interrupting ·
- Conflict resolution ·
- Disagreeing respectfully ·
- Cooperation ·
- Helping others ·
- Complimenting others ·
- Being polite ·
- Asking for help
What sort of parent are you?
1. Permissive: You don't set boundaries and give in to unreasonable demands
2. Authoritarian: You are too strict and frequently harsh and uncompromising. You force your child into doing things. Authoritarian parents tend to produce resentful and rebellious children
3. Authoritative: You are "just right". You show warmth and affection without being indulgent. You set boundaries, but are willing to compromise or negotiate if the situation calls for it.
The authoritative parenting style isn't effortless.
However, research shows it is the most effective approach to take.
I am sure you want to give your children a sense of security.
- Show them affection
- Appreciate them
- Respect them
- Acknowledge their feelings
- Set consistent boundaries
- Pay attention to them
- Be approachable, not scary
- how you love them unconditionally
- Keep any promises you make
- Be dependable and trustworthy
Finally, help your children to develop resilience and perseverance. They are more important than IQ and talent.
Passion and setting long term goals will enable them to see the big picture.
How to emphasise progress over perfection
- Show them how to take on manageable challenges ·
- Emphasise effort and how it will lead to an outcome ·
- Be resilient and persevere ·
- Show and explain what moving out of your comfort zone means ·
- Talk about your challenges and how you will resolve them ·
- Focus on contribution and less on achievement ·
- Let them make mistakes
When you empower yourself and your child by implementing the skills mentioned, you will truly experience the joy of parenthood.
Every month I publish a Monthly Homeschool Review and regular emails containing ideas for homeschooling or complementing what your child learns at school. It will empower you to become more involved with your child' primary education. Check it out here