Last week i invited a number of people who love children and know a decent amount them [despite not being parents themselves] to share some thoughts/advice/suggestions and encouragement to parents of young children. You can catch both parts of that over here.
A number of parentals wrote some thoughts on the “I’m going to ask you for thoughts” post and so i grabbed those. You don’t have to agree with all of them but just take a look and see if any of them resonate with you and might be helpful:
Jess Basson: For me, it’s about relational currency. You earn the right to speak in my children’s life. The village is and always has been a place of attachments – deep attachments, where the adult has the child’s interests at heart. In today’s society, the “village” is often voyeuristic spectators as opposed to people who are invested in the wellbeing of your child. One of the greatest people that I have learnt the most from is my friend Candice Smith, you can check out her work at Contemporary Parenting I Educating I Leading. She’s not a parent. BUT, Candice KNOWS my children. I’ve been vulnerable with her about our struggles, their temperaments, our family history etc. I would trust her to handle my children’s emotional states, behaviour, discipline etc. A few people have brought it up = asked for vs unasked for advice. I would suggest it’s less about that and more about whether or not that person has earned the right to participate in the upbringing of your children. If you have the relational currency, offer unasked for opinions by all means.
Thandi Refilwe-Rose Nkomo: At our church we went as far as saying that any adult who saw a child being purposefully rebellious or disobedient was allowed to mete out a disciplinary measure if the parents were too far away or in a meeting . We also trust each other not to abuse anyone’s kids, of course.
Funnily enough, the ‘worst’ advisors have been fellow parents, in my own experience. So, childless people who share the same value system as we do are more than welcome to add their two cents when needed.
I follow Paul’s writing (Bible) on the structure of the family and how to behave and dress, even though Paul was single and male. Why not do the same with anyone who loves me and loves God?
Innocentia Kgobane: I like the idea of ‘invite’ because it suggests that advice/commentary etc was/is consented to. It becomes an issue for us when the commentary was unasked for and from outside the situation. We’ve learnt to be defensive because most people are not offering help, just offensive opinions. There is a stark difference. Help? Yes, of course I’d like help… and can I be the one to state what the problem areas are too? I think that’s the kind of help most parents would react better to.
Lisa Van Deventer: I agree with Innocentia. As a young mum (I had Alex at 20), people thought they had the right to tell me how to raise him. I had a friend who took great delight in pointing out (all the time) what she thought I should be doing, but she never helped. I just stopped being friends with her.
Lisa Van Deventer: Having experienced the mother of all meltdowns last Monday, (mine not the small trolls), I can tell you that parenting can be so frustrating and yes you do feel utterly helpless at times. What really helped me was being able to admit to the meltdown and what caused it, and having friends help me forgive myself by reminding me that I am but a mere human dealing with two highly intelligent Trolls. Encouragement of each other is the biggest help and so necessary, so I look forward to this space you speak of.
Candice Castle: We put our son in the corner. He knows the corner is where he goes when he is naughty. After about a minute he comes and says sorry to us. It does not always work though. would love other ideas.
Janine Axelrad: Ooh, will apply my mind. But mostly 1) keep calm (when possible that is!) 2) realise it’s not your fault, your kid is actually acting pretty normally and it is not a personal affront 3) be consistent with however you choose to deal with it (both parents deal with it the same and consistently from tantrum to tantrum)… now if only I could follow my own advice….
Alex Millar: Brett, i have been researching parenting techniques and child developement with a psychological development emphasis and in my 4 years of research the best information i have found is a website called aha parenting. Dr laura markham is amazing and speaks to the child and the parents. I hope the above commenters who ignore tantrums go take a look at her writing. When children behave badly, we also call it acting out – because they are acting out how they feel. If they feel horrible, they act horrible, and its the parents responsibility to help your children deal with those big horrible feelings. Putting them in a corner to feel ashamed doesnt help that process, they are too young to sit there and think about what they did, but they do sit there and internalize whatever it is that has been said to them because our voices and opinions become their inner voice. AhaParenting.com