Children often use play and not words as a means of communicating.
Mahatma Gandhi once said “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” One way that I interpret this inspiring quote is to act the way you want others to act. I work with many families and I believe this mantra often applies when there is conflict between parents and children.
Parents usually want their child to stop disrespecting, yelling, acting aggressively, etc. I work collaboratively with the parents on how they can model the behavior they want to see in their children. We work toward enhancing parenting skills that help bring peace and joy back to their home.
Here are a few tips that usually help parents achieve this goal.
- Schedule play. Make time in your schedule to play with your family. It is important for families to have fun and bond through positive experiences. Schedule a game night or a hike or time together at a park. It is far too easy to get so bogged down with today’s hectic lifestyle that we fail to engage and enjoy our loved ones despite our best intentions. Making time for your child teaches him or her the important values of having fun with your family and communicates to him or her where your priorities lie.
- Be present. How many times have you seen parents and children on their cell phones while sitting at a restaurant? Pretty often is my experience. Unfortunately, not much bonding is happening when everyone’s eyes are focused on the screens. Instead, put down the phones or any other distractions and be present with your children. Listen to what they are saying and reflect back on the feelings underneath their comments. This will go a long way toward creating a strong bond where your child feels listened to and understood.
- And lastly, be the change you wish to see in your children. Parents are typically the main role models for young children so consider what you want your kids to learn from you next time you get angry. For example, it is often helpful to request space from each other and go into another room and later, once calm, discuss the situation with your child. When your children observe you engaging in a healthy coping skill to calm down when you feel angry, they will be more likely to do the same.
These are just a few of the frequent topics that I find myself discussing with families. I plan to write about other tips in the near future so stay tuned. You can subscribe to our wellness blog (see the far right column of this page) or pop on over to our Facebook or Pinterest pages for lots more great stuff.
My colleagues and I at Intuition Wellness Center specialize in counseling children, teens, and families. We have clinicians who specialize in working with families overcoming challenging patterns. If you believe you or someone you love could benefit from our services, we are here to help. Call 520-333-3320 for a free phone consultation.
Written by Yoendry Torres, PsyD, Clinical Psychologist
Image credit: “Vlečení kola” by cs:ŠJů – Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons