Parenting is more than nurturing and discipline. At the forefront of parenting, is communication. The outcome is to send an able-bodied, balanced individual out into the world. This individual should be equipped to become a functional and contributing member of society. They should have the emotional and mental capabilities needed in order to make good decisions and the capacity to make the right choices.
In order to accomplish these goals, parents must sometimes reassess their parenting strategy. Some believe the way to accomplish these overall goals, is to first reassess the way they communicate with their child. For example, some parents talk to their young child in amusing “child talk.” Saying words like “foodie” instead of food. This is actually a function that may hinder speech comprehension. By speaking normally to your child, even your young toddler, you are promoting comprehension, direct communication, accepted speech patterns, and further creating an understanding between your child and yourself.
Pre-disciplinary methods should be the second reassessment. Some believe that a child needs to merely do what they are told. Some believe this forces the child to conform to the expectations of others without question. This may not be a trait you want your child to grow up with. By explaining the reasons behind your directions or expectations, you are instilling the trait of expecting understanding from your child. This is a trait of strength. You are teaching your child the reasons why they should behave a certain way. This provides them with information, which in turn, gives them an understanding of choice-making.
Disciplinary methods are another area that may need some reassessing. How do you discipline your child? Talking to your child during the process of discipline gives them an understanding of what they have done wrong and why a punishment is necessary. Some experts agree that punishments should be well known in the household. Discipline should be expected. The exact nature of the punishment should be expected, as well. A should always result in X, B should always result in Y, and C should always result in Z. Creating an “Expectancy Chart” is a great way to accomplish this. An “Expectancy Chart” should be created and agreed to by all family members, then left out for all to see – and always be reminded of.
Reassessing doesn’t end there. Parents should regularly take a step back and reassess the choices they are making. Be aware of any habits that are being picked up by the child. Remember, children learn most of their behavior from their parents, even the bad ones. By being aware of this, parents are better equipped to understand the behaviors and actions of the child, and are in a better place to correct these behaviors and guide their child in the right direction.
Holly Mullin, J.D.
Family Law Attorney