Hello Purposeful Parenting community!
After the holiday break, we’re back with double the blessings this week! Not only do we have today’s post on sharing positive experiences with your child, the recap podcast from our second Parenting Workshop is live! So much to digest, so take your time to really soak in these concepts and apply our Purposeful Parenting Action to your daily life.
In that podcast, we talked about how a child is like a bank account. We need to make positive deposits in the account—this would include using natural consequences to teach and discipline, using controlled choices to get children to obey, and especially sharing positive experiences. Listen to the podcast here to find out about ‘negative withdrawals’ from that account. Today, we will be going deeper to explore how sharing positive experiences can help you raise children with positive attitudes who are ready to face challenges!
The big idea here is that
positive attention is essential in developing a child’s healthy self-concept, that is, the way they see themselves and their purpose in their world.
Through positive attention, children grow into a better sense of their purpose and value in the community, and today we will take a look at a few practical examples of how to develop this sense and raise children who are resilient, humble and confident, caring, and positive.
What does positive attention look like?
Positive attention looks different at different ages, based on the developmental needs of the children…for more information on stages of development, check out our first podcast on stages here.
Infants: Positive attention for infants looks like smiling, especially when your child smiles at you, playing and exploring toys, eye contact and mirroring facial expressions, and especially skin contact and holding. An infant is exploring their world and the adults that live in it, and so your positive attitude, care, and smiles help your child feel safe, secure, and positive enough to continue to explore. Essentially, you are building trust here, through responding to their needs, mirroring their emotions, and connecting through play and eye contact.
Kindergarten+: For the Kindergarten age, positive attention reflects the increased mobility and communication skills in your child. So talking to and with your child, playing games and exploring outside, celebrating positive behavior, and showing interest in their (sometimes long and rambling) stories and activities are amazing ways to give children positive attention. One big key is to get on their level, literally! Squatting down to talk to a child, especially one who is upset, is a great way to show thoughtful care for their emotions and world.
Elementary through high school: As a child grows and develops, it becomes more important to seek out positive experiences to share. I recently took some middle school students rock climbing with their dads, and I think it serves as a perfect example for this parenting style.
As I watched these parents encourage, celebrate, and affirm their children, I saw the kids go higher, face tougher obstacles, and smile more! When children share interactions like this, they grow in self-esteem and confidence that they can face obstacles, and overcome difficult problems. Most of all, they are reminded that they have the support of loved ones along the way.
How can I put this parenting tip into practice?
Other great examples of ways to have positive shared experiences with your child include serving together or attending church together. Giving back to the community with your children, starting at a young age, is vital to helping them develop generosity and the ability to see the ‘bigger picture' in life.
As children reach the middle and high school age, mutual sharing also becomes more and more important. Sharing personal stories of failure or challenge and the lessons you learned can go farther than you may even see in the moment, as studies have shown.
Simple things like teaching your young children to overcome small obstacles like homework will help them tackle bigger ones in the future. And when they fail, showing grace not only reflects God’s character, it shows that it is ok to fail—that failures give us a chance to learn and grow. This, along with exposure to diverse (or scary) experiences like rock climbing will also help your children feel more secure in new situations as they develop and eventually become independent.
So how can you put this into practice? Below is a handout to print out and hang somewhere you will look at it frequently. This has some simple phrases and approaches that will help you build positive interactions into your weekly and daily lives as parents.
Through positive attention and shared experiences, we can be purposeful in our parenting, to develop children who are resilient, positive, and generous. The work you do to #investinyourchild will help them invest in others later in life. Now that’s Purposeful Parenting!!
This week's Purposeful Parenting Action
1. Download your free parent's guide below!
This week's Ron Clark rule
Rule 50 "Be positive and enjoy life!"
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See you in the comments!