Friday, June 29, 2012
Children & Following Through...
This post is in reference to Danielle's post.
Children do not get enough credit for how truly intelligent they are. They speak the truth (mostly) and listen for the truth. Throughout most of my undergraduate education, I spent my time volunteering and interacting with children of all ages (infants - young adults). One of the most important jobs as a parent is to gain your child's respect. Yes, it's important for your children to feel that they can trust your decisions and what you tell them. This trust/respect starts from the very beginning, and it is hard to ever gain that trust once it's lost.
A child looks onto their parents for comfort and security. And it all starts from the very first day. For example, the first time you take your child to a birthday party and they won't socialize with anyone, without having their parents by their side. It's important at this stage of their life to understand their parents are within reach and will always be there for them. Security. It's also important that the parents do not force their child to play with the other children, but encourage it whilst letting them take their time. Comfort.
In terms of more conflict situations, it's important that parents actually mean what they say. If a child has to get a shot, it is wrong for the parents/doctors/nurses to ever tell the child "this is not going to hurt." Instead, let them know the truth along with encouraging words, "You're a big boy, I know you can handle it" or "[the parent] is going to be right here with you." This will give them your trust and also let them know you sympathize with them.
In response to Danielle's post, it is VERY important to follow up with your kids. "You can't play outside until you clean your room." Yes, it's very important to say strong to your words. They will kick, scream, through a tantrum the first day. But all days following this episode, they will learn that it's the only way out. And it doesn't always refer to punishment. "If you get an A on your next test, we'll go out for ice cream." Follow through with your words. If they get an A - take them out to their favorite ice cream parlor. (In this particular example, encourage them to do better next time without being too upset if they don't make the mark.)
Following up with your kids can be a challenge, but if you form these acts of trust and respect in their early childhood, they will reciprocate (hopefully) as they grow older and into their more difficult teen years.
EDIT: I originally wrote this post in my previous blog, but just copied it over.