Why parent positively? Here’s one good reason to think about:
Your Child’s Self Esteem
An act of comparison is ultimately an act of rejection, therefore accept your child for the unique individual they are. They are a once off happening that will never reoccur and your acceptance of them, results in them accepting themselves as ‘Good enough’.
1.Never put your child down
Self-esteem is what every parent wishes for their child, and it comes from the child receiving positive messages about their physical, creative, intellectual selves. They need to know that you accept their physical self, that you love them unconditionally (even though you may not always like their behaviour; you always love them); that you celebrate their unique talents and skills (this means you do not make them do the piano or ballet that you never got a chance to do and rather you find what they like and give them the opportunity to enjoy their own unique creative growing). Never, ever put them down intellectually or they may carry the message for life ‘Sheila’s only average’. Rubbish!
2.Parents Anger Mangement
I was shocked to hear my daughter say that she found me threatening when she was small. When we are stressed, we lose it, raise our voice and small children are utterly dependent on this out of control adult. Scary. When you feel you are going to ‘lose it’ step out of the room for a moment and self-calm. I learned the importance of taking a few deep breaths which instantly take the heat out of the moment. I was amazed to find my children copying my behaviour and walking away from an annoying sibling with a huge out breath. Try it, it works like magic!
3.Pull out of power struggles
It never works when two people lock horns, it is best to hit your PAUSE button and say ‘Deal with it later’; which gives both parties time to reflect. Do however remember to go back and speak with your child, acknowledging their feeling. ‘You seemed really mad earlier; can you tell me what that was about?’
4.Quality Time with Your Child
Spend time chatting-I was too busy when my children were smaller and now I stop and make time. Time for the chat, the cuddle, the brief interaction into how they are, remembering what is happening at school, the project, the mean teacher etc. Take an interest and most of all, listen to them.
Talk with, not at, I have learned that it works better when I talk with, and not at my child. Communication needs to be two way, I want to know what they think, how they feel and where there are ‘at’ in themselves, what’s happening in their world. I try to lecture, judge and moralise less and the conversation goes better!