Do you remember a time when your child influenced you? She came up with an idea that actually changed your mind or even just showed you her point of view.
In the book,`How We Love Our Children`by Milan and Kay Lerkovich, it states: All children need to know they have the power to influence others, and as a highly influential and respected adult in your child’s life, you have the power to affirm that in her. With the security of firm, consistent boundaries, a child can be trained to confidently affect decisions and outcomes.
The four ways to help your child gain the gift of power are:1. Provide choices 2. Listen to their opinions 3. Ask their opinions 4. Say YES to requests to pretend and role-play.
Asking for your child’s ideas, opinions and reasoning provides opportrunity for your child to articulate critical thinking and develop the skill of persuasion. However, these skills must be encouraged and taught. As a parent, questions that begin with what and how are great tools to use when talking to your child. Another tool would be to do role-playing or even just asking your child ,”how would it feel if you were in her/his shoes?” Role-playing can be used if your child is struggling, in making friends, saying no, setting boundaries or confronting a problem.
Pretending and role-playing are great ways to have fun whie teaching a variety of tools.Playing is how you, as an adult, can enter your child’s world.Playing teaches our child planning, prediction, sustained attention, impulse control, cooperation, taking turns, symbolic thought , organization, self-direction, patience and many other skills.
You know if you have done well when you see your kids at an older age, making good choices, exercising influence, and taking control in positive ways.
As parents, when we diligently take the patience and be conscious of this new way of thinking and behavior, our children will have developed good critical thinking skills, can say no and set boundaries, and make decisions that will empower them when they leave home for the adult world.