Parenting: How to Instill Good Values in Children - as part of the expert series by GeoBeats.
Three things. Listen without judgment, is being able to allow your kids to open up and tell you what they are thinking, whatt is going on for them without you jumping in and trying to solve the problem, which is our instinct. As adults, when there is a problem, we want to solve it. Kids need the space to just recount what is going on for them and most often they will figure it out on their own, or solve it themselves.
And in giving them that space to talk, you build trust. And it's really important to build that trust particularly with the younger kids, because when they get older, you want your kids to be able to trust you enough to be able to tell you what's going on, you know. "Some kid at school is smoking pot, Mom". So you want to be able to have that open communication. So listening without judgment and starting that when they are young is huge.
Focusing on feelings, not behaviors, is the second piece that we talked about. Behavior is always always always the reflection of how we feel. And so when kids are behaving in a way that we don't like, it is so much more effective if we can figure out why; what the feelings are behind that and address the feelings, rather than just trying to stop the behavior. Because if we just put a stop to the behavior, if we just scare them into behaving in a way that's pleasing, it's going to come out in another way, because the feelings are not going away.
The third thing is empowering kids to make decisions. And, you know, it has been said the kids learn to make good decisions by making decisions. And they need that space, they need the opportunity to make some choices. And maybe bad choices, maybe they decide to wear a tutu to school on a snowy day and, you know, learn that maybe that maybe that's not such a good choice.
But when we can give them that space, first of all, it shows respect to them. When we do that, we also increase their reserves of cooperation back towards us. And it really just serves to raise more independent, responsible, compassionate children.