The Parent Child relationship can be most rewarding relationship of your life but things are not always smooth sailing. Having some strategies to build a happy relationship between you and your child can make all the difference. Lillian Reekie’s, The Parenting Strategist and author of ‘If You Want Kids to Co-operate…Just Ask!’, has given us her 17 Bright Ideas for Improving Parent Child Relationships, tips that have come from her book:
Always focus on the outcome you WANT – The ‘Laws of Attraction’ teach us that what we give most thought to is what we actually attract. It makes sense then, that we should focus our thoughts, spoken words and all that we do in regards to our parenting on the positive outcome WE WANT rather than what we DO NOT want.
As parents we are both the teacher and the student – Our role as a parent is about letting go of believing we alone can be the teacher and being open to also being the student. Today’s children are so ‘switched on’ and have so many lessons for us and we too must be willing to be open and ready to learn from them. Our children chose us as parents and for that we must be so grateful and embrace the lessons they were sent to teach us.
Be a role model. Young children are like sponges – As parents we are our children’s first role model. We have to pay close attention to what we say and do around our children and think about what kind of example we are making. If we want our children to listen to us we have to show we can listen to them. If we want them to respect us we must also show them respect. If we want them to openly communicate with us we must set the example and communicate openly with them.
Be willing to compromise and negotiate with your children – If we are working with our children to gain cooperation there will be lots of compromise and negotiation along the way. No one likes being told; “That’s the way it is because I said so”. Think about it; do you like being treated as such. In a fair situation no one takes total control. By regularly discussing things with your child they will learn and understand there has to be give and take and mutual respect for each other’s ideas and thoughts.
Don’t…Give…Up – If you are in the midst of working through challenges with your family, perhaps with a particular child, and that you’re feeling lost or unsure… PLEASE don’t give up. Believe that all you need to help solve your challenge is coming to you. It is SO important to believe in yourself as a parent and also to believe in your children. If you do believe in yourself and refuse to ‘give up’ then you will surely find the solutions you seek.
Don’t sweat the small stuff – Sometimes we get caught up with all of those little things our children do (or don’t do) that send our tolerance temperature gauge up high. Keeping in mind that we want to focus our communications with our children on the ‘positive’ things they do, does it really make sense to worry about all the small stuff.
Energise children’s positive behaviour – As parents we tend to focus much of our time, energy and relationship with our children around rules broken, inappropriate behaviour and so on and as such children soon learn from us that is how they get our relationship. Instead focus your energy on children’s positive behaviours or even as they move closer to that behaviour and go to town on praising them for their greatness in that moment. That is how children really learn to follow the rules!
Help build your child’s self-esteem – Children develop self-esteem when: They feel like they have a place in the world where they belong; They are part of a family where they matter; They are encouraged to do things and succeed. Children with high self-esteem believe in themselves and have a good sense of importance and self- respect. They also feel a sense of trust, security and feel accepted by others. They usually understand their own self-worth, have good self-control and are willing to take on challenges or new or difficult tasks.
If you are co-parenting it is SO important to be ‘back to back’ with each other – The parenting messages you send to your children will be way more effective and clear for the child if both parents/carers are consistent in their communications with the child. Children are clever and will play one against the other if they see inconsistencies. They will also be confused if one parent says and does something one way and the other parent another way. Parenting should be team work. You should both work out your parenting style and not contradict one another (especially in front of the children). Support each other as parents as your joint goal is surely to have happy and healthy children and relationships all round.
Know what your children’s highest values are and work with them in alignment with those values – No one’s sets of values or beliefs are right or wrong as long as they are right for them. Children will have and hold their own set of values (even though they may not understand what that means) and as they mature this set of values can change. Some that are strong may also stay with them throughout their lives. Some of their values may be questioned and some parents may not agree with their child’s values. Values cannot be forced or even learned but if you believe your values as a parent are important for your children to at least explore there are ways you can at least foster (not force) these values in children.
Listen respectfully to your child’s ideas and feelings – Your child, regardless of their age will have many worthwhile and valid ideas to contribute and they will also have feelings (that we may not always be in total alignment with). It is important that we respect those ideas and feelings and allow them to feel comfortable expressing them. If we do not openly and respectfully listen to our children they will NOT want to share with us and will find others to express their feelings too.
Phrase all the consequences you give your children in a positive tense rather than a negative – When we give children consequences we often tend to use words like; “If you don’t then…” or “You can’t unless you…” or “You didn’t do…so you won’t be able to…” We use a lot of ‘not’ words- ‘do not’, ‘cannot’ ,’will not’, ‘did not’ and so on. Rather than use negative and non-encouraging words like these we can slightly change the words to make a huge impact on the messages we are sending.
Show your children you are their biggest supporter; their number one FAN – Regardless of what our children say, do or how they act we have to show them that we love them unconditionally and will not judge them or their actions. It is so important for our children to see us, their parents as their number one fan. No matter what is going on in your lives; No matter how much your child appears to be out of alignment with your thinking; No matter how much grief your child is giving you; No matter how much trouble they are getting into; No matter how they treat you or speak to you; No matter how much others are telling you they are ‘this’ or ‘that’….You must still be their NUMBER ONE FAN.
Treat your child with total LOVE and TOLERANCE at all times – Regardless of what our child has or has not done we have to show them that we are TOTALLY on their side, that we love them unconditionally and that we are there to 100% support and encourage them at all times, under all circumstances and conditions.
Treat your children like a well-respected visitor or guest in your home – If you pay your children the common courtesy you would a respected guest in your home it is highly likely that it will be reciprocated. The more you treat your children this way the more they will want to treat you the same. We use this courtesy in most instances when dealing with other adults at work or in social situations, so why not with our children?
We are our children’s favourite toys – As parents we are our children’s favourite toys. They know where all of our buttons, switches and controls are. We actually teach our children how to get what they want from this favourite toy by the way we respond to them. So in a nutshell the rule is to give little or no energy to negative behaviour and relentlessly energise positive behaviour.
Work towards gaining cooperation with children: NOT control – As parents we often tend to want to ‘control’ our children. Instead of trying to control our children with force, anger and nagging, we should talk to them. We should ask for their opinions and listen to what their wants and solutions are. Remember the old saying “Treat others the way you want to be treated”. That goes for our kids too!
- Lillian Reekie is the mother of 2 adult sons, Caleb 21 and Nathan 28. She is a qualified Primary School Teacher and taught for over 17 years. She now works as a Parenting Strategist as a result of her own family’s journey with their youngest son being diagnosed with Childhood depression, ADHD and ODD as a toddler. Lillian is the author of 6 books, is a certified Nurtured Heart Approach Trainer and has been conducting seminars and workshops for parents and educators for over 15 years. Lillian also works with and mentors parents 1 on 1 and has a great passion for assisting parents to enhance their relationships with their children whilst embracing their own and their children’s greatness. Visit her website: www.theparentingstrategist.com.au and Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/theparentingstrategist.
- TAGS: Lillian Reekie, If You Want Kids To Co-operate Just Ask, happy parenting, parenting advice, parenting, improving your parent child relationship, parenting relationship, improving your relationship with your child, how to improve your parenting skills, bright ideas, bright ideas for mums, tips for mums