In The Art of Sensitive Parenting, Katherine C.Kersey wrote, "children learn who they are from those around them." We can create warm tender feelings or harsh labels that make kids and parents feel lousy, overwhelmed and discouraged. It is not difficult to come up with negative labels for our children's behaviour and temperament but can we come up with positive descriptors instead? Can we change our filter to look at strengths? Labels stick and can be devastating to children and parents. From a parents point of view, negative thinking about our children can drum up the following feelings:
- fear of being a bad parent
- resentment as to why did I have this difficult child
- shame / confusion - can't this child be different? I must be doing something wrong
- embarrassment for how this kid behaves in public
- exhaustion from raising a child whose demands never end
- anger about how entitled and selfish this child is
- isolation - I'm the only parent to have a child like this (Adapted from Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka)
Redesign labels to help give hope and a new perspective about your child... Instead of stubborn, use tenacious or persistent. This is the stuff PHDs and Olympians are made of. In stead of demanding, try holds high standards. Replace nosy with curious, wild with energetic, picky with discriminating, explosive with dramatic. This new vision leads to the building of better relationships and healthier responses to our children and their unique needs. Help others see your child's gifts...teachers, in laws, friends, relatives. Perhaps your child is the beautiful orchid in the garden that requires more TLC but the potential for inner beauty/ talent is limitless. So write down your child's strengths and post them on the fridge to help you find a new vision of your child.
Don't forget to assess your own strengths and positive attributes. Let your inner voice be one that delivers positive messages to yourself about your parenting abilities.You don't have to be perfect, you can make mistakes and practice making amends. We are modelling to our children 24/7 and when we apologize and say we didn't handle a situation well, we teach our children relationship skills.
Practice + Patience= Progress
There is no room for perfection in that equation. Stay connected to your child. Cheers, Joanne