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- Parenting Skills, Styles & Advice
What is Power Parenting?
Power Parenting is a method of parenting which enables parents to strengthen the bond between themselves and their child while keeping control and lowering stress.
What can Power Parenting do for You?
Using Power Parenting may take some getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, it is sO much easier than traditional parenting.
There are five main keys to Power Parenting, and on this page you'll find explanations, tools, tips, ideas and suggestions for implementing these.
* Keep An Eye On The Future - See the article "Raising Adults" below, describing how the way in which a child is disciplined and even spoken to, will determine the adult he becomes. That adult's success in relationships, finances and career can all be dramatically affected by his experiences right now.
* Allies - You'll find suggestions on this page of how you can discipline your child while remaining on his side, and how to demonstrate this. Disciplining from an Ally position is far less stressful (and more effective) than disciplining from an Authoritarian position. I'll share with you on this page, how to be an Ally without losing your control.
* Sleep - Lack of Sleep produces symptoms that one would never dream (excuse the pun ; ) are related to it. See the article "How Sleep Can Change Your Child's Future" for some examples of the Power of Sleep. There is also an article "Bedtime Battles" which will help you enforce bedtime in a stress-free and effective way.
* Plan Ahead - I'll share with you, some tips and tools for planning ahead in your disciplining methods. If you plan ahead, you are in a much better position to follow through on any consequences and promises.
* Remember Your Power - Once you have implemented the above keys, you will never again need to worry about control. And it's a lot easier and simpler than you might think. There's no need for power-struggles or arguments or debates. You'll be able to remind yourself that with the tools you have, there is no need to doubt your Power.
Please don't hesitate to ask for help and support. Use the comment box below to detail your question or query, and I'll be very happy to respond with help, suggestions and support.
Do check back again, I'll be adding more information, tools and articles regularly.
I believe that, because the way in which a child is treated and spoken to changes who that child is, and the adult he becomes, we can change the world by changing the way children are treated.
People talk about raising children.
We are in fact not raising children, we are raising adults.
I don't mean that children should be treated as little adults - I mean that it's important to remember that everything we do and say contributes to the adult that child will become.
When I plant a seed for an apple tree, I am not growing a sapling; I am growing an apple tree. I am expecting that seed to grow, first into a sapling, and then, over time, I am expecting it to grow into a fully-grown apple tree. So, although it may be a sapling right now, if asked I will say that I am growing an apple tree.
Sometimes we forget that we are raising adults not children. They are currently children, but the end goal of nurturing, caring for, and guiding our children is a healthy, happy, well-adjusted, well-prepared, fabulous adult with the best chance in life we can manage to give them.
We can really give our children the best start by looking ahead regarding our discipline and teaching choices.
The methods we use to encourage the behaviour and attitude we desire in our children, will have an effect on who that child becomes as an adult. Everything we teach - either directly or by example - will contribute to that adult.
Everyday discipline methods and the way in which a child is spoken to will all contribute to the adult that child becomes.
I believe the way in which these issues are handled can translate to: career, finance and relationships, for the adult that child becomes.
Here is an excerpt from the book "10 Simple Ways to Improve Your Child's Behaviour" which demonstrates how one of the smallest and "unnoticeable" of comments can change the future prospects of a child. If the following style of speaking to this child is a habit (and I'm certain the mum doesn't realize she does it), it's possible this child will make entirely different financial, career and relationship choices than he would if he were spoken to differently.
Excerpt: "As mentioned earlier, most of the time we are unaware of what our faces are doing. We are also sometimes unaware of our automatic reactions to various situations. Some of us even believe at times that our children switch off their senses for moments when we speak about them or others. I have heard parents swear in front of their children, and genuinely believe the child doesn't register it.
The worst aspect about this "unconscious" behaviour is that, when the child models the parent, the parent often responds with surprise, anger, indignation, and even disgust. ....
When Max asked his mother if he could wear his snorkel in the bath so he could pretend he was in the sea, she said "Don't be ridiculous!" A few days later, when Max's mother asked him if he wanted to play rugby, he answered "Don't be ridiculous!" His mother's response took him completely by surprise! She was furious and told him not to be cheeky.
The message Max was to receive gradually was: Others are allowed to speak to me with disrespect, but I must always speak to them with respect. Conclusion: I am not as important as others = I am not worthy.
Unless Max is treated differently, there's a strong chance he will grow up with a developing sense of "undeserving" (amongst other things) which could affect his ability, as an adult to:
- find and appreciate healthy relationships
- earn the wage he deserves
- become financially secure
- achieve a successful career"
It may be difficult to see how this is possible. It may seem absurd and exaggerated. Let me explain the logic behind it...
Of course, the "Don't be ridiculous" on its own does not appear to be damaging - especially if it's not said in an angry tone. But combined with being told off for using it himself, and if this is a regular way of communicating that Max's mother is unaware of, Max, as a child, can't help but subconsciously develop feelings of unworthiness. And these feelings can snowball. As he goes to school, if he has a foundation feeling of unworthiness, he will be displaying that feeling outwardly, which can lead to his being treated in that way - which will increase and confirm his feelings of unworthiness, and so it spirals until it is a strong and solid part of his personality, and will then naturally affect all areas of his life.
Everything a child experiences contributes in some way to who he will become as an adult. For some, the effects will be stronger than others, but no-one can predict which child will be able to overcome which effects, no matter how well they know the child. The subconscious is illegible and unpredictable. So it's not worth taking the chance - the stake is too high.
This doesn't mean we have to be perfect or neurotic about every little thing.
If we simply remain aware of the styles of communication we use to (and in front of) our children - and adjust our regular discipline methods to take into consideration the long-term effect on the adult we are growing, we will change our children's future immeasurably.
We can make the difference to our child's financial, career, and relationship success.
How wonderful is that!
How Sleep Can Change A Child's Future
Getting the full quota of sleep he needs, can affect who your child becomes as an adult. It can have an effect on his career success, personal relationships, and his financial security.
I know this may sound far-fetched, but bare with me....
Here are some examples of the effects of sufficient good sleep:
* Result 1: When a child is getting enough sleep, he'll feel more energetic.
Effect: He'll have more energy to take part in sport and other physical activities. - and he'll be more likely to do well in these.
Knock-on Effect: Not only will he develop a strong, healthy, active body, but his self esteem will climb, and he'll experience a sense of achievement.
Long-term Effect: This can change who he is - physically, mentally and emotionally. It will contribute to his health, feelings of self-worth and self-belief.
* Result 2: Getting the full amount of sleep he needs means he is then able to concentrate better and for longer periods of time.
Effect: Not only will he be able to learn and absorb more while in class, he will be more alert and able to participate more. He'll also be able to remember more of what he's supposed to do and what he's not suppost to do. He will find it easier to focus on instructions, and will therefore be considered to be paying attention and he will be seen as "good".
Knock-on Effect: Getting better results in school, will build that self-esteem, and will increase confidence and a better self-image - a great foundation for his future.
Long-term Effect: Apart from the obvious academic benefits of doing well at school, the increased self-esteem and sense of achievement will be extremely valuable to him as an adult - it will affect his career, personal relationships and attitude to finances.
* Result 3: Consistently getting the amount of sleep he needs will have a profound emotional effect. A child who is getting plenty of sleep overall will generally feel happier, more tolerant, he'll be less inclined to feel over-sensitive and irritable. He's more likely to experience a general, all-over feeling of security and stability - which is undermined when he is lacking in sleep.
Effect: He will get on better with others and will be more inclined to do as he's asked. He will enjoy his life more, which will nurture a positive attitude and outlook.
Knock-on Effect: Because of his general attitude of happiness and tolerance, others will be more likely to feel drawn to him and to appreciate him. He will receive more positive attention -- from adults and his peers.
Long-term Effect: The positive feelings resulting from sufficient sleep can change the life your child creates for himself. High self-esteem can change who he becomes as an adult!
Children need different amounts of sleep at different times - depending on whether they're going through challenges, a growth spurt, or have a lot of mental "stuff" to process.
I believe that if you have to wake a child for school, he is not getting enough sleep. Get him to bed earlier. If you have trouble achieving this, see the article below entitled "Bedtime Battles".
We have the opportunity to contribute more than we know, not only to our child's experience of life as he's growing, but also to his future, simply by ensuring he gets enough sleep!
Isn't that Exciting!
Having discussed how Vital sufficient sleep is to your child, you may be thinking "That's all very well, but there's no way he'll go to bed earlier.
Here are some suggestions for getting your child to go to sleep on time, and with as little stress and drama as possible.
I believe it's important to first explain the reasons for getting enough sleep. Tell your child that among the most important things that happen during sleep are: growing, healing, processing things they've learned during the day, working out problems and worries, and so on.
Let him know that consistant sufficient sleep results in feeling happy and energized, and being able to concentrate and focus. Explain to him that if you have to wake him in the morning for school, those important processes are interrupted. Tell him you are not prepared to deprive him of his sleep, and the subject is non-negotiable.
I can't imagine a child who, on hearing this, will simply say, "Okay, no problem, I'll go right to bed." But, by explaining the logic behind your taking a strong stand regarding bed-time, you are letting him know that you are doing so out of logic and reason, and not simply out of authority.
The next step is to put your foot down in the nicest way. Having impressed upon your child, the importance of sleep, you now need to let him know that: because sufficient sleep is so vital to his life, if he doesn't get enough sleep tonight, he'll need to catch up tomorrow. You could say something like: "You really need to go to sleep now. Unfortunately if you're not in bed by 7pm and asleep by 7.30 you're going to have to go to bed earlier tomorrow night to catch up on sleep."
If he resists (and he's sure to) once he's in bed, say: "If you're not asleep by the time I come back in ten minutes, you'll need to go to bed ten minutes earlier tomorrow night to catch up."
All of this should be said - and meant - in a genuinely caring way. Your concern is that your child gets enough sleep not that he does as he's told. Make sure he knows that.
Of course, it's vital you stay true to your word! If he's still clearly awake when you come back, make sure you confirm that he will be going to bed 10 minutes earlier tomorrow night. Build it from there - in the next 10 minutes, if he's not asleep, he'll have to catch up 20 minutes the next night. He should eventually get the idea and at least pretend to be asleep by the time you come back and that's great because there's a good chance that while he's pretending, he will actually fall asleep.
Here comes the vital bit: Come tomorrow night, it is absolutely essential you move his bed-time to the 10 or 20 or 30 minutes earlier. He's bound to object, and how you handle his objections will set the foundation for his behaviour in future.
No matter how much your child objects, no matter how dramatic his protests, you need to be firm and stick to your decision - but in a very sympathetic way. You could say for example: "I'm sorry sweetheart, I know it's frustrating, and that you feel you don't need the extra sleep, and if it wasn't so important, I wouldn't insist on it. But unfortunately, there's nothing I can do about it - your body and mind need the sleep, and of course, you lost 10 minutes last night, so you do need to catch up tonight. But then tomorrow night, you'll be back to normal, so then you can go to bed at the normal time of 7pm So, into bed and straight to sleep, goodnight sweetheart..."
The bit I've bolded above has a very important effect. It helps to take the child's focus off the fact that he has to go to bed early, and puts it on the fact that he has control over whether this happens again or not.
The best thing about this approach is that you're on his side - you're not trying to teach him a lesson or dish out punishment, you're trying to help him get enough sleep because you want him to be happy, energetic and able to cope with his life.
Now, some children will get the idea, and go to sleep, planning to not have this happen again. Others will protest further, and need another "If you're not asleep by 10 to 7, unfortunately, you're going to have even more to catch up tomorrow night."
As long as you stick to your guns, and in a supportive way, you'll only need to follow it through once or twice. Once your child knows you mean it, and there's no room for debate or discussion on this subject, the next time you say "If you're not asleep by 7.30" he will believe you, and he will either go to sleep or at least pretend to, which is good enough. ;)
The result: * You will see an improvement in your child's behaviour. Although it may not be obvious or logical, a lack of consistently getting enough sleep can make a child's behaviour appear to be naughty, cheeky, moody, listless, and/or irritable. Remember, even if your child doesn't appear to be tired, he may well be lacking sleep. Being tired is not the only symptom of sleep deprivation.
* The method of catching up lost sleep in portions of 10 minutes takes the pressure off you. You don't have to nag, punish, raise your voice or threaten. It's a calm, loving approach of: "You need this amount of sleep, if you can't manage to get to sleep by the time I come back, I understand and I know you can't help it, but because you will then be short of 10 minutes of sleep, we need to make it up tomorrow night." That's it. No anger, no retribution.
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