Have you ever really listened to how you talk to your children? I mean really listened. Do it, do it now. It could be the most important thing you ever do for them.
Now think about how many positive things you’ve said and weigh it up against all the negative and nagging ones. Surprised? I was.
It’s nearly 15 years since I took on the position of Mum, the most rewarding and amazing role I have ever stepped into. With each name change from Mummy to Mumma then Mum came learning curves, challenges and hindsight all which have shaped a mum style which I have finally fine tuned and stuck with.
I’m by no means and expert and not saying how I do things is right, but it fits for our family and that’ll do for now.
As a positive parent, I try seeing things through my children’s eyes and speak to them as I would like to be spoken to myself.
The hindsight thing I mentioned, never underestimate that, it’s a gift as well as a curse but you’re never too old to stop learning and being a better person, a better parent.
We’ve all had the experience of hearing that Mum or Dad yell at their child, shaming them in public, scaring them and not giving them an opportunity to understand what they did wrong. How did that make you feel? Uncomfortable I bet, just think how that child felt.
Sure, there are times when its a matter of life or death, flight or fight and you need a short sharp shock, but it’s how you act in the aftermath that determines the best response. Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for life. How are we supposed to teach a child safety and respect if we don’t speak them positively and respectfully ourselves? I listened to how I spoke to my now teenager, it was shocking and sad. Don’t touch, don’t run, stop dawdling behind.
The revelation that I was being a negative parent came one day as we walked home from preschool and a cat ran away from us, I commented that the cat mustn’t like people and my son’s response changed how I parented from that very moment on; “no Mummy, he probably saw your cross face and was scared.” Powerful words out of the mouths of babes.
I realised that not only was I verbally negative with my constant “no’s” and “don’ts” I looked negative, my face could tell a 1000 words,
so instead I did this;
Walk don’t run
It’s a well know fact that you’re much better telling a child to “walk” and “not run”, as their understanding is developing, they’re more likely to hear and follow the last word you say. So I started there. I gave positives in place of negatives.
Compliment don’t criticise
Did you know for every 1 criticsim it takes 10 positives to make a person feel better? For a child who’s self esteem and self worth is still in production and so delicate, this is more important than ever. You’re shaping an adult from the moment they’re born. The building blocks for future success in relationships, work and friendships start from the day the arrive. Tell them how amazing they are and they’ll believe it.
Smile, laugh, love
Empathy is the key to so much, it’s how we read situations and how we are accepted, if we can learn to know and understand how other people are feeling, then life is just that little bit nicer for everyone. Don’t assume it’s automatic, you need to experience empathy to show it. If your child is worried, scared or sad, acknowledge it. It might be nothing to you but to them its a big deal. Smile when they smile, laugh when they laugh, love when they need love. Always acknowledge and value their emotions.
I’m still learning, I still have days when I realise I’ve let opportunities for a compliment pass and gone straight for the telling off, but tomorrow’s another day.
It’s never too late to be that parent you aspire to be.
Don’t be the parent yelling in the park.