Friday, January 11, 2008

Have a Family Friendly Year!

Welcome to 2008! I, Randy Rolfe, haven't really gotten into the blogging habit yet, but it's growing on me. I want so much to share with modern parents the secrets to raising great children and enjoying the process!

The holidays are always very big and special to our family and we had a blast! Now the new year is moving forward quickly and I want to share some more tips!

There is so much you can do to make this a special year for your family. And not to worry, it doesn't have to be things to do, it may be things not to do. Like overscheduling yourself and your children, or feeling you must perfect your decisions or theirs.

We are the parents of our children because we have a longer view of things and can share with them the benefits of our experience. It may seem obvious, but it has profound consequences, that human beings have a longer childhood than any other species. Instead of following rote instinct, we must learn from our elders how to prosper in this world. I always remind parents that their children are genetically programmed to pay attention to their parents, even when it seems that's exactly what they don't want to do. But we always have that going for us.

This power cuts both ways. On the one hand, if we don't give them the guidance they crave, they may feel good about all the freedom, but deep down they will also feel a sense of abandonment. Human parents are meant to oversee their child's development. On the other hand, when we do give them guidance, it is their job to resist, and think, and decide if they will follow our guidance. This is how they develop their judgment and independence. And we must experience that bit of resistance and not take it personally.

But meanwhile, if they have come to appreciate our guidance in the past - being helpful more often than not - they will tend to integrate our guidance and judgment into their own thought processes and in this way progressively become more "mature."

This may sound awfully theoretical. But how does it play out? When a boy of 7 has been playing with some rough school mates and comes home and plays too roughly with his 5 year old sister, what do you do?

If you leave them to work it out for themselves, the girl may not know how to stand up for herself at that age. So the parent can intervene. If the boy gets punished, does he learn anything? Perhaps separating them for 10 minutes and telling them how to moderate their behavior and to think about how they can get along better and have more fun together would be more helpful.

Here the parent is relying on the children's desire to be guided, as well as to get along with parent and sibling. It is amazing how effective small changes like this can be!

Take Home Tip - Take your time to consider the wiser response to your child's behavior this year, each time you feel that frequent parental feeling of: "Now what do I do?" Remember why you are the parent and she or he is the child and count on the time-honored purpose of this powerful family relationship. Let your children see how you deliberate your response and they will learn from your example to be thoughtful and deliberate in their choices.

Come back for more!

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