3. What our Child Believes (Continued)
c) Parenting Styles
- parents who shout teach children to be boss in the same way
- parents who give choices teach co-operation
d) The Child’s Place in the Family
- different behaviours can depend on order in the family
Some Generalisations about Family Order:
· An Only Child: may become centre of attention, find it difficult to get on with other children, yet can be creative and grown up
· An Oldest Child: has had to give up the main attention, often wants to be boss, become leaders
A Second Child: may work hard to keep up with older, may behave in opposite ways to older one
A Middle Child: often feels squeezed between others, but often learn ways to get on with all people, may not be so sure of themselves
A Youngest Child: often don’t have so much to do, become bossy or charming!
What’s important is how they see themselves. This can change.
Birth-order beliefs : What You Can Do
avoid calling the youngest “the baby”
ask the youngest to be a helper
don’t always talk about the oldest first
oldest and only children need to learn give and take - place them in pre-school
don’t give middle child too much pity or sympathy
plan time with each child individually
The best thing we can do here, in respect of parent’s behaviour is quote the words by Dorothy Law Neite written, I believe in 1972:
Children Learn What They Live
If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight.
If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy.
If a child learns to feel shame, he learns to feel guilty.
If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient.
If a child lives with encouragement he learns confidence
If a child lives with praise, he learns to appreciate.
If a child lives with fairness, he learns justice.
If a child lives with security, he learns to have faith.
If a child lives with approval, he learns to like himself.
If a child lives with acceptance and friendship, he learns to find love in the world.
What does this say? Children believe things about themselves in the light of the way we live.
There is some more by Mary Rita Schilke Korzan that talks of example and the beliefs that follow:
"When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you hang my first painting on the refrigerator, and I immediately wanted to paint another one.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you feed a stray cat, and I learned that it was good to be kind to animals.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you make my favourite cake for me and I learned that little things can be the special things in life.
When you thought I wasn't looking I heard you say a prayer, and I knew there is a God I could always talk to and I learned to trust in Him there.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you make a meal and take it to a friend who was sick, and I learned that we all have to help take care of each other.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you give of your time and money to help people who had nothing and I learned that those who have something should give to those who don't.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I felt you kiss me good night and I felt loved and safe.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you take care of our house and everyone in it and I learned we have to take care of what we are given.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw how you handled your responsibilities, even when you didn't feel good and I learned that I would have to be responsible when I grow up.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw tears come from your eyes and I learned that sometimes things hurt, but it's all right to cry.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw that you cared and I wanted to be everything that I could be.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I learned most of life's lessons that I need to know to be a good and productive person when I grow up.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I looked at you and wanted to say, 'Thanks' for all the things I saw when you thought I wasn't looking."
The sadness of so many modern parents:
How often do you see a Mum screaming at her out-of-control children.
When they are shouted at, they believe they are bad – and live accordingly.
The potential of words:
See the Mum who gives a hug and says, “I love you.”
As her child wonders, she says, “Go for it, you can do it.”
And they can, and feel good about themselves.
4. Children Need to Belong
All children need to feel they are important to someone else (Isn't that a yearning YOU have?) They need to feel they belong.
Consider Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs so often spoken about and shown as a pyramid:
The bottom, first basic need is physiological
- to have physical needs met
The second layer (need) is safety
- to have a sense of security
The third layer is belonging
- to feel loved, and cared for
The fourth layer is esteem
- to feel good about myself
The fifth, top layer is self-actualisation
- to have a sense of ultimate meaning to my life