I thought I'd share with you some of the key concepts of my parenting philosophy, and the message that I try to pass on to the foster parents that I've worked with. This is the core of the parenting process.
(EDITED TO ADD: I just want to say that I wasn't alone in developing the points you are about to read. They were developed for the book that I put together with my two colleagues and sit in the very beginning of the book as an introduction. They are what inspire me at home here with my girls every single day and I find meaning in them more as each hour passes. )
· All behaviour has meaning - Separate who the kid is from the behaviours they’re demonstrating. Problem behaviours are the child’s attempt to find solution.
· Kids all have their personal stories and are experts in their own lives. Just ask.
· People learn more from making "mistakes" than from their successes. Behind every crisis is an opportunity for learning.
· Just because kids may step off the path does not mean they’re changing direction.
· We all know our weaknesses. We need input from others to learn our strengths. Help your kids to re-author their personal stories from victim to hero.
· You can take your time. Issues and behaviours WILL come around again.
· Be curious!!!! Ask lots of open-ended questions, and leave your own ego at the door.
· It is helpful if we gain understanding of our kids. It is more helpful if we assist them to understand themselves.
· Curiosity invites communication. Punishment invites anger. Fair consequence invites learning.
· Change your dance! If what you’re doing is not working then try another approach. Do it differently, rather than louder.
· Respect must be modeled to be learned.
· Develop strong communication skills of timing, tone and manner, & recognize the influence of language in your approach. Make an effort to leave every verbal exchange with the other person feeling better about themselves.
· Think & speak POSITIVE thoughts and messages toward your kids - or take a break. Healthy attachment can only occur when people feel acceptance.
· Demonstrate hope & belief in your child’s ability to change. People are not resistant to change - they are resistant to BEING changed.
· Find the strengths in ALL child behaviour. Respect their current choices and they will begin to make choices worthy of your respect.
· Humour can be one of your most effective strategies. It keeps you sane, while allowing the child to learn how to laugh at their own behaviours.