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10 months ago · · 0 comments

Raising Children: Positive Parenting

Child Development

Are we expecting too much from our children?

It’s interesting to note that we have moved from the period of children should be seen and not heard, to a period of constant worry if we are not paying our child/ren 100% attention all the time, in order to create highly intelligent, high achieving and super healthy children. Yet parenting has never been more confusing and there are a million different theroies and new research released every day on the ‘best’ way to raise a child. In one culture, children should be carried on their mothers backs until the age of one; in another culture children should be encouraged to be independent from as young as possible. So who is right?

 

Child behavior problems

As a parent you want the best for your child. But today there has never been more expectations on how a child should behave and on the best way to parent. Parents judge themselves too harshly, judge other parents too harshly and judge their children too harshly, based on the latest research and on their own values, culture and person experiences of child raising. A good example of this is when a child misbehaves in public. Parents are usually mortified because they are:

a) worried about what other people might think of their child or their parenting skills

b) worried there must be something seriously wrong with their child who has behaved like this repeatedly in this environment, or

c) worried about the outcome of the tantrum.

However, often we as parents often don’t stop to think about why our child is acting out, because we are all just doing our best to ‘get it right’. Parents look around and see others children behaving well and we make assumptions that our child is being naughty, but we are only seeing these other children in a very minute moment – in fact all children have tantrums from time to time.

Raising kids – the learning curve

I have 2 children. My eldest daughter is generally pretty well behaved, now that she is 8 years of age. However, whilst generally delightful, my youngest child (a toddler) has developed a habit of running away in public and throwing huge tantrums in public when exhausted. Until recently I tried my usual tactic of remaining calm during the incident, removing my child away from the environment and then calmly addressing what just happemsd. Of course this did nothing to stop the behaviour happening again. So I’ve been thinking and thinking a lot lately about what’s going on.

Being the second child, she is often forced to do things that are not suitable or fun (such as collecting her sister from school open waking from an afternoon nap). So this is always going to be a ‘danger zone’ as we navigate other school children, passing by the playground and paying attention to when her sister exists class.  Being with our friends is another ‘danger zone’ because we need to share our attention. Shopping is also a ‘hot spot’ as we are distracted by shop assistants, and so on.

One thing research tells us is that children are attention junkies. They do not have an off switch. They have a thirst for knowledge and play and want to always be the centre of attention. So I thought back to all ‘danger zone’ episodes to see if I could find the pattern and it was very clear – REDUCED ATTENTION or STIMULATION…

So what is the answer?

The answer is not to work out ways to change her behaviour, but rather what I can do to involve her so she feels her ‘attention junkie’ is being fulfilled? So I decided to trail a different approach during our weekly market shop. Normally, I am chasing after her from a stall – at least once during our shopping trip. So first I needed to tire her out and then I needed to get her involved. The first thing we did was visit the animals at the market. This satisfied her energy levels enough to get started on the shop. Next we found her very own cane basket and spoke about all the veggies we were collecting. Then she was in charge of the money and the shop was completed without a glitch.

This experience taught me that the pressures placed on parents to be perfect leads us to assume we must be doing something wrong if our child misbehaves, or that our child is just really naughty. But I don’t believe this is true. I believe children are sponges and love to be the centre of attention. We can’t always give it to them and there are times we need a break, but if we take charge and involve them in as many activities as possible, portentially unstimulating activities can become engaging for you and save you running after your child or dealing with a tantrum in public in the future. Then you and your child will  feel much more relaxed and be happier too.

“Research shows when a mother’s parenting style matches up well with her child’s temperament, the child experiences half as many symptoms of anxiety”

If you would like to know about how your child’s temperament may affect his/her behaviour, download a copy of my free ebook here on How To Become An Empowered Mum here

 

Lizzie O’Halloran, BBSc, MASR, NLP Prac

Personal Development Coach & Author

2 years ago · · 37 comments

Why We All Need Parental Unconditional Love – Regardless of Our Age

unconditional loveEvery Child and Adult Craves Unconditional Love

Regardless of age, every individual desires (and benefits immensely from) having consistent support and unconditional love from parents. The role of a good parent is to guide, support and nurture each child into being a confident, strong, independent and motivated adult. However, one never loses the desire to be nurtured and to feel as though there is a bond and guide there when needed.

Over the years in my Marriage Counselling practice, I have heard parents say they believe their children are too old for hugs. I have also heard parents say that once a child reaches a certain age they no longer need parental support. However, this could not be further from the truth. Affection is a basic human and animal need. This need was shown experimentally in the 1960s via the Harlow psychological studies into the effects of love and deprivation on development. In these (often cruel) experiments, Harlow found that when young rhesus monkeys were provided with a choice of a ‘dummy’ mother made of wire (who provided food) and a ‘dummy’ warm/cuddly mother who provided warmth (& thus emulated the feelings of being with their real mother), they chose the warm mother more often. Hence these studies showed the monkeys would choose feelings of love and affection over the basic need – to eat.

Studies like these altered the way many babies were treated in hospitals. They also helped to shape new adoption policies (e.g. trying to pair parents with babies as young as possible to enhance this bond). These studies also helped in the deinstitutionalisation of orphans and the mentally impaired. Nowadays babies are held by mothers immediately after birth and rarely taken into the nursery, unless necessary. Thus, these basic human needs are well recognised (but sometimes forgotten once a child grows up) today.

Impact of Unconditional Love

As a parent of a child, or an animal, you can see the influence affection and unconditional love has on those you care for. If you neglect an animal, for instance, it will most likely cause emotional harm to the animal. I can remember in high school a friend’s brother kept his dog in a large cage at the back of their house, while he trained it to become a ferocious guard dog. Apparently, the dog was nice to the brother. However, strangers were never allowed near the dog, for fear it would attack. Thus, keeping this animal caged significantly impaired the dogs natural instincts. It was no longer loving, affectionate and playful with other members of the family, let alone strangers.

Whilst as an adult it is important to be your own person and live an independent life, it is always nice to know there are others you can rely on when you need it most. These people do not have to be your parents. They can be close friends, a partner, a mentor, or other family members. The key to this special relationship is feeling secure. A close friend that thinks of your needs, is supportive, loving and affectionate, can provide the same needs of the supportive, loving and affectionate parent. These relationships are very important and deserve your time and dedication to ensure they remain healthy and ongoing throughout your lifetime.

Providing Unconditional Love At Any Age

If you are a parent, don’t assume your role is no longer as important once your children ‘grow up’. It is just as important to provide unconditional love, only different. The desire for unconditional and consistent love, support and affection is innate. Therefore, it should not be provided based on age. If you are a carer of an animal, make sure you take time to treat it with regular, unconditional love and affection. Not just when you’re in the mood. Animals are sensitive and intelligent creatures and will also give you the same love and affection in return. Regardless of whether, or not you have children or animals in your life, take the time to be affectionate, loving and supporting to those you care about most. Ask for this unconditional love in return when you feel it is lacking.

Finally, think about who you are asking this of . Assess whether or not they are capable of providing you with your basic needs. If not, you may need to re-think where you are placing your energy and desires. If a parent, friend or partner is unable to provide you with these basic needs, it doesn’t mean you have to stop loving them. Rather it may require you to put your energy into seeking it from those most willing and capable to provide it to you consistently.

Never forget that everyone needs and deserves affection, love and support – especially YOU!

If You Are A Parent & Would Like To Find Out More About Boosting Your Self Esteem visit: http://www.helpformums.com/home/how-to-build-self-confidence-and-self-esteem-online-course/

unconditional love - lizzie o'halloran

 

 

 

 

unconditional love - lizzie o'halloran