“Children need love, especially when they do not deserve it.”
Children respond to the world according to their perception and experience of it and very often it’s not the same as your perception or experience of the world! So this is where arguments, rows and conflicts begin because their map of the world doesn’t fit in with yours.
Yet a child’s map of the world can sometimes make you think again and catch you by surprise.
There’s a true story that my uncle used to tell when he was a policeman. One afternoon he was sitting in his police van with his dog Molly when he noticed a little girl staring at them from across the road. The little girl came up and asked him “Is that a dog in your van?” To which my uncle replied it certainly was. The little girl looked really puzzled and confused and scratched her head and said, “So what’s he done to get arrested?”
It’s all about perceptions!
When teaching and guiding children it’s really helpful to step into their shoes and socks for a minute or two and really see the world from their eyes, hear the world from their ears and feel how the situation feels to them. As it shifts your perception of the event or the situation and helps you be more tolerant and understanding.
No matter how honourable your intentions are for your kids it depends on how the message is received by your child that counts.
What you say, and how you say it, influences how well you are understood. It also affects how others respond to you. So it’s helpful to think about the words you use, your tone of voice, your body language and the vibes you’re giving out.
Your Checklist: Giving Positive Feedback
- Children pick up more from what you don’t say than what you do so be mindful of your attitude and mood.
- Have the end in mind and to know what you actually want to achieve by disciplining, guiding, or teaching them.
- Have your child’s best interest at heart before you talk with them and respect their age and maturity.
- Be in a positive, relaxed centred place yourself before talking or chastising them as this takes the emotional charge out of the whole thing and keeps you firmly in control.
- Ask yourself “Is this moving me further towards the long term relationship I want to build with my child or is it moving me further away?”
- “How am I making my child feel cherished, especially now when they’re misbehaving?”
As this quote from Harold Hulbert poignantly points out, “Children need love, especially when they do not deserve it.”
- Remember to share feelings rather than blame and say things like “When you…… I feel……. because …..”
- Always try to put forward suggestions rather than giving commands.
- Think about the timing of when you want to give your kids feedback and ask yourself when it’s a good time to raise a topic – maybe after the immediate issue is over, and not at stressful times like dinnertime and bedtime – strike when the iron is cold is on a post -it note in our house !
- Hold back from hurtful words, name calling or negative references, bringing up the past or making comparisons to your other children as it diminishes your child’s self esteem.
- And finally ask yourself “What can my child learn from this experience?” and get your child, no matter how old they are, to ask themselves, ”What did I learn from this?” as this will be a far more empowering experience and useful lifetime habit to get into.
We all make mistakes and childhood is all about are learning so be patient with your kids.
The most important thing in life is to help your children learn from their mistakes and to take the valuable lessons from them so they don’t keep on making the same mistakes over and over again.
Help your kids to see feedback as something positive moving them forward into fine tuning their life not as criticism which is disempowering, judgemental and negative which will forever hold them back.
Teach them to dust themselves off, pick themselves up and have another go.
Sue Atkins is a Parenting Expert who offers practical guidance for bringing up happy, confident, well behaved children. She is also the author of “Raising Happy Children for Dummies” one in the black and yellow series published worldwide and the highly acclaimed Parenting Made Easy CDs. She regularly appears on BBC Breakfast and The Jeremy Vine Show on BBC Radio 2 and her parenting articles are published all over the world.
To receive her free ebooks bursting with practical tips and helpful advice from toddler to teen visit www.thesueatkins.com.
Also available to download right now is Sue’s Parenting Made easy app for the iphone and ipad, offering information, inspiration, and practical ideas to make bringing up kids easier, less stressful and lots more fun, right at your fingertips! Download it now http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/sue-atkins-parenting-made/id439743586?mt=8#