Yew Chung International School of Beijing counselors Marianne Thomas and Ron Drisner recently brought the famed Active Parenting Workshops series to Beijing in order to provide parents with the opportunity to learn more in-depth information on many facets of their children’s physical and psychological development. Topics covered during the workshop series include, “Parenting Styles”, “The Power of Choice” and “Discipline, not Punishment, Skills”.
Yet for many parents not able to join the workshop on campus, Ms Thomas was happy to share information below regarding many of the topics covered, all of which aim to help families achieve a fuller, more satisfying family life.
The Foundational Bond
One of the most important things to do with your child from the outset is to build a strong bond. A strong bond provides a solid foundation upon which our children can grow and thrive. Building a strong bond enables parents to experience the joy of parenthood and will assist in creating a trusting relationship between parent and child that will support them with problematic decisions in the future.
One of the ways to establish and support a bonding relationship is through play. The type of play must be suitable for their age level, of course. So, with a baby, you could sing to them, or swing a colourful toy in front of their eyes. For toddlers, playing make-believe is a wonderful exercise. Dressing up and acting out stories together is a great way to engage in their imaginative play. For older children, the play could be centered on sports, crafts, or even joining in their favourite computer games.
Playtime doesn’t have to be extensive, but quality time with parents fully focused on their child.
Discipline is Teaching, Not Punishment
One of the reasons that establishing a strong bond is so important is because you want your children to trust you and listen to you. Therefore, parents need to establish age appropriate boundaries and be reasonable when setting and enforcing rules. Parents should not simply say, “This is the rule, so you do it.” Instead, the rule should also be explained so that children can understand its importance.
Disciplining your child doesn’t mean punishing your child; discipline actually means teaching. And in order to teach your child effective behavior, there are several things to keep in mind.
One is that children respond well when given a choice. So, especially with little ones, you may say, “You could either wear the red shirt or the yellow shirt.” When trying to direct your child’s behavior, do so through giving them options, though each of which you would find suitable.
Another tip is to use “When and Then Discipline”. This structure follows a pattern of, “When you do this, then you get that.” For example, “When you sit quietly and finish your dinner, then we can go have story time together.”
Discipline and establishing effective behaviors in children helps them to become confident and independent. And when children are independent, they’ll be able to better navigate the challenges of the outside world.
Modeling a Healthy Parent
Finally, one thing that’s often overlooked is that it’s essential for parents to be inward looking as well. Children model what their parents do more than what they say. Therefore, if children see their parents overly stressed or angry, they’ll respond in the same way when they’re met with stressful situations in their own lives.
Parents need to take care of themselves. That could mean taking the time to go out and have a coffee with a friend, or it could mean sitting down to read a book alone. Parents need time to recharge, and focus on their health and well-being. In doing so, parents can be relaxed and totally focused on their children when together.