Google+ Authentic Parenting: How do you reflect your child? (rerun)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

How do you reflect your child? (rerun)

Being a parent, you are the number one person when it comes to interpreting your child. Their needs, their habits, their character... everything that makes your child unique is being assessed by you, all the time. Maybe it's time you become aware of this given. For, undeniably, how you perceive your child is reflected to him. The aspects of his character to which he himself has no access, of which he has no direct knowledge, he can only get them from you. As a mother, you might well be the most important, the most determining "review" your child gets in his entire lifetime. If you are aware of this simple fact, you can give some consideration to what you are reflecting about your child.

  • Do I emphasize negative aspects?

Even though negative aspects of your child's character shouldn't be ignored (he must acknowledge those to be able to change them), they should not be exaggerated. Positive aspects deserve just as much attention.
Only highlighting the negative will can make your child think he is a failure any way and there is no use in trying. Or that you do not love him for who he is.

  • Is what I reflect based on reality?

Your child is constantly changing, is the way you see him still up to date? Do you base your perception of your child upon what you see, or upon what others tell you, upon what you think?
Example: A teacher tells you your child is very distracted in school. From then on, you see every laps of attention as your child being distracted. You start telling him to pay attention when you talk. To stop dreaming... Your child's behavior hasn't changed since before you met the teacher, just your attitude towards the behavior has changed.

  • Is what I reflect based on assumption or expectation?

Short term and long term expectations can seriously distort the image you mirror to your child.
Ask yourself: are you seeing your child for who he really is, or are you seeing the child you might have wanted.
Example: You would like your child to become a lawyer, so you tell him he wants to be a lawyer when he grows up (while he really wants to be a ballet danser). After having seen your child handle an argument between friends, you tell your child he is a good moderator and that will be a good skill when he becomes a lawyer.
You should reassess your child every day, and try to avoid acting on mere assumptions. It is harder then it seems to constantly reassess your child. Think about how often in life you base your actions upon an assumption. Give them the benefit of the doubt.
Example: You yell extra hard every morning because your children have difficulties getting out of bed. Maybe today they were already out of bed. Maybe your yelling isn't very motivational for them to get up. Maybe they aren't lazy marmots after all.

  • Are you exaggerating anything?

Exaggeration is very dangerous, no matter if it's in the negative or in the positive.
Example: Your child is really good at drawing. You constantly tell him to draw, tell others how good he is at it, tell him what a great artist he is... He might feel pressured by your enthusiasm. He might loose his interest in drawing.

  • Are you being judgemental?

You should try to view every characteristic in a neutral light. What you see as something negative might not turn out wrong. Consider for a moment why you think some traits are positive and some to you are negative traits? Is it culture, upbringing? Held into a different light, the things you judge might even be positive drives for your child, when guided.

  • How can I turn what I perceive as negative into something positive?

Don't say: he's dominant, say: he's a great leader. Or not: she's slow, but: she takes her time.The bottom line here is . Your child will love being known, but that doesn't mean you should think in his stead. Let him make his personal choices.



    1. These are all very helpful ideas. I know I need to be reminded of them often. Having a child who has challenged us with behavioural issues from birth has led to saying things to her or about her that in the emotionally saturated moment feel unavoidable, but every time I get frustrated with her and emphasize the negative aspects i.e. "you're yelling at your sister and making her cry and I've told you a hundred times not to do that. Why won't you listen to me?" I feel awful. Turning the way I perceive her behaviours, if I'm prepared for it, into a positive does work well. I just wish I could remember to do it all the time.

    2. It's not easy to be on top of the parenting game every day... I even think it is impossible, so don't beat yourself up over it! The important thing is being aware of your reactions, knowing what you could change and working on it every day.
      I believe that if you are prepared to try to make a change, if you asses and acknowledge your errors, you are already halfway there.

    3. Hi there.
      Wonderful post.
      Stopping by via SITS to say hello.
      Have a great day!

    4. Thanks for stopping by, hope you liked it.

    5. Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest
      wonderful post! Certainly made me stop and think about my children. It is easy to get caught up in the day to day business of life and forget to encourage our children not pressure or stress..

    6. Thank you, mama of 4, and welcome. I will be over to visit yours!

    7. Hi, another mama of four here. I really needed this post. Thank you xxx


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