Parents are a child’s first teachers and role models. And usually children are more affected by what their parents do than by what their parents say. They learn how to behave by seeing how their mothers and fathers behave and by following their example. The way we, as parents, deal with the current pandemic and self-isolation, will influence how are children respond to the situation.
As part of our Parenting Support Services at Fegans we look at how we can learn helpful parenting skills to be well equipped to help our children, but also, and just as importantly, how we can be encouraged to look after ourselves. Children will be greatly influenced by how we deal with the ups and downs of a busy life, both positively and negatively.
Parents benefit from an empathetic and blame free environment in which to develop and build on new ways of working as a family. Fegans’ parents coaching involves a series of simple but effective exercises that help parents look at themselves as well as their children. Positive parenting behaviours, for example, don’t always come naturally, especially if we ourselves were raised by different standards, generationally or socially, from which we hope to achieve with our own children.
Showing empathy to a child in times of hardship will do wonders to help their own resilience, and slowly open their minds to a greater understanding of others. This will help them look past their own immediate emotional reaction to any given situation.
For example if a child has been upset, or has been rejected by a close friend at school, ask them what happened and how that made them feel. Empathise with them and recognise their hurt feelings, but also discuss what may have made that child react that way. Encouraging your child to think about how others may be feeling will help them empathise with others, and also recognise any part they may have had to play in the situation, consciously or not, and also differentiate their experience from that of others. They will also learn from how you take time to understand them, and use this to understand others, working towards stronger relationships.
Mistakes and consequences
Making mistakes is a part of life, and we all need to make mistakes in order to learn from them. Looking at our child soaking wet safter they have forgotten their coat will make us frustrated (to say the least) especially when we have reminded them countless times. However we need to understand they do make mistakes, and help them learn from them. We can also help them consider the consequences that we have had a life time learning. Are they uncomfortable and miserable when wet? Do they have to miss a trip to the park to go home and change? How will they feel with a cold?
Consider how you yourself deal with mistakes you make, do you beat yourself up? Or have a live and learn attitude? Forgiving yourself, and finding your own resilience will help your child see that it is possible.
Stress, trauma and emotional upheaval caused by life events are going to impact your child at some point. Building resilience now will give them the tools to help themselves when at home, and when they are independent in the world. How you deal with certain life crisis will impact how your children learn to react, or learn what to expect. How we deal with situations can stem from issues from our own childhood, these can be worked through in counselling, or if issues are resolved but behaviours remain, a parenting course could offer support in developing strong coping mechanisms. Your resilience is important, and your well-being and happiness is too.
For more in our ‘Happy Child, Happy Parent’ series see our article on ‘Child-led Play’ by clicking here.
If you feel you would like help with parenting and family harmony please look at our Parenting Support page, and do not hesitate to get in touch to find out about how we could help you.
For more information on counselling both children and adults, visit our counselling page here.