Wednesday, April 7, 2010

My Children Will Be Perfect, Good, Happy, Confident and Successful Kids!

My Children Will Be Perfect, Good, Happy, Confident and Successful Kids!

I knew that being a parent would be difficult, but as a trained educational psychologist I foolishly expected to employ all my know-how and to be able to create perfect, well adjusted, confident children. Not the case, of course! Lashings of praise, love and encouragement and they still fear failure and lack confidence to some extent - but what might they have been like without it? They are though, happy, resilient, honest, thoughtful and decent kids - appreciating that at 12 years old they still have time to change - and I am proud of them (and indeed, myself)!

Obviously, one cannot completely protect one's offspring from the cruelties of today's world or shield them from spiteful or bullying peers, but one can help to build them up, strengthening and supporting as they take their first steps into independence.

Know your child

The main thing which has been driven home is that all we can do is 'the best with the raw material we have'! Kids are born different and need different approaches and levels of encouragement. My son responds very badly to negative reinforcement - he rebels and grows angry, and if he is already in trouble he feels he has nothing to lose and will go for broke - but telling him he has been doing really well and that I need him to be helpful and 'my good boy' makes him bend over backwards to do what I ask and to please. He physically grows in stature and self-esteem. My daughter would not fall for that, but complies readily with a calm rebuke.

Treat each child with respect

Your child is a human being with rights, and valid opinions and views. Encourage and foster rather than fight independence. Communicate, listen and show respect for their wishes (have a set time each day where you have quality time and really talk). Don't lash out in anger - that is giving the message that it is OK to be abusive - where possible, ignore unwanted or volatile behaviour, walk away and later address sticking points again when both calm. A good boss works with emotional intelligence and demonstrates empathy; parenting is the same. Be prepared to apologise to the child if you get it wrong.

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