The Third Power – Establish limits and set genuine expectations: Kids need rules, and it’s important for your children to have a clear understanding of what you expect from them. These expectations and rules also provide guidance to teenagers who may be engaging in risky behaviours as they separate from you. The secure relationship established using the first two powers can make it more likely that your children will take your feelings and rules into consideration when they make their choices.
It’s also important for parents using this power to determine whether their limits and expectations are genuine “deal-breakers.” Many parents heard “Clean your plate!” when they were younger, and this statement can be a source of conflict at mealtimes. But does it really matter if your child finishes everything on their plate? Would smaller portions reduce conflict and address the issue? Think about whether the rules are real limits or holdovers from your own childhood. Eliminating limits that are established out of habit can allow parents to pick their battles and reduce negative interactions.
The Fourth Power – Engaging in mutual problem-solving: This can be a difficult power for parents to use. Many parents have a strong reaction when problems arise – they give solutions. It’s very tempting to take the role of the wise, experienced parent who knows what to do – but when we do this, we limit our children’s experience with independent problem-solving. By using the first two powers, parents have an opportunity to hear the concerns of their children and to express their feelings about them; involving the kids in the problem-solving process also shows respect and continues to build trust. Kids who help to generate solutions to problems are more likely to be invested in their success; the solution will be more real to them. If the problem is solved successfully, they develop confidence in their ability to overcome difficult situations – these “mastery experiences” are building blocks for self-esteem. Initially, parents using this power might find themselves providing more ideas than their children do, but including them in the brainstorming process should eventually allow the kids to become more active participants. In addition to developing the ability to face problems and generate solutions, by working together with their children, parents encourage them to consider other people’s points of view!
Parenting can be challenging – the fact that over 61,000 books are available on the subject strongly suggests that parents are in need of information. By using the diversity of powers at their disposal, parents provide opportunities for their children to improve their self-esteem, their communication skills, and their ability to consider others’ points of view. They create a genuine relationship that may encourage their kids to talk to talk to them when problems arise. The genuine, trusting relationship, self-esteem and communication skills give kids the confidence to face stressful situations and overcome them – using the four powers described above can foster the development of resilience. These skills may not guarantee that your kids will be safe and successful, but in our opinion, they improve the odds.
|Genuine Parenting Overview|
Note: Posts on Family Anatomy are for education only, and are not intended to replace professional or medical advice. If you need to talk to someone about family or mental health issues, you can get a referral from your family doctor.