Like it or not, if you are a parent, you are the leader of a pack. You owe it to your children to know the how the best leaders lead. First a laugh.
Did you laugh? Then you know the drill about being asked for feedback and then being keel-hauled. Bad leadership. Very bad leadership. What to do? These tips and the books mentioned offer the best leadership advice for parents.
Parenting tip one: Learn the difference between abuse and punishment. I have worked in the Child Welfare field. I know the difference, Many people do not.
What is report-able abuse? Physical abuse involves inflicting harm on a child that leaves marks. Even then there are degrees of abuse. A hard slap leaves a red mark, so that is abuse; but when reported, circumstances may make it unfounded. Why? The mark has usually faded by the time the child protective worker visits. If the slap occurs in public however, and the police are involved quickly, then it may result in what is called founded abuse. The parents will have to go to court and prove their are not abusive.
Spankings are not abuse. Only when a spanking is really a beating that leaves marks it is abuse. This runs counter to much of the ranting by many parenting gurus, but most spankings do not leave marks and are the sign of frustrated parenting.
Emotional abuse is a bit more complicated and much harder to prove. Briefly it is commonly defined as behavior by parents or caregivers that keeps a child from growing normally. It includes: ignoring, rejecting, isolating the child, corrupting the child. verbally assaulting, terrorizing, neglecting the child’s education, health or mental health.
Parenting tip two: Remember as Gregory Bateson noted: “Communication is response. ”
Try this memory exercise; it will explain Bateson’s idea. Think back to your childhood? Find the times you knew you had better behave or else. The look from my mother came first and when not heeded, an angry word attack. Others have reported
- “Pointing at the closet where the strap hung.”
- “A raised hand.”
- “My full name.”
- “Grabbing my shoulder and pinching.”
- “A mean laugh.”
- “The words, “Cruising for a bruising?
Effective punishments results in changed behavior. All the punishments are effective, when the unwanted behavior stops.
Parenting tip three: Remember the three things make punishment less effective:
- The child cannot do what he or she is being asked to do. Why age and stage matter, not just physical age, but also chronological or mental age.
- The child’s temperament varies the response. A sensitive child may need only “The Look” to obey; a bold child may need much more before he responds positively to a punishment
- The child has become habituated to the punishment. We get used to almost anything. Have you heard about the frog put in a pan of cold water that eventually becomes so hot the frog dies? The more often a certain punishment is used, the less it works. Why it is good to mix things up.
Parenting tip four: These books should be read by all parents.
- The One Minute Manager by Kenneth Blanchard – A quick read that covers all the basics needed to be a great leader.
- Parents Are People Too by Katherine Gordy Levine – My emotional fitness program for parents. You need to stay calm and in control of your emotions is you are going to put Blanchard’s advice into practice. You can get a used copy for a penny plus shipping or an eBook copy. I think it is a book to keep around and dip into off and on as your child is growing. I wrote it after realizing as a foster mother providing short-term care to troubled teens that if I didn’t control my feelings it was useless to expect my kids to control theirs.
- These three books relate to Age and Stage:
- This link takes you to books and videos by Jean Tracy She is my favorite modern-day parenting guru and provides sound problem solving approaches for the many problems and dilemmas facing most parents. Follow her blog.
THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO
Remember sharing is caring and the easiest way to practice kindness is to share this post if you found it helpful. Share it even if it doesn’t speak to you, it will speak to some. Didn’t like it? Comment and tell me why and how to improve.
Word Press’ DAILY PROMPT inspired this post with this question. Dear Leader: If your government (local or national) accomplishes one thing this year, what would you like that to be?
Train all parents in the above leadership skills.
LINKS OF INTEREST
These links are for those not familiar with Emotional Intelligence or the idea of Emotional Fitness.