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Archive for February, 2016

Smart Love Corner: Parenting Q&A

All the questions and answers come directly from Smart Love Solutions in Early Childhood-A Handbook for Parents, Teachers and Caregivers by Drs. Martha Heineman Pieper and William J. Pieper.

Q:

Ever since my nine-year-old daughter was a toddler people who know her well have warned me, “You’re in for a stormy adolescence.” I understand why they think this. She is a high-energy and high-intensity kid, very sensitive and passionate. But I generally resist the idea of labeling kids and fear that making this assumption may be a self-fulfilling prophesy. Now that adolescence is just around the corner, I am wondering two things: does a child’s temperament really affect how difficult she will be during her adolescent years, and is there anything I can do now to pave the way for making that period as harmonious as possible?

A: The fact that your daughter is “high-energy and high-intensity” in no way implies that her adolescence will be stormy. In fact, adolescents who are intense and energetic often are very accomplished and manage successfully to juggle school, recreational activities and friendships.

Actually, the most important determinant of the kind of adolescence a child will have is the nature of her relationship with you.

A stormy adolescence is an adolescence in which parents feel that they don’t know what is happening with their child, the child is behaving in ways of which the parents don’t approve, or the child adamantly resists parental input and oversight. All of this unhappiness can be avoided if parents manage to establish a close relationship with their child is. The key to becoming a parent to whom your child looks for guidance and in whom your child wants to confide is to not expect the child to be more grown up than her age warrants, to manage her behavior with kindness rather than discipline and always to show her that you love and care.

You don’t say what your relationship with your daughter is like, but clearly you feel very positively about her. When children feel loved and appreciated by their parent, they are likely to confide in them and to trust them. If your daughter looks to you for help and comfort now, she will continue to do so when she encounters problems in adolescence.

The most important action you can take now to ensure a harmonious adolescence is to spend lots of positive time with your daughter and to listen carefully and sympathetically to her ideas and point of view. It is a myth that adolescents need to rebel and distance themselves from parents during adolescence. What they truly need and want more than anything is to have parents that they can confide in and consult.

If you continue to create an atmosphere in which your daughter feels comfortable sharing her feelings and asking your advice, you will find that your daughter’s adolescence will not be stormy and that it will only deepen your relationship.

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