Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Change of approach

The language we use to describe our children affects the way we think about them. If you describe your child as difficult, manipulative or similar adjectives, you are unwittingly affecting the way you view them.

If an adult figured out a plan to achieve a goal, you might call them determined. If a friend gets upset because something has gone wrong in her life you would comfort her, not ignore her because she is being manipulative and needs to 'learn'.

It can be hard to keep your cool when your child is having a meltdown over something seemingly minor, but to them it is important. If we can remember that, perhaps we can be more compassionate and choose less negative language to describe their behaviour.

Some of the characteristics of your child that make parenting hard work may be useful in years to come, when we hope they will choose a path in life, resist peer pressure and be true to their emotions. They just haven't learned to fine tune their reactions yet. It is not our job to train the determination or emotion out of them, but to model more appropriate ways to express those emotions.

Try switching from 'tantrum' to 'meltdown', or 'manipulative' to 'determined'. No-one is perfect and every parent has days where they know they could have handled things better, but a new approach might just help.

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