Voltaire was a French Enlightenment writer who aptly observed that “common sense is not so common”. Whether we can truly appreciate the irony of Voltaire’s observation or not, we can surely appreciate that, while parenting styles differ immensely, some things must come under the heading of “Common Sense”.
Here are some commonsensical approaches to parenting I’ve learned as a result of some, er ... unfortunate circumstances.
1. Don’t patronise your kids:
Don't assume; Do engage. Image sourced from morguefile.com
Nobody likes to be talked down to or spoken at, including children. It’s important kids feel valued and understood so that they may develop a keen sense of self-worth. One way to help your child cultivate self-worth is to genuinely engage with them in conversation. By openly talking with your child, you can better gauge what it is they are feeling and thinking and avoid making incorrect assumptions.
2. Remember, children are people too:
Be considerate; Children are people too. Image sourced from morguefile.com
That I’ve written this may be a tad telling, but sometimes we may forget the children in our lives are actually little people. Kids have their own thoughts, feelings, dreams and pet-hates and, like us, they appreciate having these respected. Treat children the way you’d like them to treat you and others around them.
3. Validate. Validate. Validate:
Validation for personal formation. Image sourced from morguefile.com
If and when your child shares with you their concerns, however trivial or insignificant they may seem, be sure to validate their feelings by showing them you understand. Otherwise, you run the risk of alienating them and/or making them feel as though their concerns don’t matter. Take these moments of disclosure and turn them into opportunities for building trust and mutual respect and bonding with your child.
What are some commonsensical approaches to parenting you wish were more common amongst parents and carers? Have you learned anything from your own "unfortunate circumstances" that you wish to bring to your relationships with your children?
And, please, stay tuned for Common Sense Parenting – Part II.