Monday, November 8, 2010

Positive Parenting: Tell Your Child How You Feel

Shockingly diverse kindergarten group in ParisImage via WikipediaYour son has left his clothes strewn across his floor, again. It drives you to distraction that his laundry hamper still sits empty, while you can no longer see his carpet. A good parenting tip at a moment like this is to express to your child how this makes you feel, and then, make a request. Positive parenting can turn this around into a lesson about respect.
Children are emotional, and understand feelings well. However, we don't often confide our feelings to them. We keep our feelings locked away, giving them rules, and never explaining how their bad behaviour makes us feel.

Instead of yelling at your son to pick up his clothes, explain to him that when he leaves his clothes on the floor, it's you who has to pick them up. You've put your own clothes in the right place, and you've tidied up the rest of the house, and now you're tired. Then, ask politely if he could please pick up his own clothes.
Speak calmly, and avoid blame. All your child really wants is to feel safe about your relationship, and to feel loved. If you assign blame to your child, it can be frightening for them to think they have caused you pain or triggered your anger.
Children need to know that everyone has feelings, including you, and that it is appropriate to share your feelings. Then, by making a request and asking their help to solve the problem, you are teaching them how to resolve all kinds of complicated issues that may arise later on in life.
Your child also needs to know that many things in your life affect your emotions. You can even tell them "Mommy had a really hard day at the office today, and it's made me very tired. Would you mind just helping me put away the dishes?"
By confiding in your child, and telling them how you feel, you are showing your child that you respect them enough to share your feelings with them. You're also teaching them an important life lesson. You're showing them that it's okay to talk about your emotions, and that when you share how you feel, and ask for help, it makes you feel better.
If you're just too angry right now, it's okay to share that emotion as well. "I'm quite upset right now". I am not upset with you. I'm feeling angry and upset right now. Could you give me a couple of minutes for me to clear my head?"
Telling your child what you are really feeling is far better than pretending everything is fine, when they can certainly tell that you're angry. It's also better than putting the blame on them.
The next time your child does something you don't like, try some positive parenting and tell them how you feel. Remember the important parenting tips of using the word "I", and speaking in a simple, calm manner. Then, ask your child to help you so that the task can get done.

If you would like to read more about "Positive Discipline for Children" and how telling your child how you feel can teach them important life lessons, you can do so here

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