PARENTING? WHERE’S THE MANUAL?
I am not talking about the millions of articles available at our finger-tips courtesy of Google. Real, meaningful, simple and words we understand and can implement and act upon?
As I research material for the Manners4Minor curriculum for 2020 (which has grown from the original 30 lessons to 101! – yes, I know – we work hard in our company and all credit to my Miss Manners who support and guide me). We want to leave no stone unturned. Every child should have information on where and what circumstances he/she is going to find themselves in and be PREPARED. Communal understanding, diversity and acceptance! I have realised in my 12 year journey with Manners4Minors that conscience is a privilege. Imagine that! So, that is pretty much my life’s work – information and emotional choice and the response that can be expected. That’s the mission.
But what about us, the confused, over-loaded, information hydrant day-to-day parenting?
Parenting these days is probably the most confusing and the feeling of being threatened by the economy, crime, influence and access to information our children have is, well, completely overwhelming. While my boys are really past the “SELL BY” date aged 30 and 25, I have the laatlammetjie girl who is 16 in August. I feel shell shocked most days by the responsibility, the positively paralyzing decision of whether to say Yes or No to a request and the powerlessness of not knowing what is out there. Gone are the days where parents KNEW the dangers. We are pretty much in the dark.
We don’t even know that we don’t know.
With Foundation Phase children, aged from 3 to around 7 years, we still have POWER!! Make sure you use it while you still can. This is labelled “FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY” and with just a few adjustments and discipline (I said DISCIPLINE – not punishment!) you can have a marked effect on the teenage years of your children (and yourself as parent/s and your relationship.
Overall the goal of a parent is to raise a child who is well-functioning with the tools to enable him/her to become balanced, responsible, confident and productive – but to do so we need to educate and fill our toolboxes too.
I attended a Positive Behaviour Management workshop by Brigette Short this weekend which was directed at teachers and the tools they can use to motivate participation in classes using POSITIVE methods, rather than the usual negative consequences of unacceptable behaviour. She does workshops for parents too and I can highly recommend that you book her for a session at your school. Her system is simple, duplicable and made me feel quite relieved at the achievability of what she advocates.
A week after writing this, still meaning to reread it before uploading, the most devasting news of the Matric pupil who committed suicide – what followed are alarming statistics. We have become so outcomes based, putting pressure on our children to succeed (because we understand the wild world out there and want the best for them) BUT finding the balance – that’s a whole new story. Is there enough time for the child to still do “children stuff”, not a management project. Some children have extra activities every day of week (maybe more). Au pairs are being sent to Parent Meetings! We need to take a hard look at our lifestyles … I say this without judgment as the demands of living are hard, but we can make moments count. Let’s play with cars in the sand and bake cookies, chop veggies and play Go Fish. Not only will these experiences be joyful but will open communication with your child so that they know they can approach you with more serious issues if they need to.
Brigette can be reached at:
Positive Behaviour Management
082 563 9546
Click here for: Where are my manners song