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10 Insights of Remarkable Parents from a Family Therapist

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Photo Source:  The Gottman Institute

By: Angela Pruess

https://www.gottman.com/blog/10-insights-of-remarkable-parents-from-a-family-therapist/

At any given time, you’ll find four or more parenting books on my Amazon wish list, a few by my nightstand, and an email inbox chock full of insightful parenting theories and approaches.

Granted, child development is my career, but I speak with plenty of parents in my practice who find themselves in similar circumstances. With information around every corner and our culture projecting constant messages (many times contradictory) regarding how we should raise our kids, feeling like a confident and intentional parent can seem out of reach many days.

In my 12 years as a family therapist, I’ve seen many well-intentioned parents mistakenly employing strategies that aren’t meeting the emotional or developmental needs of their children or families. I’ve also observed an increasing number of parents who are successfully mapping out new and healthier ways of raising children.

These insights, collected over time and gleaned from experience, parallel what we know from current brain and behavioral research about what kind of parenting is most likely to contribute to the healthy development of children.

1. Know that kids will act like kids.

Often parents forget that children learn by screwing up. Making mistakes. Behaving immaturely. The “magic” happens when a supportive caregiver steps in to steer them in the right direction. Parents get frustrated and impatient, becoming annoyed with whininess and “back talk” when really this is how kids are wired.

The part of the brain responsible for reason, logic, and impulse control is not fully developed until a person reaches their early 20’s.

Immature behavior is normal for immature human beings with immature brains.

This is a scientific reality that helps us to be patient and supportive in order to guide our children when they struggle.

2. Set limits with respect, not criticism.

Due to the fact that our kids need to learn literally everything about the world from us, they will require many limits throughout their day. Without proper limits in their environment, kids will feel anxious and out of control.

Limits can be delivered in the form of criticism and shaming, or they can be communicated in a firm but respectful way. Think about how you appreciate being spoken to at work and go from there.

3. Be aware of developmental stages.

Have you ever questioned where your easy-going toddler disappeared to as they were suddenly screaming bloody murder while getting dropped off at daycare? Hello separation anxiety!

There are literally hundreds of very normal, very healthy transitions kids go through to become adults. Being aware of these puts their puzzling behaviors into context, and increases the odds of reacting to them accurately and supportively.

4. Know your child’s temperament and personality.

It seems pretty obvious, but if we are in tune with the characteristics that make our child unique, we will have a better understanding of when they may need additional support, and when and where they will thrive.

Once you know the basics of what makes your child tick, many important areas become much easier to navigate, such as pinpointing the best environment for homework, or understanding why your daughter needs to come home from overnight summer camp.

5. Give your child plenty of unstructured play time.

Unless you studied play therapy in school, most adults will never fully understand and appreciate the power of play.

Play is how kids learn all the things and develop all the stuff. This means leaving time each day for straight-up unstructured, kid-controlled, exploration of the world kind of play.

6. Know when to talk and when to listen.

Kids learn to be pretty good problem solvers if we let them. Because we love the life out of them and want them to succeed, it’s hard not to jump in and solve problems for them by virtue of lecture or criticism.

If parents more often held their tongues and waited it out, they’d be shocked at how often their children can successfully reach their own conclusions. Being heard is powerfully therapeutic, and it allows us to think things through and reach a solution.

Kids want and need to be heard, and feel understood. Just like the rest of us.

7. Have an identity outside of your child.

Many of us often claim that our children are our world, and this is certainly true in our hearts. In terms of daily life however, parents need to have more. We need to nurture the friendships, passions and hobbies that make us who we are as individuals.

Doing this can feel like a battle, as our protective anxieties try to convince us our children can’t be without us, and also that we can’t be without them. But we can be, and need to be, in order to stay sane, and avoid saddling our kids with the task of meeting all of our emotional needs.

8. Understand that actions speak louder than words.

The way you interact with your child and live your life will be your child’s greatest teacher. Kids are incredibly observant and way more intuitive than we give them credit for. They are always watching.

This can be slightly inconvenient for parents, but if we’re able to keep it in mind, knowing our children are watching our actions will not only teach them how to behave, but it will make us better people.

9. Recognize that connection, fun, and creativity are the best ways to promote positive behaviors and a cooperative attitude.

Fear and control aren’t effective long-term teachers for our kids. While those dynamics may appear effective in the short-term, they won’t equip our kids with a strong moral compass, or effective problem-solving skills.
If our child feels valued as a person based on our interactions with them, they will naturallylearn to value others and have the confidence to make good choices.

10. Set the overall goal to shape a child’s heart and not just their behavior.

We often get the impression from the world around us that the goal of parenting is to produce a compliant, well-behaved child. While these are certainly desirable qualities for most parents, they are not core qualities that contribute to a happy and healthy human.

Helping our children understand the importance of their thoughts and emotions gives them coping and relationship skills. Skills that will protect and guide them throughout their lives.

Changing our parenting habits and styles is never easy, but if it’s truly in the best interest of our children, it’ll always be worth it.

References

Healthier ways of raising children.
posted Sep 8 by Gowri Vimalan

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+1 vote

       

Middle-class parents are damaging their children by not being able to say “no”, a top child psychologist has claimed.

For many teachers, bad behaviour in the classroom does not stem from the pupils themselves but the parents, according to Dr Amanda Gummer, a research psychologist specialising in child development.

By- Rachael Pells

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/middle-class-parents-children-not-say-no-spoilt-dr-amanda-gummer-child-psychology-a7886441.html

“Wild, unruly children are increasingly likely to be the progeny of so-called ‘helicopter’ parents,” said Dr Gummer writing for the Daily Mail, “those who give intensive, one-on-one attention to their child and pander to their every whim, fuelling a ‘little emperor’ syndrome.”

From her experiences of working with primary school teachers, she said, the attitude and behaviour of middle class parents in particular was far more shocking than that of their children.

“They are ruthlessly ambitious for their child’s future — failing to realise how badly their mollycoddling is preparing them for the compromises of real life,” she said.

“While we’ve long known this hovering parenting style can create children unable to make decisions or exhibit independence, what’s less often discussed is how aggressive and difficult the children of helicopter parents — often middle-class, professional and, to their minds, devoted to their darlings — can be at school.

“These children struggle in the classroom because they cannot cope with not being number one,” she added. “So they play up to try to get the attention they have been raised to believe ought to be all theirs”.

Teachers were being “frustrated to tears” as a result of these attitudes, she said.

Recent Department for Education figures revealed as many as 35 children a day were being permanently excluded from school for bad behaviour in England alone.

Just under a fifth of those expelled were at primary school, including some children as young as four – a figure that has more than doubled over the past four years.

Dr Gummer suggested the perceived increase in expulsions can be linked to the combination of poor behaviour and lack of personal skills as a result of bad parenting.

“Imagine: little ones so helpless they need assistance to go to the loo and put on their shoes, yet who are utterly unafraid to biff their teacher on the nose,” she wrote.

“Too many of these children have never heard the word ‘no’ levelled at them at home.”

Previous studies have suggested parents who exert too much control over their children could be causing them psychological damage later on in life.

A 2015 study by University College London tracking more than 5,000 people since birth, found people whose parents had intruded on their privacy in some way, or encouraged dependence were much more likely to be unhappy in their teens, 30s, 40s and later on in life.

“Children need rules, boundaries and opportunities to feel the cold, go hungry and fall down and hurt themselves, so they can learn from their mistakes,” concluded Dr Gummer. 

“If they are deprived of those basic life experiences at home, it makes educating them a far greater challenge for their teachers than it ever need be."

 

+2 votes

Reema is one of the many mothers who is facing trouble in making her son sit down and engaging him in one activity or study. He just keeps hopping on from one thing to another and as a result, his room is a box of unfinished activities, games, books, drawings etc. Reema often wonders what it would take to make her son complete at least one task. This is not just Reema’s story. Many parents like her often struggle to build on their child’s attention span to finish a task, read a short story from beginning to end or even focus on an activity at school.

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/614700/parents-enablers-child-focus.html

Children get used to a routine if set from the beginning. Routines result in habit formation, which ultimately makes the task less daunting. It also removes the fear of the unknown, enabling a child to feel a sense of security. For example, if a child knows that s/he has to study from 6 to 7 pm everyday, s/he will be mentally prepared for it. In addition to this, a developmentally appropriate time period must be allotted for the task so that the child gets used to being able to complete this work within the stipulated time. This will also help in streamlining his or her thought process and staying focussed.

Build reading habits

However busy you may be, take time out to narrate age-appropriate stories to your child. Establish a reading routine, a specified reading time. It may be just before sleeping or after returning from school, as per the parent’s and child’s convenience. Read aloud regularly, even to older kids. Reading exposes the child to good literature, improves their vocabulary and understanding of structuring sentences.

Stay on a task

Children need to be kept motivated and the way to do this is to encourage, gently coax and urge them to complete the task in hand. If one technique isn’t working, help them with new techniques of doing the assigned task. Cheer them to take pride in their work and help them fortify their strengths and work on their weaknesses. Sometimes the reward system works to motivate children to concentrate and finish the entrusted task.

Delayed gratification

It is good to build skills of delayed gratification among children at an early age. It allows them to understand that sometimes wait is good and it is okay to go through a little difficulty or restraint in order to feel really happy or get a sense of accomplishment later or perhaps for longer.

The power of yet

Parents should help their children believe in the power of ‘yet,’ i.e. the never-ending belief in the fact that things will work out, and that giving up is not an option as a brighter future is yet to come. Often, this seems difficult to explain to children as they are restless and not determined enough.

Make learning fun

It is important to make reading and learning time fun for the child, and not just the mundane task of the teacher. So, if you are trying to teach your little one to identify numbers, then, instead of just restricting it to the textbooks, you can try reciting rhymes and songs about numbers. Floor games like hopscotch can be a fun and effective way too. While at the grocery store, you can ask your child to read out prices and quantities to you. This way while the learning outcomes are achieved, the fun factor is also maintained.

Learning beyond home

Don’t let learning be restricted to the study room in your house. Let it be a continuous process for the child, extending beyond just school and home. So, the next time you are in the park with your child, challenge him or her to identify all red-coloured objects or all objects which begin with the letter ‘O’ in a stipulated time frame. This way, while the concepts of letter and colour recognition become clearer to the child, education is also made much more fun and practical.

Therefore, it is crucial to be positive role models for children. They should take an active interest in understanding their strengths and challenges. This way, they can empower their children with the required knowledge, strategies, and skills to take charge of their own educational journey.
 

(The author is content expert, Sesame Workshop India)

+1 vote

 

Sadanand Nayak, Principal District and Sessions Judge, inaugurating an awareness jatha in Yadgir on Thursday.

Sadanand S. Nayak, Principal District and Sessions Judge, said on Thursday that it was every citizen’s duty to prevent child marriage. He asked law enforcement agencies to ensure action is taken against those responsible for child marriages.

Jatha taken out against child marriage

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-karnataka/educate-children-and-make-them-pillars-of-society-says-judge/article19079124.ece

He was addressing a gathering after inaugurating an awareness jatha titled ‘Prevention of Child Marriage and Shale Kade Nanna Nade’, jointly organised by the district administration, the zilla panchayat, the District Legal Services Authority, the District Bar Association and others.

Urging parents not to marry off their minor children, Mr. Nayak said that performing a child marriage was an offence under the law. “Educate your children, make them pillars of the society,” he said.

Deputy Commissioner Khushboo Goel Chowdhary and zilla panchayat CEO Avinash Menon Rajendran released booklets and pamphlets on the theme. Sharanappa Patil, deputy director of the Department of Women and Child Development, were present.

 

+1 vote

      

Photo Source: creativechild.com

As a mom of kids ranging from 2 to 12, I realize how quickly time flies. I love watching them grow, try new things, and discover their passions. As a parent, it can be hard to let them struggle through, or even fail at, experiences outside their comfort zone. However, those experiences develop confidence and independence which is valuable in raising children. I want to raise self-sufficient adults and that means I need to start training them now. Here are some ideas to help kids naturally develop the independence needed to be confident and responsible adults.

by Sarah Lyons 

https://www.creativechild.com/articles/view/training-my-child-to-be-independent

The Preschool Years (ages 2-5)

Create a helper

Toddlers and preschoolers love to follow their parents around the house; so why not have them help with the chores? They can help put clothes in the dryer, match socks, sweep the floor, or assist in any other task. They may not be able to do chores independently or have household responsibilities yet, but taking the extra time now lays the groundwork for the future.

Give opportunities

During the preschool years, kids typically show an interest in trying self-care tasks themselves. It may be easier (and faster) to tie your child’s shoes, zip up their coat, make their lunch, and buckle their seatbelt but allowing your child to try these things on their own helps them become more independent. Consider starting the preparation for your day 15 minutes earlier to allow time for your child to try some things on their own. If frustration arises, remain calm and ask if they would like help. Instead of just completing the task for them, take time to teach them how to do it so they can try again tomorrow.

Problem solve

Problem solving skills begin to develop at a young age. Toddlers and preschoolers will often get frustrated when things don’t go their way and it may result in a temper tantrum. While this is age appropriate, parents can begin to help their children develop problem solving skills by calmly suggesting solutions to what is upsetting them. Have your child come up with ideas to solve the problem and when possible help them work through it on their own.

Bonus tip for preschoolers

Give your child choices whenever possible to help them develop independence and to give them a sense of control.

The elementary school years (ages 6-11)

Create a helper

For elementary age kids, you can advance what was done in the preschool years. I will assign my child a chore like washing windows, vacuuming, or putting away dishes and since they have helped me with these tasks for years they no longer need my assistance. If they are reluctant to do chores, I make a list of things that need to be done and have them choose a few things they would like to do. When they are done they will have free time for electronics, outside play, or something they have been looking forward to. Chores teach kids to be independent and responsible.

Give opportunities

Give your child more opportunities to be independent as they mature. This may look different depending on your child’s age and maturity but some ideas may be ordering and paying for their food at a restaraunt, riding their bike home from school, packing their own lunch, or trying a new extracurricular activity. Each opportunity, even a challenging one, helps your child become self-sufficient and develop more independence.

Problem solve

Elementary school kids will begin to face bigger problems that may include challenging friendships, struggles with schoolwork, or even bullying. Foster good communication with your child and help them come up with solutions they are comfortable with. Cheer them on when they are able to work through obstacles.

Bonus tip for the elementary school years

Do your best not to criticize your child’s efforts but instead praise them for doing their best.

The teen years (ages 12-18)

Create a helper

Tweens and teens should be given even more household responsibilities as they are nearing adulthood. Take note of what skills it takes to run a household and begin to teach them these tasks. Cooking, yard work, babysitting, laundry, car care, and even a part time job fall into this category. The more responsibilities your child is comfortable while in your home will make the transition to living on their own smoother.

Give opportunities

There is a fine line between giving your child independence and keeping them safe in the teen years. As kids start to drive, spend more time with friends, and work outside the home parents have less control over their choices. Continue working on open communication and trust with your teen so that as they venture into the world, you both feel comfortable with the change.

Problem solve

One of the hardest things kids have to experience is the consequences for a poor choice. A parent’s first reaction may be to step in and “save” their child but, in the long run, this does not teach them anything. For example, if you child left their homework at home they will not receive credit for the work. The easy thing to do would be to run the assignment to the school, but chances are your child will forget again and most likely, on a larger assignment. As adults we have to manage our responsibilities and teens must also learn these lessons. If forgotten homework is repeatedly an issue, suggest packing up the night before. Sit down with your child and help them come up with solutions to problems and encourage them to do this without you and present their solution to you.

Bonus tip for the teen years

Set specific household rules so that your child has the opportunity to be independent but not out of your comfort zone as a parent.

As our children grow, so must their responsibilities. As always, you will be there to guide and train them but giving your child tools throughout their childhood will help them grow into a confident and independent adult.

 

+1 vote

For the 12th consecutive year, Anand Shiksha Kendra, Sarjapur Road, achieved 100% pass results. In all, five of 40 students secured a CGPA 10 and eight students CGPA 9 and above.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-in-school/cbse-a-record-number-of-children-bag-10-cgpa-a1-grades/article18869889.ece

At Siddaganga Public School in Chandra Layout, 76 students appeared and 18 secured CGPA 10. In all, 30 students secured CGPA 9 and above.

In National Public School, Rajajinagar, 125 students appeared and the school achieved 100% pass results. In all, 40 students secured CGPA 10, while 51 secured CGPA 9 and above.

At National Hill View Public School, Rajarajeshwarinagar, 119 students appeared. In all, 32 students secured CGPA 10, while 76 CGPA of 9 and above.

All the 118 students of National Public School, Indiranagar, passed and 45 students secured CGPA 10. In all 46 students secured CGPA 9 and above.

Read more at : http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-in-school/cbse-a-record-number-of-children-bag-10-cgpa-a1-grades/article18869889.ece

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