I have talked a lot about spirituality and the collective unconscious, but before I continue with that subject, I need to remind you again about the basic principles that sustain life in your families in a constructive way. So here we go, back to basics, if you don’t mind to reflect on these with me for a moment.
The most commanding questions that always need consideration and re-assessment are:
1. What is the task you undertake in your role as a parent?
2. What do children need from you to grow into emotionally healthy people?
What is the task you undertake in your role as a parent?
As parents we all want our children to become happy responsible and independent adults. We want them to show concern for others, love us and feel good about themselves; have a healthy self-worth and be contributing citizens. How do we instill these qualities in our children?
What do children need from you to grow into emotionally healthy people?
The most important aspect of your children’s psychological development is their sense of emotional connection with you. They need to feel wanted and valued. They need to feel worthy and capable. You are the people they model to in order to develop their potential in the best possible ways. It is your attitude and ability to ‘hear’ and ‘see’ and guide that supports them.
Children develop a sense of worthiness and responsibility as well as independence when they realize what they are capable of on their own. Encourage your children to feel competent and courageous by deciding together what tasks they will be responsible for. When parents ridicule, criticize or do too much for their children, they do not attempt difficult tasks, never learn courage and they lose their sense of self-worth. Focus on your children’s attempts and discuss the tasks together to encourage ways of taking on difficult tasks without taking these tasks away from your children. Never force your children to do anything. Force backfires in bad ways. Children become resentful and inferior or even emotionally unstable because of force. Force is different from encouragement in that encouragement comes from a neutral yet positive attitude in the parent that continues giving opportunities to try again and to recognize effort rather than end results. Please do not dwell on mistakes or tell your children that they can do better. They feel humiliated, resentful and burdened by the pressure of your expectations on them. Parents want their children to do things from a sense of inner self- motivation, instead of having to please. Tell them that they have another opportunity to try again and ask them what they want to achieve or do about a task and in that way encourage them to think of a solution themselves. Their motivation should always be driven internally instead of externally.
Parents do not take their children’s reactions or words personally. Parents do not get entangled in conflict, hurt feelings, power struggles, sarcastic or coaxing behavior with their children. They understand the child’s underlying emotional motive and respond appropriately to guide their child out of the emotional dilemma of annoyance, anger, hurt or despair. You are the adult and responsible to behave with care and consideration for this being that you are teaching to become and adult too. Parents act and do not react.
Make time to hear you child and notice their feelings. Children blossom when you are sincerely attentive and show interest without being invasive and demanding. They model your attentiveness and show compassion back to you and others. Your attentiveness gives them a sense of belonging and that they are cared for. They willingly contribute, by sharing chores, with the family they belong to when they are appreciated and their feelings are recognized, especially through troubling developmental stages. Parents always stay hopeful and trust in your children’s ability to grow and develop. Never ever give up on your children. Seek help and parent guidance if you are at a loss about how to handle any situation.
Encourage your children’s decision-making ability by giving them choices and allow them to experience both the positive and the negative consequences of these choices. Your confidence in them and their ability to learn from consequences without belittling them will encourage them to develop a sense of responsibility, self-discipline and resourcefulness.
Your children need to know that you appreciate them and their interest in cooperating in the family. Then, their hurt feelings do not turn into revengeful ones and they do not have to misbehave to assert their need to hurt others around them in an attempt to convey their own hurt feelings and the sense of injustice they experience. When you retaliate with demeaning comments or power struggles towards your children’s misbehavior, they learn that they have to be the same and behave in the way they perceive you do (mimicking your authoritarian control and retaliation), to manage their feelings. The result is that they become resentful and uncooperative and irresponsible while they rebel against all authorities trying to defy authority in general. Your children’s misbehavior is always an attempt to draw your (their parent’s) attention to the fact that they need your attention, guidance and love.
I hope you will find some of these pointers helpful and enjoy a more fulfilling relationship with your children.
Kind Regards and Blessings to you all,