Finding Peace in Parenting
Little Tips for Big Hearts
Learn to tease out this behavior
We become people pleasers for many reasons. Not only can we unlearn this tendency, but we can foster a sense of independence and value in our children while doing so!
If your child apologizes, but you don't forgive, they won't feel like their mistakes are forgivable, and may keep apologizing and look to others for approval and self-worth.
Rephrasing the conditions you have for your childs' behavior in a positive way allows them to do the right thing for the right reasons, instead of simply just doing what we tell them to make us happy.
We could all use an extra hand!
Making a Helper
Recent research tells us that how you ask your children to help makes a world of difference.
According to psychologist, Christopher Bryan, “being called a helper makes kids feel like they’re embodying a virtue.”
Getting young children to help out around the home seems like a great idea in theory. In practice, you will need to be patient, remember that it will take extra time, manage expectations, and pick tasks that are age-appropriate. While it may seem like you are creating more work now, it is important to keep your eye on the prize.
The prize being:
Quality time with your child
Opportunities to learn
Development of gross and fine motor skills
Character building (empathy, compassion, kindness)
Empathy Takes Practice!
Emanate empathy. Empathy is vital for being able to respond sensitively to our children’s distress. In a nutshell, empathy is being able to communicate this sentiment to your child: “I understand your feelings and I’m sorry you’re hurting.”
And, empathy is for happiness too! Practice responding and sharing in the joyful feelings your child has when they:
-Learn a new skill, like the monkey bars!
-Find humor in something silly
-Enjoy a meal or snack
-Find something they were looking for
-Meet a new friend or animal friend
Finding the best friends for right now.
Children learn from watching the adults in their lives. When you interact with your own friends, you are showing children how to treat other people and how you like to be treated. Talk with your children about the friends in your life. When did you become friends? What makes someone a good friend? Why have your friends been important to you?
Check out the Parenting Together Newsletter to learn more about the benefits of early childhood friendships.
Empathy, Sympathy, & Compassion
Be a model of forgiveness, and of the positive emotions (empathy, sympathy, compassion) that can replace hurt and anger when a wrong arises. We often underestimate the necessity and power of forgiveness.
As parents, we are constantly making micro-mistakes, and sometimes bigger ones!
If a sales clerk is unhelpful, for instance, avoid arguing, and be understanding while also calmly explaining what your needs are. By modeling empathy, sympathy, and compassion, we show our kids how to recover from mistakes and support others when they are having big feelings.
Not sure what to say when your child shows you their art?
Sometimes it can be hard to decipher what your child is drawing or creating, even when your child knows exactly what it is. Try asking open-ended questions like "Tell me about your picture".
You can also describe specific actions your child is doing by sayings things like "You're making long lines, I see you are using pink, purple, and yellow." Try describing how your child is using the materials and tools by saying things like, "You are using a rubber stamp", "I noticed you are making small dots" or, "You are using two crayons at the same time!"
Focus on the process, not the product – Encouraging your child in the action of unstructured art helps them build their own motivation to be creative. Part of focusing on the process involves encouraging effort. Letting a child know that you noticed how carefully they were working or how long they spent on a project will go a long way!