Positive Parenting Part 2: Building Family, Building Bridges

March 31, 2010

Yes, what you do now matters – whether your child is in arms, a toddler, or an elementary school child. And it will matter later.

What are some positive things you can do to build your family, to shore up against the winds that may come later on?

In a previous post, I mentioned an article in the online magazine, Slate, that gives a modern take on surprisingly traditional parenting methods. The article gives us two more great ideas for positive parenting that we can all implement now.

The first? Help develop competencies in your children. The article advises against “scheduling overkill” that plagues so many modern families – running from this lesson to that game to that practice with hardly time to breathe in between. Instead, look for your child’s bent – what is he or she inclined to enjoy, and do well at?

This may take a while to determine, but be open and observant. Once you’ve discovered what he loves to do, foster that. Encourage her to sing or act or swing at a baseball if that’s what she loves. Don’t expect all your children to have the same tendencies. It’s easier to drop them all off at karate, but if she’d rather be home practicing the piano, foster that love.

Having a niche makes each child feel special. Your appreciation of his or her love or talent builds a bridge between you and your child. It says, “Mom knows what I like. I can trust her with my dreams.”

The second positive parenting tool? Increase parent connectedness. Studies say that “when there’s more parent connectedness – a child feeling close, loved, wanted, listened to, and satisfied with the relationship – a child is at much less risk for engaging in dangerous behaviors.”

If your children are young, this is the perfect time to set this foundation – in fact, it’s the easiest time. It’s far harder to get warm and fuzzy with a teenager you have no relationship with!

When you grow weary of the games and the constant demands and “Mommy, read to me” for the fiftieth time, remember that you’re building a foundation.

Parenting isn’t all about saying no. Try to say yes as much as possible. Avoid the extremes – loose, permissive parenting and rigid, inflexible parenting generally don’t result in strong parent-child relationships. Balance is important.

There are positive things you can do now to make the road less bumpy and strengthen the parent-child relationship. So, build those bridges. You’ll be glad later you did.

What's the takeaway for you?

Is there one thing you plan to do to strengthen your parent-child relationship?

Toward building bridges,

4 comments:

Jean Wise said...

I like the idea of developing competencies - implies these skills will take time and don't expect overnight success - all true of parenting.

vawriter said...

Laura, thanks for dropping by my blog. I'd love to hear about your book! Mine will be Young Adult Narrative Nonfiction--or not, as you read in my "Sharng Writing Secrets"!

Carrie Cooper said...

Carrie @comfortedbyGod.blogspot.com

Laura--
Great reminder that everything we do establishes a foundation in our children's lives. You've challenged me to overlook the frustrations and focus on the eternal part of leading a child in Christ.

Karen said...

Love these lessons. What am I going to do? Have my son, his wife and 2 kids home for Easter break. Yeah!

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