School's coming- Educate Yourself

Just because we are adults does not mean that we know it all! Parenting techniques are always changing and can be different from child to child. So as our kids are going back to school... we should too! There is no shame in reading a good parenting book on a topic you need improvement on, or talking to your child's teacher for tips on how to handle a situation at home. I have parents ask me questions all the time about discipline, developmental norms, and about how to talk to their kids about tough topics. Here are some good topics to make sure you brush up on as your kids age:

  • What are the developmental norms for you child?- Developmental psychology was one of my favorite classes in undergraduate and graduate school. If you don't understand where your child should be or what milestone you should be helping them reach- you might unintentionally stunt their growth. The same is true in reverse. If you expect something from your child that is beyond what they can do, you will harm their self-esteem and pressure them making them feel like a failure. Knowing what is average can help you be realistic in your expectations of them.
  • How should I communicate with my child?- You should never stop talking to your child, but you should change how you talk to your child as they mature and grow up. Be careful how you communicate expectations. Be sure to do it in a non-attacking way. Many times a child will shut down if they feel they are criticized too much. If you want more info on this topic, here's an article I wrote giving tips to Parents: http://www.imaginehopecounseling.com/fullarticles.php?ID=52
  • How to help your child de-stress- It amazes me how stressed kids are these days. There is so much pressure to fit in, be the best, and win. What happened to play time?! As parents it is our job to support our children through hard times, but also to model ways to be happy and relaxed. Reminding yourself about ways to reduce stress will have a great ripple affect on the whole family.
  • Ways to set your child up for success in the future- We need to make sure we are teaching our children responsibility. Even at younger ages there are good ways to help your child learn natural consequences, cause and effect, and how to be responsible for themselves and their actions. If our goal as parents is to teach them to be an adult someday, we need to start letting them practice. This means you can't do everything for them. They need to learn responsibility. This can cause some parents to be uncomfortable, especially if your child is emotionally hurting. But they might hurt more emotionally in the long run if you save them from everything.

Imagine Hope wishes each of you and your children a safe and happy start to the school year! Remember to keep a steady "PACE"!

Written by Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW

Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.