My two girls came home from school yesterday each clutching certificates in their hands. Child 1 has achieved her level 1 in sports leadership. This is through JSLA, Junior Sports Leadership achievement and is earned by over 14s visiting local primary schools introducing sports and physical activities with the children, giving them the opportunity to show and learn leadership skills, volunteering and developing interpersonal skills for later life. Child 3 had received a merit award at school for her version of Fantastic Mr Fox. She used funny adjectives, good verbs, adverbs and grammar.
Both of them were really proud, desperate to show off their achievements to me. In fact child 3 wanted to share the joy of receiving a merit certificate so made us one.
This form of rewarding accomplishment ties in with my idea of positive parenting, it focuses on what the children can do.
I am currently reading Fingerpainting in Psych Class by Jay Morgen which is all about "conscious parenting"
Conscious Parenting is not a set of rules for parents to follow, but a set of beliefs about what children need to develop and thrive.
She has provided me with some fascinating insights into the way we bring up our children. In one of the early chapters she talks of her experiences in dealing with "difficult"teenagers whilest working in a treatment centre. She was what they call working the floor, she was there to supervise and implement good behaviours. The school aimed to work at a 3 to 1 ratio, that is 3 positive comments to every negative one. Sounds easy, but these children were not like mine they were all out of control and Jay was so busy preventing the children from killing each other that she found it almost impossible to find behaviour that she could positively quote on. After working there for about three weeks she gave up on looking for 100% positive behaviour, instead looked for anything remotely positive and would jump on it. The children began too realise that she was watching them and instead of focussing on the bad she talked about what they were attempting to do well, slowly the children's behaviour improved. Transforming this into our parenting can only be good for our children, if they see themselves as worthy individuals they will become worthy individuals. This in turn links I n with my theory on labelling, our children become what we label them, so if we constantly tell them they are naughty. bad, rude, rubbish, stupid and so on that is what they become on the flip side if we tell them they are good, intelligent, funny, loved them this is what they will become.
The other morning my husband and I tried to only use postive language and I was surprised as to how often we slipped into speaking negatively to our children (- try it, it's not as easy as you would think.) Yet for the majority of the time our children are fantastic. We seem to focus on the small percentage of time that they misbehave instead of the abundance of good behaviour that is part of every day life. Putting this into a working adults perspective is this not like our boss / line manager at annual review time focussing on the one or two things we have fallen short on rather than the many things we have been successful at. Yes we need to be aware when things go wrong, we have to learn how to put them right but we should also celebrate all the situations that we did it right.