It’s that time of year when kids start school and parents want to feel a part of the action. I remember how much I wanted to know how my daughter’s day went. I inquired about what she learned, did she make new friends, and does she have homework.
Whether your kids want you to be a part of their school life depends on their personality and age. The younger the child, the more likely they are to share information with you if you:
- Don’t criticize, interrogate, or tell them what they should have done differently.
- Listen with interest, an open mind and heart, and with belief in their capabilities.
Remember that school is your child’s life separate from you. This is their opportunity to express who they are without your watchful eye and controlling comments. As your children mature, they naturally individualize from you which means that they want school to be their domain, under their control, not yours.
This separation can cause anguish for parents whether you tend to control your kids or not. It can feel exciting to be a part of their world. I remember fondly the yearly Family Night gatherings at my daughter’s Montessori elementary school. I felt part of a community that vanished when she entered middle school. It’s normal to mourn the loss of the closeness that comes from your child sharing with you.
However, as your children mature and separate from you to focus on their own life, you can stay an important and influential part of their life in the Supporter Parenting Role. You use this role when your child has a problem that is theirs to solve.
The first step is to not block communication by saying things that are intended to be helpful, but actually turn out to be hurtful. Interrogating is a very common communication block that causes children to shut down and not talk to parents. The reason is that there is an underlying message when you ask questions in an interrogating manner that infers your child has done something wrong.
Even a simple question such as,
“What did you do today”,
“How did it go at school”, or
“Did you make any friends today”,
can feel invasion and cause the child to clam up or give one-word answers.
To learn more about how to be an effective Supporter that will keep communication open with your kids rather than interrogating them, read the following articles or purchase my book, Ally Parenting: A Non-Adversarial Approach to Transform Conflict Into Cooperation.
©2017 Cynthia Klein, Bridges 2 Understanding, has been a Family Success Coach since 1994. She works with parents and organizations who want more cooperation, mutual respect and understanding between adults and children. Cynthia presents her expertise through speaking, private parenting coaching sessions, and her book, Ally Parenting: A Non-Adversarial Approach to Transform Conflict Into Cooperation. She works with parents of 5 – 25 year-old children.
To learn how Cynthia can help you solve your specific challenges, contact Cynthia at bridges2understa.wpstagecoach.com, [email protected], or 650. 679.8138 to have a complementary 45-minute discovery session. Why keep suffering? It’s time to change!