How a little acknowledgment can put your child in the drivers seat for life.


As parents we have all heard the old expression that "Parenting isn't easy." In most cases this is true because we are attempting to use the old child rearing methods that have been "emotionally" handed down to us by our own parents. Just as our parents did their best with us, we then turn around and try to do our best with our own children. Often as not our "emotionally charged" memories cause us to use ineffective child raising methods that can then get handed right down through the generations.  

While its not all bad, having told the truth I should perhaps immediately depart the scene, however before I go I would like to share with you some positive parenting support on how we can break the mold to make ourselves into better parents. 

Parenting support obviously comes in many different formats but what I want to impart to you here is a crucial understanding of how differently the life of a child can unfold simply due to their regular childhood experiences. 

The aim of this parenting support therefore is more of a direct positive outcome for your child. What will make your child try just that bit harder? Your positive, pro-active, acknowledgement of their attempts to do any emotionally draining task, such as difficult problem solving or the demanding art of negotiation with other kids. 

The best kind of parenting support is that which encourages you to be a context creator with your kids.  A context creator is exactly as it sounds. When your child is facing a difficult situation you are there fore them by intentionally creating the context of the situation as it unfolds for them.

Your deliberately placed positive acknowledgments will provide support and feedback which will then boost your child's self esteem. Just as with adults, all children form ideas about themselves through their own experiences and interactions which they then commit to memory. These memories then play a big part of  how your child will interact with peers and determines weather or not they are able to progress towards meaningful relationships with others. If we give our children positive feedback in this regard we are therefore totally supporting their ability to be key players in the world around them as they mature.

This then becomes a self reinforcing cycle. Because you child is encouraged to try just that little bit harder, due to their increased self esteem, they will then be able to further practice and refine their negotiation skills which puts them further on track for more positive results later on.

The following strategy may then be appropriate if neither child involved is highly aggressive.

When children successfully solve disputes with friends on their own it also increases their sense of autonomy. Sometimes therefore its best if adults don’t intervene in arguments for this reason, In this case its best if you do not isolate the children involved, but calm them down and then let them get on with solving the problem through appropriate dialogue. Let them express their anger and talk about what just happened. The best outcome then is the resumption of play and the sure knowledge that your contribution has led to both to your child’s self autonomy and the continuation of a friendship.

Children often can't work out exactly what the cause of a problem is. Sometimes they will jump to conclusions which just are not true or are only half true. They may for example accuse a friend of a deliberate action which was in fact just an accident or they may state that their peers do not like them when in fact their own aggressive behavior is the reason their friends are avoiding them. In these cases adults need to step in and offer clear guidance through the use of open ended questions and only once this is done, does the problem have a chance of being solved. 

Child negotiation requires a lot of mature skills for it to work positively, and, because of this, your child really does need your positive acknowledgment in any of their attempts. Active listening, emotional control, creativity, empathy and problem solving skills can all be encouraged by you through your uplifting guidance regarding communication through dialogue, using open ended questions, respect for participants, time and space and your own positive advice.

We all need a little parenting support once in a while. Trying to be everything for our kids can be physically and mentally exhausting. Being a great parent is therefore more about human understanding than rushing around trying to be a "Super Parent." In many cases this may seem unavoidable, but we need to make time and space for ourselves as well, as the best way to look after our kids is to look after ourselves as well. Most importantly, kids need to feel that they are understood more than anything and as parents this means being there for them in their most difficult of moments.