Bojangle Communications Ltd
“Sometimes as adults we don’t model the behaviour we want youngsters to follow. Parents have a huge responsibility. Government doesn’t bring up children, parents do.” Sir Alan Steer, the Government’s top behaviour advisor
Parents need to be aware of the influence they wield on their children. Whether it is the words they use, or the actions they take, parents are a role model for their children throughout their lives, from toddler to teen. This is true whether a parent is aware of it, likes it or even accepts it.
Sue Atkins, a parent coach and author of “Raising Happy Children for Dummies", suggests three ways in which parents can help set their children on the path of behaving responsibly:
1. Help your child set positive goals for the future – children who know where they are going are far more likely to succeed in life. Whilst it is fine setting goals with your child, it is discipline that is the key to bridging the gap between setting goals with kids and them being accomplished. Lots of kids find self-discipline difficult. It’s all about starting in small ways with little changes. Teenagers don’t need to change lots of things in their life as this just makes them feel overwhelmed. A few simple changes can work wonders by getting them to move in the more positive direction of success as there is a knock-on effect in other areas of their lives too. It’s the mentality of a journey of a thousand miles starting with the first step.
2. Help your child to look at the people they hang around with – these are the people who influence their lives, either positively or negatively, and who can nudge your child off course, just a little bit at a time, until they finally say to themselves: “Gosh, how did I end up here?”. It’s helpful to get teenagers to ask themselves three key questions:
i. Who am I around a lot?
ii. What are these associations doing to me or for me? – what have these people got me doing, listening to, reading, thinking and feeling?
iii. Is this OK?
They then need to decide for themselves whether the people around them are a positive and energising influence, or have a negative and downward-spiralling effect. Your child then has three choices:
i. To disassociate from these people
ii. Limit their association
iii. Expand their friendships and associations to more upbeat successful people – ‘friendships of purpose’ – as these can sky-rocket their self-esteem & happiness.
3. Look at what you do as a parent – teenage kids need support and help from their parents, as well as teachers and other adults of influence around them. They need positive role models to nurture, guide and nudge them in the right direction and to support them through a change of direction. It is helpful for the parent to role model goal-setting and self-discipline, even in simple ways, such as eating a piece of fruit every day, or walking the dogs for exercise each morning. It’s the simple, small things that lead to building great habits over time.
Sue Atkins says: “It’s about helping youngsters have a future to look forward to that they create and get excited about, whatever that may be for them. It’s about helping, influencing and inspiring one teenager at a time. It’s also about setting firm, fair and consistent boundaries so they feel the ‘tough love’ of being guided, protected and nurtured. It’s about being a positive and uplifting role model for them to follow. This is how we can slowly change, influence and enhance our society over time.”
Lindsey Collumbell, Bojangle Communications on T: 01372 274975 / M: 0771 7744719 / E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sue Atkins, Positive Parents Confident Kids on T: 01342 833355 / M: 07740 622769 / E: email@example.com
Notes to Editors:
1. Sue Atkins’ is a parenting coach and her company is Positive Parents Confident Kids (www.positive-parents.com), Sue is a former Deputy Head with 22 years teaching experience and is an NLP Master Practitioner and Trainer. Positive Parents works with parents to improve or hone their parenting skills, via one-to-one coaching, workshops and seminars. Sue’s favourite phrase is "because kids don't come with a handbook".
2. As well as being a parent coach, Sue is a parent of two teenagers and the author of numerous books, her latest being “Raising Happy Children for Dummies" one in the famous black and yellow series. Chapter 10 is about alternatives to smacking and has lots of ideas and practical discipline strategies from toddlers to teens.
3. For more about Sue’s work and to receive her free monthly newsletter of practical tips and helpful advice for bringing up happy, confident, well-balanced children go to her website: www.positive-parents.com.
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