As parents, would you agree we all try to support our children?
But getting the right balance can be tricky. And, that’s why today we are going to consider what giving support is not…
Giving support is not:
I’ll get back to that in a moment, but first let me explain a little about:
The Stages Of Child Development
Stage 1 is the Imprint stage and goes from ages 1 to 7.
During this stage, essentially what happens is we all come in with a blank mind and then everything within our environment is imprinted onto our subconscious mind.
Stage 2 is the Modelling stage, which is from age 7 trough to 14.
I describe this stage as “monkey see, monkey do.” The modelling stage is where our children model everything… the good and the bad. So, as parents it’s very important that we model good behaviours and set good examples during this stage.
Stage 3 is the Socialisation stage, and this encompasses the ages 14 through to about 21.
The socialisation stage is where your teenager is trying to gain their independence and determine their self-identity. So, the key issues parents are often faced with during this stage are around independence.
The reason why I’ve shared these stages with you is because it’s important to support your child through each of these stages.
Back to what support is not.
Let’s start with Helicopter Parenting and what that looks like.
It’s when parents are constantly hovering around their child. This occurs when parents obsessively check in on their child. The child doesn’t get any time to themselves. It’s also when parents are always scheduling things for their children. It can be seen as smothering rather than loving.
An example that comes to mind…
When I was working at a university, during orientation week one year a mother kept ringing the staff asking them to check in on her daughter so as to make sure she was not just sitting in her dormitory room and missing out on the orientation activities.
Therefore, this is not supportive because it does not allow your child or teenager to develop their own independence.
Now, I know this example is for a teenager, but it starts when they are born and can often get worse as the child grows. Some signs of helicopter parenting with younger children include constant hovering to ensure they never fall, fail or fight, not allowing your child to try activities that are appropriate for their age for fear they might get hurt, and not letting kids try to work out their problems on their own first.
Essentially… it’s the parent not letting go.
So, what about Lawnmower Parenting?
Well, just like the picture shows, lawnmower parents want to smooth everything over for their child. The child does not get to learn any lessons and the parent handicaps the child by doing everything for them. The lawnmower parent is not providing positive support because if you smooth everything over for your child it doesn’t help them learn how to take responsibility.
And here is an interesting one… Peerenting
Peerenting is when the parent tries to be best mates with their child. I have had colleagues who have said they often see this in single parents with an only child. It can also be seen in cases of divorce where the parents are sharing the care of the kids. And, another example is when the child is a teenager and the parent is more a peer than a parent to their child.
They want their child to like them and avoid setting limits and boundaries to keep their child on side. The problem with peerenting is the parent struggles to use the word ‘no’. They do not want to be seen as the bad guy and discipline their child. They don’t want to be the disciplinarian. Peer-renting is also allowing your child to make important decisions for you about your life.
But, parents know at times they need to be the bad guy and set limits even though it feels awful.
And here is a great concept that will help you with setting guidelines and connecting with your child:
Relationships Before Rules = Respect
But if it is the other way around and we start dishing out rules before building the relationshipwith our child, it will often result in rebellion.
Have you ever gone straight to the rule-book before connecting?
What result did you get?
I bet it was not a good one.
Now let’s look at three key ways you can provide the right type of support to your child:
- Help them understand and manage their emotions.
This one is really important. Because if they turn their emotions inwards, it can lead to things such as depression. And, if they turn their emotions outwards, it can lead to outbursts of anger.
There is a great tool that I go into detail about during my parenting workshops that is really simple and easy to use. I’ll give you a quick run-down on it now, but if you would like more information, feel free to contact us by email: firstname.lastname@example.org, via our contact page, or phone us on: 0458360666.
Here’s a quick fact:
There are 22 common emotions that human beings experience.
Guess how many of these are positive?
If you thought it was half positive and half negative, it might shock you to know that there are only 7 that are positive. That means there are twice as many negative emotions!
Now you know why it can be a struggle to stay positive.
But the important thing is knowing how to manage our emotions appropriately.
- The second way to provide the right support is to let them discover their self-control.
When it comes to disputes it is better to settle our emotions first and then settle the dispute later.
By the way, did you know that time and space can settle emotions?
“Talking it through” is a technique which is recommended for conflict resolution, but the key to this is TIMING. And you can encourage them to give themselves some space by going outside to jump on the trampoline, doing some craft/drawing, reading a book by themselves, or something else your child likes.
Having these emotional regulation activities in mind for “time and space” is a great idea because it will give them the opportunity to feel better and manage their self-control much more easily.
Something to remember around this is:
“When emotions go up, intelligence goes down.”Rabia
- Last but not least is to support your child by putting together a Personal Learning Plan.
It’s something they won’t be able do themselves but is a great habit to develop from an early age. How you do this is to help them set a goal and then identify core skills that will support them to achieve that goal.
A Personal Learning Plan doesn’t have to be fancy. Here’s an individual learning plan example we whipped up on the computer to show you how simple it can be:
By the way…
We’d be happy to make a copy for you (tailored to suit your child/ren). Simply email us at email@example.com with your child’s name and 3 or 4 skills you want included on your Personal Learning Plan and we’ll get your version sent to you ASAP.
“The quality of your life is dependent on the quality of the skills you have.”Brad Everton
So, set your kids up with the best life skills now to ensure they have a great quality of life in their future.
Thanks for taking the time to learn how you can enhance your child’s wellbeing.
May you have an On Track Day!
International Author and Psychologist
On Track Parenting
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