The Consultant Parent
The Consultant Parent
Allow us to introduce the consultant parenting style - an alternative, which works well throughout life. This effective parenting style can be implemented without parents having to resort to anger, threats, lectures, smacking or punishing.
Implementing this parenting style is most effective when introduced as early as possible in the child’s life. (About nine-months old.)
Every single child needs thoughtful guidance and firm, safe, enforceable limits.
Based on the safety of the child and how the child’s behavior affects others, parents determine how to set limits. Adults must set firm, loving limits, using enforceable statements without showing anger, lecturing or using threats. When a child causes a problem, the adult shows genuine heartfelt empathy through sadness and sorrow and then lovingly hands the problem and the consequences back to the child.
They must maintain those limits to help their children understand that they are responsible for their actions and will suffer reasonable consequences for actions that are unacceptable or inappropriate. However, while the parents are drawing and holding these limits, it is important for them to continue encouraging the children to think about their behavior and help them feel in control of their actions by giving choices within those limits.
An example of an enforceable choice is: -If a toddler is acting inappropriately; the parent can offer him choices. “Would you like to go to your room walking, or would you like me to carry you?” The limit in this case is that the child cannot act as he just did in the parent’s presence and that the best place for the child to be right now is in his room. Notice that the parent is not telling the child how to act, such as “stop that right now!” Such a statement is not enforceable, and we will most likely have to act again if the bad behavior continues. Nor does the parent simply say, “go to your room!” because that also gives the child the option to be disobedient. Instead two choices are given, both of which are acceptable to the parent and can be enforced should the child choose to do nothing in response. If the child refuses to go to the bedroom on their own, the parent can implement the second option, by gently picking the child up and taking them to the bedroom. It also allows the sharing of a small amount of control with the child, and any consequences come from the child’s decision, not the parent’s. This is where the consultant parent comes in.
They ask their children questions, and offer them choices. They establish options within limits. Therefore, by the time they becomes teens, as a result of years of practice, they are used to making good decisions. To assist our children in acquiring responsibility, we must offer them opportunities to be responsible. That’s the key.
Parents raising responsible kids, spend very little time and energy worrying about their children’s responsibilities. They are more concerned about how their children are going to have significant learning opportunities as a result of their irresponsibility. They don’t spend their time reminding them or worrying for them. In an indirect way, they are saying, “I’m sure you don’t need reminding, but if you can’t remember, I am sure you will learn something from the experience.” These parents help their children understand that they can solve their own problems. While they are sympathetic, they do not solve their kid’s problems.
Children, who grow in responsibility, also develop a healthy self-esteem, why? Because this is an essential component for achievement in the real world.
This parenting style becomes even more important as our children grow into adolescents.
The loving part of effective parenting is nurturing the child towards the responsible, competent person that parents and society believe the child can be. This will take some thought and preparation on the parent’s part, but the results are well worth the effort and involvement.
Rose De Freitas
Feel free to e-mail Rose with your questions or to find out more about her courses and workshops.
While parenting books and articles can be extremely resourceful, it is highly recommended that parents attend an effective parenting program with an experienced facilitator.
Too much information can be extremely overwhelming for parents, and it is very difficult to gauge the success of the new techniques being implemented. By attending workshops, the facilitator is able to monitor any misunderstanding or misuse of the concepts, tools and techniques provided in the parenting program.
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