Parent/Child Relationships II
As noted in the last blog on the topic, I have been asked on several occasions to expand upon some of the reflections made at our annual Coffees with the Heads as it relates to child development and parenting. As parents, we wield a significant amount of power and influence with our children. Being a good parent is not easy. Our children do not arrive on the scene with training manuals to hand us. Nevertheless, there are seven directives for parents – I used them myself – that may provide some guidance in helping chart the sometimes murky and chartless waters of child rearing. The first three were highlighted in the last blog. Here’s the second installment.
As my favorite pundit, Garrison Keillor, is fond of saying, “Guilt, the gift that keeps on giving” can be aptly applied to our relationships with children. Here’s how it’s goes:
When your child misbehaves, and you over react and exact punishment beyond what’s appropriate, it’s hard to get over it and not let it affect your future decisions or feelings. Questions such as, “Did I do the right thing?” “What would my parents have done?”, and worse yet, “Will my child hate me?”
Let it, and the guilt go. Why? Kids are spontaneous, whimsical creatures. They’ll tell you you’re horrible and mean when they don’t get their way, then snuggle up with you (or ask for money if a middle schooler) the next moment. Let go of the past as easily as they do. Deal with each issue as it comes up, and then put it behind you. Forever!
- Don’t give into pressure – be the adult…
Children will push and push as long as they think there’s any chance of getting you to change your mind and do it their way. Once they’ve stated their case, and you’ve made what you believe is the best decision, stick with it. Give in, and children will learn quickly that you can be manipulated. Resist responding to the resulting temper tantrums, arguments, silent treatments, and power plays. Stay the course, and remember you’re the parent.
Always deal with children in a calm and respectful manner. This doesn’t mean you cannot show emotion, amplify your voice a notch, and be assertive. However, it does mean that positive outcomes generally result from an atmosphere of calm and reserve.
- Always end on a positive note…
Never allow your child to leave the house (in the case of a middle school child) or go to bed angry and upset. Do whatever you can to reconnect after an argument or disagreement. Let your child know that regardless of your temporary differences of opinion, you still love and support him or her.
Raymond J. Volker
Wednesday March, 25, 2015
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