Some insights from Heather...
On Changing Behavior
Human behavior is malleable and never more so than in children. Every parent makes mistakes but it is never too late to make changes. Use your parenting to model persistence and resilience to your child. Get support when you need it. Above all, do not get discouraged!
Stress is ever present in our daily lives and in our children’s lives as well. Unfortunately, the tremendous increase in mental health problems in our children and teens is proof that young people are not yet fully equipped to constructively cope with stress. Children show evidence of stress in many ways, including through behavioral problems, perfectionism, anxiety, and depression. As parents, we have the power to greatly increase or decrease the stress our children face. It is crucial that we learn how to recognize signs of stress in our children and help them develop healthy coping strategies to manage it.
On Intrinsic Motivation
Children are born with an innate drive to learn. Parents need to understand how to foster this intrinsic motivation rather than squelch it. By learning about the three main factors that underlie internal motivation – autonomy, connection, and competence – parents can employ strategies for encouraging the development of each and nurture their child's intrinsic motivation.
Self-esteem cannot be bestowed from parent to child; it must be earned. By overpraising and not supporting autonomy, parents actually lessen self-esteem. Learn how to help your child gain true self-esteem through competence and confidence.
On Setting Limits
It is hard sometimes to set limits and consistently enforce them for your children. But beyond the often chaotic and unpleasant household dynamic it creates, this approach leads to the underdevelopment of responsibility, impulse control and thoughtfulness; it teaches children not to believe what you say; and leaves children feeling a lack of concern and love. By understanding the effects your parenting choices have on your children and by examining your goals for your family, you can learn how to simplify and improve your everyday family life.
Praise can be dangerous if not used wisely.
“No parent thinks, “I wonder what I can do today to undermine my children, subvert their effort, turn them off learning, and limit their achievement” (Carol Dweck) yet that is what praising performance over effort and fostering a fixed mindset do. Understanding the consequences of praise will help you use it effectively.
On Self Control
The ability to delay gratification – sometimes called self control – has enormous long-term benefits for psychological health and achievement. It is simple to encourage in children but our "on demand" culture makes it difficult, particularly if you don’t know how to foster self control or what common tactics damage it.
On the Power of Attention
Parents’ attention is a hugely powerful tool. It is typical to focus on a child’s mistakes since these are the areas in which you wish to see change. And often parents are not even aware of how they are giving attention. However, you will actually do much better to “catch them being good” since you will get more of the behaviors you are focusing on. There are better strategies for helping children learn from mistakes than drawing a lot of attention to them.
On Self Identity
The key to lifelong psychological health is the development of a strong sense of self. By understanding the ways to support your child’s identity formation as well as the very frequently occurring mistakes that hinder this process, parents can promote long-term healthy psychological development in their children.
All behavior is motivated.
A child always has a reason for how he acts and it is the child’s best strategy at that moment. But a child may be motivated by something different than what parents value or want! The trick is to uncover what the motivator is in order to change the behavior.
On Kids in Therapy
There are times when children need outside assistance with issues such as anxiety, ADHD, executive functioning, and other conditions. While therapists and psychiatrists can provide some insights to parents as they work with their children, few are able to spend the time truly necessary to help parents learn how to best assist their children as they learn new behavioral and socioemotional skills. Ideally parents will seek out adequate education and support for themselves about the ways that they can aid their child’s treatment.
On Frustration and Anger
Raising kids can be very hard work and parenting needs to continually evolve as children grow into different developmental stages. It is common to feel frustrated and angry but how you handle your emotions has a big impact on your kids. Your children will learn how to cope (or fail to cope) with frustration and anger by watching you.