2 minutes reading time (463 words)

Stop Over-thinking Parenting

When it comes to parenting in the 21st century we are often at risk of over-thinking things and losing our common sense. Sometimes the KISS philosophy – Keep It Simple Stupid – is all that is required. Here are some basic building blocks for good parenting that haven’t changed much over time:

See your children. I mean really notice them. In our rushed and hurried lives, it’s easy to be together but not be really present. In such instances children can feel invisible causing them to withdraw or to use negative attention seeking behaviour to be noticed by you. They are suckers for recognition. Make sure you show appreciation for their good behaviour and make it clear that you are unimpressed with sub-standard behaviour.

Give them feedback. Feedback is positive and character building versus criticism which breaks children down. Feedback can be done conversationally and in a neutral way rather than in a ’shouty’, confrontational manner. We give our children feedback about what is both good and bad in their lives and it includes ideas to help them to improve (in an age-appropriate way, of course). Your conversation could start simply like this: “So what did you think about your performance in/how did you feel about ……….?”, followed by, “And how else do you think you could have handled it?”, concluding with, “Here are my suggestions………….”. By giving them feedback children know you are there for them and that you care.

Let them practice. I have always maintained that homes and families are the practice ground for everything in life. This is where we learn about good manners, caring, sharing, how to hold a conversation, how to tidy up, how to listen and how to ask for what we need or want and being part of a team. It’s where children pick up emotional intelligence and social skills. They practice at home to get it right ‘out there’ in the big wide world.

Be a good role model.This is the ’show me don’t tell me’ generation of children who are more likely to do what you do rather than do what you say. Whatever good habits you want them to develop, you need to role model them. Whatever attitudes and beliefs you want them to adopt, you need to live them. Children become what they see.
By focusing on these four common sense parenting strategies, you will develop a positive expectation of your child. You will be able to drop negative phrases such as: “Don’t drop it!”, “Be careful!”, and “Don’t fail!”, replacing them with “I know you can do it!”, “I believe in you,” and “Go for it!”, because you genuinely believe they actually can. Stop over-thinking and over-analysing and get back to basics. Keep it simple and remember that it’s really all about relationships and communication.
Nikki Bush

Grade 6 Natural Sciences Outing
Grade R Poem


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