Clinica Sierra Vista WIC

Parenting in the New Year


by Michael E. Kirk, PhD
Dr. Kirk is a local clinical psychologist, father and grandfather, who specializes in working with families, adolescents, and children.

mom_and_daughter
Creation. In the beginning, there was the parent and the child. What opportunities await you both – the thrill of the challenge and the excitement of success! How often do parents seriously think about the relationship they have with their child? What it is, and where it is headed? What is being created with their child? What should I do differently? The sooner you begin to analyze what is occurring in the parent-child relationship, the sooner you may be able to adjust your Parenting style to be a more successful parent in the coming year.

Mattie states, “All I do is butt heads with my son. He ignores me even when I yell at him!” Valerie agrees, “All my son does is play video games. To get him to do anything at all is like pulling teeth. I end up crying about the way I behave, but nothing else works.” Roger concurs, “The only thing my daughter is interested in is texting, and I catch her doing it all night long. We fight over the cell phone more than anything else.” These parents refuse to recognize that they are part of the problem. Perhaps, they could change their approach.

Each parent is acknowledging that the system they have created for interacting with their child is nonproductive, but they continue with it nonetheless. Rather than creating a successful relationship with their child, it appears they are destroying the relationship. While we sometimes do have positive interactions with our children; oftentimes, these positive interactions are outweighed by the negative interactions we have with them. When you fight with your child, he is encouraged to be a combatant. When you yell at your child, he shouts back and becomes an arguer. When we behave abusively toward a child and strike, speak harshly, or impulsively take things away as punishment, the child becomes harsh and impulsive toward us, as well. Our actions teach a child how to be a person. We are the teachers; the child is the student, an “adult-in-training.” He gives back to you what you have given him. Perhaps, it is time to change the Parenting process to a more thoughtful and considerate approach.

When you respond to a child’s behavior with a frown, an angry voice, or a negative touch, you are mistakenly making sure the child will repeat the behavior, because you are reinforcing his behavior through your response to him. Plus, every interaction you have with your child gives a direct message to him: you are okay or you are not okay. The child carries these messages about himself – okay or not okay – everywhere. Perhaps, we could offer more messages that the child is okay.

Create a new relationship with your child by always interacting in a positive, calm, and loving manner, or choose not to interact at all.  Interacting in any other fashion than this is a mistake, and you will reap the repayment of the mistreatment. Remember the catch phrase: Give and you shall receive! Mattie could speak softly to her son. Valerie could encourage her son to help her with a project. Roger could take custody of the cell phone at bedtime. Simply change your tactic and change the relationship for the better.

This year, choose to be a better and calmer parent. Wait for the right moment to interact; ignore that behavior you dislike; be calmly attentive to your child for his good behaviors. Your thoughtfulness will be reflected in his improved relationship with you…all year long.

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Tags: Featured Story, Parenting

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