This collection of quotes and wisdom has been complied from blog posts on www.janetlansbury.com. These are words of wisdom that have resonated with me and that I frequently share with parents. Is there one that stands out to you? If so, please share by clicking on comments below.
*Where the word parent is used, caregiver can be substituted for teachers, nannies, etc.*
“If a parent does not really believe in the validity of a particular rule, or is afraid that the child will not obey, chances are the child will not.” – Magda Gerber
The manner in which we give directions will determine whether or not our children follow them. Some parents need help perfecting their confident, matter-of-fact delivery, remembering to put a period (rather than a question like “okay?”) at the end of their sentences.
Balancing our instructions with plenty of free playtime with children calling all the shots means they will be more willing to listen when we direct them. It also helps when we remember to always acknowledge our child’s point-of-view, for example: “We’ve been having such a blast outside and I understand not wanting to go back in, but we must.”
Providing boundaries with honesty and respect is the surest way to foster emotional security, which will endow our children with a lifetime of happiness and freedom.
Parents are often reluctant to set limits for children because they’d rather not face the pushback and negative reactions (can’t imagine why). We don’t feel good when our kids are unhappy, and it feels even worse when we’re responsible for it. We might feel guilty, worrying that our children’s disappointment or anger will linger, or fearing they will feel unloved or stop loving us because we didn’t let them do what they wanted.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
1. Respectful communication
We intervene with even our youngest infants directly and honestly rather than resorting to distraction, tricks, coaxing or other types of disconnected, dishonest responses and manipulation.
2. Setting limits early
We register our annoyance before it turns to frustration or anger and realize that this is a sign that we need to set a limit. Since we know it’s patently unfair to allow our negative feelings to infringe upon our relationship with our child, we perceive these limits as positive and loving.
3. Following through
We recognize that our verbal directions and requests are often not enough, even when our children fully understand them. So we assure children that we will “help” them by confidently following through with gentle but insistent actions.
“Does our child feel unloved, abandoned, devastated?” No, not if we’ve honestly and calmly communicated with her and acknowledged her feelings. Although she may feel disappointed and angry, she also feels safe and secure, assured that she has the leaders she needs.
Write this word on your hand. It’s a magical way to connect with a child of any age, can ease tears and tantrums and even prevent them. It’s a simple but surprisingly challenging thing to do, particularly tough to remember in the heat the moment…
Anger is an emotion we can all relate to, but it can be incredibly hard for us to allow our children to express it. They need to. If kids can’t share their anger, it doesn’t cease to exist. It festers, usually causing more frequent and intense flare-ups, discharged in bursts of impulsive limit-pushing behavior. It is also likely that unexpressed emotions like anger may be stockpiled and distilled into chronic anxiety or depression.
A frustrated, exhausted mom wants to treat her 3 year old more gently and less punitively. Ironically, the way to do that may be to become a stronger leader.
Be a gentle leader - Children need to know without a doubt that their parents/caregivers are their leaders. This may seem obvious, but it’s easy to get a little confused in this area, especially with a strong, bright and verbal child (I’ve been there).
Sometimes a reticence to set clear boundaries stems from being raised in an overly strict home. Perhaps there is a fear of being too authoritative and repeating patterns of response that our parents modeled — responses that felt unloving, disconnecting or even abusive. Or, sometimes the parent is simply inexperienced at establishing healthy boundaries.
Try not to emit a sense of foreboding that is self-fulfilling - When we project that a diaper change is going to be a disaster or that our child will freak out when we try to separate, our child senses our discomfort, which makes a relaxed diaper change or easy separation far less likely.
A vital part of her development right now is testing her power and her will, while also being assured that she has parents/caregivers who are well equipped to contain this power. Children do this by resisting us. They can’t explore their will by saying “yes, mom, I’ll do what you ask.” So, defiance at this age is normal and healthy.
However, it is disconcerting and even scary for children to feel too powerful – powerful enough to push parents’ buttons and rattle or anger them or powerful enough to make decisions they can’t easily make (like when to relinquish their will, follow a parent’s direction and stop throwing toys). Feeling too powerful means feeling uncared for, and toddlers are acutely aware of their need for our care.
Successful guidance provides children the safety and comfort they need to flourish. When boundaries “work”, children don’t need to test them as often. They trust their parents and caregivers, and therefore their world. They feel freer and calmer and can focus on the important things: play, learning, socializing and being happy-go-lucky kids.
When setting boundaries, the emotional state of the parent almost always dictates the child’s reaction. If we lack clarity and confidence, lose our temper or are unsure, tense, frazzled, or frustrated — this will unsettle our kids and very likely lead to more undesirable behavior. We’re gods in our children’s eyes, and our feelings always set the tone. With this understanding, it’s easy to see why struggles with discipline can become a discouragingly vicious cycle.
Structure, expectations, predictability- all add up to responsibly raising and loving our children. The freedom we all feel deep within ourselves comes once we understand where we stand in the scheme of things.” Magda Gerber
“People will forget what you said; People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.” -Maya Angelou
“We all need someone who understands.” –Magda Gerber