Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The gift of true listening Part.II

What has the baby done now?’ Though the child’s feelings may disturb you at times, it is important that she feel free to express them without fear of admonishment or punishment. Otherwise, she will learn to feel guilty about her emotions and will probably stop sharing them with you.
 If children are great talkers, they are also great listeners, and you should be careful not to make offhand comments that convey negative messages to your youngster about herself. A child who overhears her mother tell a neighbor that she is shy with strangers or a fussy eater can interpret such negative descriptions as permanent conditions that she is powerless to overcome. And a particularly sensitive child may even take joking nickname such as “klutz” or “fatty’ to heart and start playing the part in earnest.
 To encourage positive, self confident behavior on the part of your child you must, first of all, let her know you feel positive and confident that she is capable of succeeding. In the beginning, as new challenges present themselves, she will want to do well to please you. But in time as your love nurtures her love and self esteem, your child will be flying free- striving to please her. This momentum, established through your thousands of every words and deeds during the early years, will carry her forward all the days of her life.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The gift of true listening Part.I

As her language skills flower, your toddler will also try out her competence as a talker. Not all of what she has to say will be interesting, and often she will want to talk when you are terribly busy. Nevertheless, it is vitally important to her feelings of self worth that you set aside your duties and distractions and devotes some period of time every day simply listening to what she has to say. The same sorts of connections that were important when you played with her in her first months of life apply here. Show her that she has your full attention with eye contact, touching, and a hug when the spirit moves you. Treat her questions and opinions with respect; if you think wrong information could get her into difficulties, and be tolerant of a large measure of joyous fantasy and exaggeration.
When your child reveals her feelings about herself or others, let her talk freely as you listen carefully, showing that you truly understand by the things that you say in response. If your three year old tells you she feels like throwing the bay in the garbage can you can acknowledge her feelings, her right to express them and your understanding by saying,’ wow- you must really be angry.   


Monday, June 21, 2010

Teaching self control

Your child’s need to feel competent in practical matters is matched by his need to feel a growing sense of self control in his behavior. Firm, consistent parental discipline is crucial: neither rigid authoritarianism nor wishy - washy permissiveness prepares the child for the world he will function in. The first system gives all responsibility for behavior to the parents and leaves little or no room for the child to choose and experiment; the second turns all control over to the child without rehearsing him in the kinds of behavior the world will expect of him.  What is needed is a style of discipline that falls somewhere between these two approaches. You will need to make clear to your child what you consider acceptable behavior. Explain that you think him capable of living up to these expectations and that you will correct him when he is off the mark. Be consistent in your expectations, so the child will understand the value you place on certain standards of behavior.
 Transgressions should not be overlooked, but let your method of discipline be appropriate to the child’s level of understanding. Never forget that making your child feel loved is the most important rule of discipline, and that the ultimate objective is for him to learn to discipline himself. When he does break the rules and needs correcting, focus your complaint on the troublesome act rather than on the child. For blocks, tell the spoiler that ‘Knocking over the fortress makes your friend feel sand’ rather than ‘You were mean’. In this way you make your point forcefully without attaching a negative label to your child.
 At the same time, avoid too much descriptive praise. Statements such as ‘you are my perfect little angel’ may actually undermine self esteem by suggesting that you love the child for his good behavior rather than for himself. Children know, usually better than their parents, that they are not perfect angels; when a child hears this sort of praise he is likely to remember hidden misdeeds and fear his parents will love him less if these  secrets are ever revealed. It is better to direct praise toward the child’s accomplishments and to avoid characterizing his nature.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The freedom to fail

Youngsters need to learn early that every new effort carriers some risk of failure. Help your child to understand that disappointments and frustrations happen to everyone, children and grownups alike, and are nothing to be ashamed of, let her know that making an honest effort to perform a task is in itself grounds for feeling proud, and express your confidence that she will succeed on the next try, or perhaps the time after that. Show her ways to approach a challenge if she is having trouble on her own. For example, if your daughter returns with her toothbrush when you have asked her to bring her brush and comb, you could say:”Thank you for going to look. Let’s go together, not and find that brush and comb.”  In this way you focus on the process and the correct result, rather than on her performance and the mistake.
Decision making is another critical skill your youngster needs guidance in. To a young child, making choices can seem to be a life or death matter. Help demystify the process by giving your youngster opportunities to make simple choices in inconsequential matters. For example, you can invite your four year old to choose between two sweaters when you are shopping, or let her decide where to put the balloons for her sister’s birthday party. Encourage her to think out loud about her reasons, so that she sees herself as a person who uses her head.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Child's Chance to Succeed

Two of the activities your toddler will want to try his hand at are feeding and dressing himself. When he shows an inclination to take over on either, set standards for him that are within his reach, and then give him plenty of support and praise as he works towards improving his skills. For example, set him up, for self feeding in a situation where a bit of messiness will not matter, give him utensils that he can handle easily, and tactfully cut his food into bite size pieces in advance.
Select clothes that are easy for him to put on and fasten. As he continues to grow and becomes more able to distinguish his belongings from those of others, foster his sense of ownership and responsibility by putting his name on his favorite things. Give him a special box or shelf where he alone can park his toys, and set aside a couple of low hooks on the closet door where he can keep his jackets and mittens. Don’t expect perfect compliance at this age. Your youngster is sure to falter from time to time, but lots of positive reinforcement when he succeeds and a minimum of fuss when he fails will give him the opportunity he needs to master these and many other tasks.