Empowering your child towards self responsibility

Children live in the moment with a mindset in which they don’t automatically assume things can or will change, in fact it's more like: "I see it like this, therefore it'll always be like this... forever." That's fine when everything is happy in their world at that moment, but when it's not?    

As they get older, most parents would like their children to develop into balanced, contented bigger people and would like that transition to be enjoyable and relaxed rather than tense and bitter. 

“We can teach our children to be responsible for their actions sooner than we think.”

For example, when a child realises they may have done something wrong they might feel confusion and possibly failure. This 'mistake', to them feels permanent. As big people we, hopefully realise that doing something wrong or making a mistake is not forever... hopefully.

Moving from a position of confusion, disappointment, failure and possible distress to a position of rational calm in a young child can be tough. Is it possible to move a child from tantrum to tenderness, from a feeling of failure to a feeling of empowerment?

If your child snatches a toy from another child you can:

  1. At all times try to demonstrate that you are calm, grounded and in control of yourself.
  2. Correct the behaviour - Say, "No." in a firm and yet kind way and gently remove the toy from your child's hand. 
  3. Identify and relate to the problem - "It seems to me that you would like to play with the toy Jonny has, but Jonny is playing with it now."
  4. Rationalise the situation - "How would you feel if Jonny snatched a toy from you?"
  5. Offer an alternative - "How about you asking Jonny if you can play with the toy when he's finished?"

Then it is the time to empower them to alter and move negative feelings and actions towards positive ones for the long term. Whilst you are holding your child's attention say, "You’ll remember next time.”

This process may not be easy and may take repeated attempts, but by your showing empathic understanding while being firm, fair and loving, your child will buy into your way of being and eventually work these things out for themselves in a calm and measured way.

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