Trust Intuition When Raising Children
by Dyan Eybergen, RN
Most parents know instinctively that their child is a unique blend of character traits, personality and temperament; that no two children are alike. Most parents respond to their child's distinctiveness through intuition during the first few years of their baby's life by interpreting their baby's cries and responding appropriately. But with regards to parenting their child past the toddler stage, many parents fail to continue to "listen to their gut" and go in search of quick-fix methods that promise solutions to parenting challenges. As a consequence, the parent's ability to tap into their intuition becomes compromised and the child's uniqueness is lost to the one-size-fits-all approach to parenting.
Contemporary parenting solutions are not all bad, it's just that they often do not take into consideration an individual child's needs, personality or family's dynamic. So often, the child is being raised in ways that go against the child's natural disposition. As a result, there is often parent-child conflict, stressed out moms and dads and anxious kids.
Here are some ways you can improve the quality of knowing and understanding your child which will help you return to parenting him/her from a place of intuition:
- Always keep the lines of communication open. Make an effort to know your child: his/her friends names; favorite colour, movie, bands, food; how your child feels about certain issues like smoking/drinking, recycling, pollution, bullying; etc.
- Keep a journal: record the things your child says and does; what he/she is most interested in and how he/she reacts to certain situations or responds to you. Look for patterns or changes in your child's behaviour: How does he/she process his/her emotions? Which parenting approaches work? Which approaches exacerbate a situation? Where does your child excel, what comes easy to him/her? Where does your child struggle? Write down anything that would be helpful in discovering the true nature of your child's personality so you can begin to utilize parenting strategies that compliment who he/she is.
- Write about the day your child was born and list everything you remember about him/her in the first few weeks of life. Do any of those words you use to describe your infant still ring true for them today? Was your baby quiet and remains quiet or shy as a nine-year-old? Or did he/she come out of the womb crying with fierce determination and is a feisty indomitable 12 year-old now?
- Create a time-line picture collage following the life of your child from infancy to present day. Label the pictures with captions that give meaning to the pictures and the child's experience in that situation. This will create a story of identity for your child and bring your emotional connection with him/her back to where you started when you relied heavily on your instincts to parent.
- Tell tales of character traits of family members and see who your child most identifies with in terms of personality. You know your brother "Sam"? Is he most like your eldest son? So how would you describe your brother? Does your daughter remind you of your mother? What is your mother like?
- Take a personality test of your own so you will gain a basic understanding for personality development. You may come to appreciate that the way you are made differs from your child's make-up and that these differences may be why there is conflict between you. This will go a long way in helping you to parent your child according to he/she is and not according to who you think he he/she should be because of who you are.
About the Author:
Dyan Eybergen, a child and adolescent psychiatric nurse and award winning author has more than ten years experience working as a therapist and parent educator. Eybergen currently resides in St. Albert, Alberta, with her husband and three sons. Out of the Mouths of Babes is her first book. For more information visit www.childperspectiveparenting.com.
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