April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, which always gets parents thinking about how to keep their children safe. All parents face the same concerns when it comes to the safety of their children: who to trust and who not to trust, what they can do to ensure their children’s safety when they are not present, what to teach their children about safety, and how to teach it.
Many parents feel powerless when it comes to their kids because they cannot get their kids to listen and do the things they want. What they do not realize is that there is so much unspoken power that they hold that they are forgetting to access. It is the power of nurturing a human being, and the kind of relationship we have with them, that will help define who they are and what they do for a lifetime.
In our changing world, teaching children civility is more important than ever. Civility goes beyond being polite and courteous; it involves listening to others with an open mind, disagreeing respectfully, and seeking common ground to start a conversation about differences. By teaching skills like empathy, problem-solving, and perspective taking, we can help nurture civility in our children.
All humans struggle for power and control over their own lives and young children are no different! Ideally we want our kids to do what we need them to without us having to do anything more than merely ask. Let's not kid ourselves, that is just not going to happen most of the time. "I said so" or "you have to" is about us asserting our power over them and can feel disrespectful to the child.
Our children have little to no control over much of their daily lives. That is why most power struggles revolve around their physical self or body.
The smile that lights up your day; that laugh that warms you up with joy and optimism; the ability to show you the world through innocent eyes: kids can be such amazing parts of our lives with their constant ability to learn and grow, teaching us how to see the big picture and to love someone so much it hurts.
And then they learn the word “No.”
All humans struggle for power and control over their own lives and young children are no different! Ideally, we want our kids to do what we need them to do without us doing anything more than merely ask. Let's not kids ourselves; that is just not going to happen most of the time. "I said so" or "you have to" is about us asserting our power over them and can feel disrespectful to the child.