Sunday, 19 October 2014

Professional Parenting

Parenting is  tough. Anyone  who has a child will know  that. You're damned  if  you do, and damned if you don't. A good  friend  of  mine  recently attended a positive parenting course at her church. We have been chatting about  it over  the last few weeks  and it  sounds as if  they have  given  the parents  some great information, as well as some food  for  thought.

Children  are like sponges, that's   why they learn so quickly. They can pick up their  own , plus  foreign languages, vocabulary colours, shapes, numbers,  letters, weather, feelings, all well before  they are  ready for school. What we always  forget  as parents is they are picking up all the subtle signals  we are sending  them. They can read our  mood through our body language and  facial expressions. Some  studies  say we communicate 55% of  our  views, mood  and feelings  non-verbally. Children are emotionally sensitive so it makes  sense  they can read  these signals better  than many adults.

If  you  think about  this logically it  makes  sense  that if we are tense, angry or upset  that our children may well feel unsure or upset. Even if we smile  and  try to reassure  them verbally they may not accept  this as true. 

Being an example of a happy , healthy caring person is  to me , the best way to develop happy, healthy caring children. We cannot expect our children to develop tolerance if we are intolerant, to be caring if we are brusque and uncaring, to be friendly if we are pathologically shy or anti-social. We may well be mortified if our  child is  the one who swears or bites at nursery, but if mummy swears at another driver on the school run , or daddy slams  doors and mutters obscenities under his  breath when he is annoyed about  something  what do you expect? Do as I say, not as I do does not work. Our children are too intelligent  for  that.

I have overheard  parents tell their children not to be so F***ing cheeky, or to shut up, and  then  the very same parents  seeing red  when these words and phrases are  repeated back to  them.

I had  my own parenting thrown back in  my face  this week by my 4 year old. We were in  the car turning left into a road  and  there was a van parked very close  to  the corner making visibility almost impossible. I loudly called  the van stupid and may well have uttered  a few expletives also. Nancy piped up, and carried  on till we were home, "It's  not nice  to call anyone stupid mummy". I tried  to reason with her and say I was talking about the van, and  not a real person , so it was OK. She was having none of it. A few hours later I was going out of  the house, Nancy asked me where I was going, and when I said I was just popping out for something she said , complete with wagging finger " and you need to go and say you are sorry  to that van!"

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