Have you ever wondered how many parents see themselves as teachers. Well, it’s true. First and foremost, whether they intend to or not, teaching is what parents do.
They teach their children how to love or hate; how to be in relationships or not; how to be good citizens or not; how to see the world; how to be focused or scattered; how to earn, spend and save; how to honest or deceitful, appreciative or caring; how to feel about themselves and others. You get the picture, teaching is what they do.
If parents knew they were teaching their children how to live their lives in the future, would they do it differently?
Too often parents and focused on the present and as a result, are pushed around by events in the moment. They react without thinking. They yell, scream, and sometimes cuss the child for unacceptable behavior. Watching these parents, children learn that yelling is the proper way to handle situations when people do things you don’t like but they don’t necessarily learn better a way to do what they did wrong. That requires teaching-not yelling or punishing.
Further,tTeaching helps to establish a better relationship between the parent and child. When that relationship is strong and built on positive regard for the child, she or he will be more cooperative. This is one of the best kept secrets. Parents can’t make children do right. Children do what their parents say because they care what their parents think of them and how their parents feel about them. When children know parents love and value them, they will be more cooperative.
There are many ways to build that relationship. What works for adults, works for children too. Words of love and acts of kindness helps. Spending time with the child helps. Giving positive reinforcement for the things that go well helps. When a child tries a task, paying attention to the effort and not just the results. This doesn’t zap motivation, but encourages good feelings and therefore builds a better relationship.
When the relationship is strong, there will be plenty of time to teach better ways to make tea cakes, catch a ball or make a bed because less energy is spent on correcting bad behavior.
There’ll be more about that next month.
© Rachell N. Anderson, Psy. D. June 21, 2012