Our parenting class lesson today was entitled 'Communicating with Love'. There were so many gems and I picked a few to share.
I've heard that you're not supposed to label your child. And I always assumed that meant you don't call them hurtful names or degrade them. However, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland once gave an example of "Molly is pretty and Sarah is smart." The parent is giving different compliments to two different children, but what Molly takes from it is, "I am not smart," and what Sarah gets is "I am not pretty." I'd never thought about that! So even positive labels might be inappropriate. Or you might praise you child for always making good choices, when, unbeknownst to you, he's really struggling with a moral issue and won't talk to you about it for fear of letting you down. A parent would do well labeling a behavior and not the person. And be judicious when and where you label a person even positively--it may be best done in private. Food for thought.
Harmful communication practices:
*Lecturing, moralizing, preaching, interrogating
*Discounting, placating, providing empty reassurances
*Judging, condemning, threatening
*Blaming, criticizing, ridiculing
*Talking about one's own feelings when a child needs to share his feelings
Notice the good things your child is doing. 'Catch them being good!' is a well-known phrase that is too true. Ignore offensive behavior when it is harmless. Notice the good things they're doing- don't just ignore them when they're good and get on them when they're misbehaving. Pointing out good behaviors and ignoring bad one will eliminate bad behaviors and increase the desired behaviors.
One item that stood out to me from last week's lesson is this:
When your child begins school, make an effort to observe them in class and see if they are accepted socially and comparing favorably to other classmates academically. You may think your child is doing well, but in actuality, he may be struggling academically or socially. The only way to really know is through observation. You want to start them on a good path in school in order to set them up for confidence and future success.
I hope this is a little interesting. The class is just wonderful. Taught by a couple I greatly admire. When I have my wits about me I'll ask myself the question, "What would (the mother teaching the class) do in this situation?" It is hard for me to imagine Christ parenting. I know there are examples of him teaching, being kind, etc. all over the scriptures, but for here and now, I find this standard a good one to hold myself to. I slip up, but I apologize to the kids when I do and try to improve. It will be a never-ending quest for excellence, this job of parenting!