Parenting is a set of skills that needs practise. A recipe for successful parenting includes a large spoon of ‘good’ information, a cup of clear goals, put into a mixing bowl of a culturally-supportive environment.
Children are like seeds in a garden; naturally supplied with instincts to attach to their parents and full of potential to grow when provided with the right conditions.
The relationship is the garden where children learn to adapt to their environment and emerge as separate, mature individuals.
You cannot teach a child to be good, to say sorry and mean it, to want to help with chores, to respect their teachers. You can only ‘teach’ the surface behaviours. Real, sustained growth comes from within, a natural motivation to be good and to follow. It happens within the relationship.
We are at a turning point in our society. Many parents and teachers are stuck in the old cycle of rewards and punishments. Children are more sensitive and vulnerable these days: their attempts to protect themselves from their (emotionally) wounding world are resulting in stuck behaviours that are difficult to manage.
Neuroscience shows us that children need warm, consistent connections with their parents daily; a super-protective factor which will keep children safe and connected and the context for real learning.
Simply asking pertinent questions will lead to answers:
What are your family goals? Are you satisfied with your child’s behaviour or is there room for improvement? Where do you need to set better limits? How can you hold on to your children through the teenage years? How are you building connection every day? How are you resourcing yourself? Are your discipline methods working?
Parenting is a job and a journey. It carries huge responsibilities and it is deeply rewarding. If you are not completely satisfied with your child’s behaviour or desire to be good, then you may benefit from some guidance to fill in the missing pieces.
By Laura Newman MSc