10 tips for parents in a handy printable format
By Sr. Patricia M. McCormack, IHM, EdD
Security is the foundation for positive self-esteem. Self-confidence is a by-product of security. Security takes root each time the needs of a child receive a predictable response from the significant people in his life. A pattern of attentiveness builds a sense of trust, emotional safety, and confidence.
No parent can provide a perfect pattern of trust, keeping promises, or being present on a 24/7 basis. Mistakes will happen. Promises will be broken or forgotten. It is the pattern of trust versus mistrust that matters. When trust proves dependable on most occasions, the child will develop drive as a basic life strength and hope as a basic life stance.
Security formation occurs by consistently integrating components that create a pattern of reliability:
Establish routines, procedures, systems.
Organize the environment.
Initiate safety precautions — both physical and emotional.
Provide attentiveness and inclusion.
Establish consistency, continuity, predictability.
Anticipate needs and schedules.
“Say what you mean and mean what you say.”
Initially parents provide these functions for children. By kindergarten age, parents begin to empower children to assume personal responsibility to nurture their sense of security. They can integrate these same components in age-appropriate ways. For example: a system for dressing, packing lunches, organizing a homework spot, using a calendar or chart to plan ahead, setting an alarm clock or timer, and so on.
When the daily functions of life can be put on automatic control, inner energy is available for the unpredictable events of the day, enabling a child to deal successfully with stress. Routines, procedures, and systems serve that purpose. Security releases energy for reaching objectives, looking forward to the future, and having a reasonable confidence that all will be well.
Family rituals not only strengthen family bonds, but also help establish a sense of security in a child. Safeguard “family only” times, such as Friday pizza and video, hiking, camping, or participating in a family charity.
Security affects school success
Practice these 10 parenting tips:
1. Help your child create a balanced schedule.
2. Establish household routines to begin and end the day in calm.
3. Show supervising interest in your child’s homework and classwork.
4. Be positive about school and learning. Support teacher decisions and directives, and keep the lines of communication open.
5. Be available to your child. Stay emotionally alert.
6. Keep your appointments.
7. Be kind but firm.
8. Plan ahead.
9. Cultivate family spirit.
10. Make it clear that you do not expect perfection — that mistakes are a valuable part of life — but you do expect sincere effort.
Sr. Patricia McCormack, IHM, EdD is an international consultant and public speaker on issues of whole-person formation.
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