Having faith in a child’s potential to grow, learn, develop and create, shows respect for the essence and inner being of the child. Understanding needfulness allows the parent to truly understand a child’s uniqueness and allow them to flourish – their personality, learning style, and talents. Understanding needs liberates both the parent and the child.
The parent is able to align with the qualities of parenting they really aspire to. They can then recognize the benefits of using effective communication skills by: 1. using active listening to support the child to identify their needs; 2. using assertive clear and honest communication to support the parent to get their own needs met and share their values and 3. using win-win problem solving when there is a conflict of needs. Most importantly these effective communication skills support the child to use the pre-frontal cortex of the brain so they can thoughtfully consider their actions.
These non-punitive democratic skills, research has shown, foster children’s self-discipline, self-esteem and consideration for the needs of others.
Example of viewing children differently
A three year old watching TV screams, “I can’t hear”. The parent has a choice of how they think about the behavior: 1. The child is misbehaving and should be punished or 2. The child is behaving to get a need met.
If the parent chooses the latter then the parent has the chance to express their upset about the shouting but then acknowledge the child’s feeling and their need. They could then work out an acceptable solution together.
This power tool could be applied and explored when parents want to:
- change their method of parenting to align with their values of respectful communication.
- explore underlying beliefs about views of children.
- decide on a parenting approach.
- stop being so frustrated with their child’s behavior.
- change methods of communicating when they feel stuck in old habits.
- reframe their perspective of their child
Powerful Questions for parents
- What characteristics would you like your child to have developed by the time they are an adult?
- What qualities do you think are important for you to have as a parent?
- Will the way you communicate now with your children help or hinder the development of these qualities?
- What is your view of children?
- What interactions do you use to support this view?
- What is your preferred view of children?
- What interactions would you like to use to support this view?
- What might get in the way of you using these interactions?
- Who or what could support you in achieving the changes?
Be the change you want to see in the world
Mohandas K Ghandi
Adams, Marilee Change Your Questions Change Your Life, 10 Powerful Tools for Life and Work Berrett-Koehler Pub, San Francisco, 2009
Gordon, T. Parent Effectiveness Training Three Rivers Press, New York, 2000
Glasser, William Choice Theory
Kohn, Alfie Unconditional Parenting: Moving From Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason Atria Books, New York, 2005
Leo, Pam Connection Parenting – Parenting Through Connection instead of Coercion, Through Love instead of Fear Wyatt- Mackenzie Pub. Oregon, 2005
Porter, L. Children Are People Too: a parent’s guide to young children’s behaviour Small Poppies, South Australia, 2001
Siegel, D. & Hartzell, M. Parenting From The Inside Out: How a deeper self-understanding can help you raise children who thrive Penguin, New York, 2004
Siegel, D. & Payne Bryson, T. The Whole Brain Child Delacorte Press, New York, 2011