Parenting trends come and go… and there are some we are relieved to see the back of.
Physical punishment was very trendy in the pre-Noughties but thankfully parents have become more educated and empathetic about the harmful effects of spanking. The positive parenting movement is one founded on this premise: how would you feel if you were your child? Would you learn lessons from being ignored on a Naughty Step or would your anger fester at the unfairness of it all? Would your sadness go away if your crying was simply ignored by your loved ones or would your self-esteem plummet knowing your value was so little?
The most important lesson we learn in our lives is to treat others as we would like to be treated. Oftentimes, children are considered extraneous to this rule but actually, have you considered that children are just little people – with emotions, thoughts, passions, annoyances and fears, just like the rest of us? In fact, their egos are much more fragile than ours and are particularly prone to the moods of their idols in life – Mammy and Daddy. They also mirror exactly what we give them so when parents shout at their children to listen, what do you think is going to happen? Shouting back is all this child has learned. How would he know how to calmly say “Mammy, you seem a little stressed right now. When you’re ready, I’m happy to hear what might be going on because I care and want to help work this out”?
Think about the last time you were upset and cried. At that time, how would it have felt for the most important person in your life to tell you “Go to your room and come back when you have self-soothed!” Dejected and angry, you would have stormed up the stairs, intently plotting their ultimate demise. What did you need in that moment? You needed someone to make you a cup of tea immediately, hold you tight and give you their time and patience to listen. Your child is no different. Positively attune to your child’s need. Ask what the matter is. Why is so distressing that her brother called her a name? Think about the last time someone called you a name and how you felt. This is dealing with your child on a needs-basis. When parents work out the need behind the behavior, the whole game-plan changes. Mindfully walk in your child’s shoes for a day and experience all those emotions for yourself – it’s a game-changer!
This article was originally featured on HerFamily.ie – http://www.herfamily.ie/parenthood/join-the-positive-parenting-movement-its-time-to-turn-that-frown-upside-down/220212