While Session 1 talks about our roles as parents, and Session 2 helps us to find out more about the personalities of our kids, Session 3 brings the two together by emphasising the need to help ou kids understand the viewpoint of us parents.
The session started off emphasising the importance of The Confidence Factor. (Hence, the title of the course: Parenting with Confidence) The idea is that kids respond to leadership (or a lack thereof). Hence they respond to confidence and challenge weakness in parents. As an educator, I actually see this quite a bit. It is a constant reminder that young kids are not yet ready to make proper use of the autonomy that we sometimes would like to give them…
The session also introduced the idea of parents as coaches, prompting us to recall the (successful) sports coaches that we may have known in our lives, and drawing on their traits in our parenting. I guess this is where you pick and choose a little. I think it may be okay to be an Arsene Wenger type parent, but perhaps less so if you want to be an Alex Ferguerson type parent. (Though to be fair to the old Scot, he does protect his players in public…)
Some tips for parent-coaches. Be someone who: Gives Attention to, Listens, Understand, Encourages, and Believes in your Child. Be someone who: your child would be prepared to follow and fight for. Be someone who: Provides safety, control, and order to the child. Teaching Honesty, Determination, and other Life skills. (As an educator, it is a reminder here that nothing academic was emphasised. Rightly so in my opinion.)
We were reminded to provide our child with 3 things. Physical Affection. Loving Eye-Contact. Focused (1-on-1) Attention. And High Expectations. Prepare them to enter the world as whole, healthy people.
Creating an atmosphere at home to prepare our kids for the world is hardly an easy task. (though some of us may sometimes feel we need to prepare the world for our kids…) Session 3 also gave us 15 Tools for Engaging Cooperation. I’m just going to give the names of the tools here and I’m guessing most are self-explanatory (or ask about them in the comments and we’ll help where we can.)
1) Show Them How. 2) Give Clear, Simple Instructions. 3) Tone of Voice. 4) Plan Ahead. 5) Mistakes are Opportunities. 6) Rehearse the Ritual. 7) Use of the Impersonal. 8) Play Pretend. 9) Choices. 10) Thinking Words and Fighting Words. 11) Say YES. 12) Reinforce Good Behaviour. 13) Use of Timer. 14) Celebration and Praise. 15) Cue, Prompt, Reinforce.
We were also provided with the Four Magic Words. “In our family we…” Definitely look forward to using more of these words…
Here is a quick example of how to use some of these tools.
Say the child is watching television and dinner is about to be ready.
Parent(P): Faith, dinner is going to be ready soon so we are going to have to switch off the tv soon alright?
F: But I don’t want to switch off the tv.
P: Well in our family we don’t watch tv while having dinner remember? But you can choose if you want me to switch the tv off, or if you would like to switch it off yourself. (9)
F: I’ll switch it off…
P: Well you don’t have to do it now, but I’ll set the timer (13) over here for ten minutes, and you can switch off the tv when the timer goes off. (15: Cue)
<Ten minutes later> K: Well the timer has gone, do you remember what you have to do now that the timer has gone? (15: Prompt)
F: <Switches off tv>
P: Great! Thanks for remembering to switch off the tv before dinner time! (15: Reinforce)
Of course tools alone are not long term solutions. There will be instances where tools do not work and discipline is required (I think that is Session 4), and even when they do work, there needs to be reasons behind our rules for lasting effect on our kids. Reasons behind rules would need to be tied to values. Family values. Hence, Session 3 rounded off with a reminder for us to come together as a family and set out the values that our family would live by. And then share them with our kids. (It’s like strategic planning for the family…)
I’m looking forward to the discipline bit though… Tune in next week… =)