There are three ways we can approach
our children. We can do things to them. We can do things for them and
we can do things with them. Can you already guess which is the one I
will advocate? You're right. We need to do more things with our
children in a cooperative and connecting way.  

When
we do things to our children, this implies punishment and consequences.
I do not like this approach because it generally does not help build
the self-esteem of your child. Punishment can be effective at stopping
the behavior that is bothering you but it generally only stops when you
are around or likely to learn about a potential breech. Also, every
time we, as parents, punish our children we are taking a hit in the
relationship department. Most parents punish their children in an
effort to get them to do things better, to be more responsible or to
just be a better person. After receiving a punishment, most children
rarely think about what they did wrong and what they can do to correct
it. The vast majority of children are thinking how mean their parent is.
This does not help you build the kind of relationship that has a strong
possibility of influencing your child's behavior.  

When
we do things for our children, we send them the message that they are
not capable of doing for themselves. They may develop an entitlement
attitude or simply stop trying because they know their parent(s) will
do it for them. Obviously, there is danger in this approach. We want
our children to be capable human beings. They cannot develop the
knowledge, skills and abilities they need if their parent(s) are always
doing things for them. I know I never learned to cook until I went to
college and needed to cook for myself. My mother always said it was
easier to do it herself than to try to teach me to cook. (I tended to
make a lot of mess in the kitchen.)  

When
we do things with our children, we teach them that we care about what
they are doing. We show them cooperative behaviors. We empower them to
come to their own solutions with our support. We help them develop
self-confidence in their own ability.  

If you want to learn more about connecting with your children, click here to see our Empowerment Parenting Home Study Course.

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