Saturday, April 8, 2017

How An Active Parent Supports Problem Solving

The active parent finds a way to support the child, with the ability to listen compassionately to the child's concerns. For example, if a child finds out a friend is having a birthday party and they haven't been invited, a parent needs to listen to the child as they tell them that it hurt their feelings and are afraid the friend doesn't like them anymore. Too often a parent wants to fix the problem or make the child feel better, so as soon as the child starts to tell the parent how they're feeling they start talking. Don't. Just Listen. Let the child tell you everything they're feeling, then tell them how you know it makes them sad and afraid and offer a suggestion of having the friend over to have a play date just the two of them or some other reasonable solution to the problem.

An active parent should learn to take their child(ren) seriously without discounting how the child feels or their opinion. When a parent does this, the child will come to them for additional information because they know their perspective will be taken into account. For example, when a child gets angry because the parent cleaned up their room and put something where it didn't belong. Take this seriously. Don't discount the child's anger. If someone went into your room and moved everything, you as the adult would be mad too. The parent can explain why they put something away so that the child understands, but when the child tells the parent that they should have asked the child first- actually the child is right. When a parent tells their child they're right that they should have asked, they're valuing their opinion and feelings. The child learns that they can go to the parent if they feel overwhelmed, frustrated, confused, or have any other emotion or problem.

An active parent knows that being a parent isn't about playing favorites, but is about creating open, honest relationships and open channels of communication. When a parent or other adult plays favorites this hurts children's self-esteem and self-worth as they begin to wonder what's wrong with me. There isn't anything wrong with the child, however, there is something wrong with the adult who plays favorites and sends the message that there are people in the world who are more important than others. There is something wrong with sending the message that there are people in the world whose value is more than someone else's. I understand people like the President of the United States are more important than other people, but it's the position that's important, not the person holding it. When the person holding the office of President of the Unites States is no longer president, he goes back to being a citizen of the U.S. So please parents, be careful not to do damage to your relationship with your children you don't want.

Harm is done to those who are treated as a favorite too. These children begin to feel like they're untouchable and because they're taught that rules don't apply to them or that there are different rules that apply to them than others, these children become prideful. These children are full of unhealthy 'I' statements and their 'I' statements are compliments about themselves. Children who are treated as a favorite are rarely liked, but instead are tolerated. When children who have been treated as a favorite move away from home, they have a hard time adjusting because the world doesn't revolve around them anymore and people don't treat them like they're special. Where rules that didn't apply to them growing up all of a sudden apply to them, they don't know how to deal with it and overcompensate for their inability to not be treated special. When a parent treats their children with equality and understands that being a parent is about having an open, honest relationship with their children it opens the channels of communication. It does this because the child trusts the parent to tell them the same thing they would a sibling and treat them the same way they treat their siblings. The child knows what to expect because the parent is consistent in what they do and say. It doesn't change depending on what child they're talking to. This enables trust to be built and sustained between parent and child.

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