Newsletter: Parent logic: Parenting Without Persuasion
"NEVER START YOUR DAY WITH THE BROKEN PIECES OF YESTERDAY"
Giving praise or a reward for a job well done or to acknowledge you are proud of your child is different than giving a child an incentive to do something. Telling your child you will buy them or give them something of material value if they do something they are expected to do, or complete a task or act can takes away their ownership of the achievement and harms their healthy development of self esteem. Telling them if they get good grades you will buy them concert tickets or a new pair of boots or an electronic device causes their achievement to be your achievement. Manipulating and bribing your child results in you owning your child’s achievement because the bribe is their incentive rather than their inner will to achieve. It then becomes about the parent and not the child. The child will not learn to do things because they feel they need to. They will do them because there is an external reward that will be given to them by someone else. Certainly this works for the short term but not in the long term. They will learn to say “what will you give me if I do this for “YOU”. They learn this is a way to get you to show them how important the achievement is to YOU by what you are willing to give to them rather than how important it is to them that they achieve. They will learn to do things in order to get things rather than because of the feeling of self motivation, inner self esteem and drive for achievement. The result is lack of motivation, poor self esteem, disrespect towards you and the ability to use manipulation to get what they want. This is a very frustrating place for a parent to be in with their child. Having to resort to bribery indicates a poor parenting plan that did not include teaching early self esteem and an inner sense of accomplishment. But it isn’t ever too late to help your child build inner self esteem. Instead, begin to teach your child to have inner self esteem and to have the desire to do well because of inner motivation rather than an outer manipulation from you.
Self esteem is the building blocks to everything we do in our lives, the relationships we have, the careers we choose, how we react and response to life’s stress.
Start by asking them how they feel about their achievement, their school test, an activity they just completed, etc. For an example: If they bring home their report card, first ask them how they feel about their grades. If they tell you they are proud of themselves then you can validate them by saying, “ I think you did a good job too.” If they say they could have done better, you now have an opening for further discussion of how they feel they could have done better and how to go about it in the future. At this point you can praise them for trying. Finding out your child’s beliefs is a way to correct faulty thinking patterns and to understanding their needs and desires. Asking questions in a loving and concerned way can help to expand their confidence in themselves, validate positive beliefs and gives you more information to nurture their self esteem.
Here are some basic tips and guidelines you can use to help your child build self esteem.
- Show your love and affection openly with smiles and hugs and your words
- Be realistic with your child to let them know it is normal not to be the best at everything
- Praise and encourage to let them know their efforts are noticed
- Show appreciation for the little things they do and expect it in return
- Be constructive and supportive in your criticism
- Teach responsibility by giving chores, having expectations of household tasks, school work and following up with the opportunity to teach and to praise
- Set firm boundaries and limits. Be appropriate, specific and consistent in giving positive and negative consequences.
- Be a Role Model. Remember your child is watching you and will learn by your example
- Follow through on promises you make to your child and realistic explanations when you can’t.
- Give respect and expect respect in return
- Keep the lines of communication open, listen, show interest, have frequent family discussions
- Spend time with your child to focus on their needs by attending their activities, taking an interest in their friends, projects and interests
- Use “I” statements to express your emotions rather than judging statements of your child’s worth
- Give appropriate choices when decisions are to be made
- When appropriate and it involves your child- Ask their opinion
- Allow your child to be in charge of their possessions and the consequences of not being responsible for their possessions
- Set goals with your child, develop how to reach those goals, check on the progress and discuss the outcome
- Assist your child in handling stress by teaching positive coping skills
- Have a parenting plan that includes sound values, healthy attitudes and morals
- Encourage exercise and a healthy diet and full night’s sleep and good hygiene.
Now you have alternatives to helping your child to achieve on their own without you having to resort to manipulation and bribery. You are now on your way to being a healthier
parent and parenting a healthier child.
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