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Demonstrations VS Declarations: How To Know If You Are An Effective Parent

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Danny Raede

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I was in Los Angeles last weekend, walking around DTLA and people watching and observed something I had seen thousands of times over the years: Parents telling their kids what to do. Not in the sense of "Throw away your trash" or "Come here", but things like "You need to trust me" and "Calm down".

It occurred to me that the most effective parents, the ones that have a deep relationship with their child, and the ones that ultimately raise physically & emotionally healthy children that go on to lead independent, successful & fulfilling lives, all have 1 trait in common.

They don't use declarations to shape their relationship with their child. They use demonstrations.

It's one thing to constantly declare that you can be trusted, you should be respected, or you are an authority. It's another thing entirely to demonstrate that you can be trusted, you are respectable and you are knowledgeable. The parents that we see in our work that are effective are the ones that take time to say all they need to say through their actions, not their words. 

It's often the little things that send these messages through demonstrations. When your child wants to share something with you, do you brush it off? Are you genuinely interested? How do you model dealing with your own stress, fear and insecurities? The way you show up in the world demonstrates to your child what is important, and, in turn, how they fit into the world.

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Jennifer Brunton

Basic Member

Posted

So true in any family.

 

But as a neurodiverse parent of a neurodiverse child, I do imagine this is even more so for us.

 

Thanks for the wisdom,

Full Spectrum Mama

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Jo Ann Moore

AE+

Posted

I value all your advice Danny. You are wise beyond your years- because, as you say, you’ve lived it.

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Carol Brookshire

AE+

Posted

"The way you show up in the world demonstrates to your child what is important, and, in turn, how they fit into the world" resonates so much with me. My son now 17 and I just went through having his dad have ALS and pass away this last May. he was the one who showed up, who was full of "get it done" attitude. Our son listened to him and respected him.

I on the other hand am wiped out from having fibromyalgia and also dealing with my husbands death. Our son is stuck...in his room and will not finish 2 quarters of high school (home school) or anything at all. I don't know how to help him with his depression and overwhelmed feelings. I try...but I am not physically showing up as you said. Mentally I try but that is hard too

.Just saying I see such a difference now with our son.

Thank you for bringing that to my attention.

Carol

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Dia

Basic Member

Posted

Thank You Danny for your insights.

I completely agree with this,time and again I have realized this.

When parents silently work through their problems the children can absorb so very naturally,rather than enacting or enforcing things with the other, that you don't yourself follow that will create a conflict within and then all seems like an effort .

For me it has always been more of the person teaching us rather than we to them,though the same can't be said in the extreme cases ,though even then learning and demonstration is the way to go.

Thanks again..

- Deepti

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BethH

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Posted

Danny, this is so true.  It reminds me of when I first saw Alfie Kohn speak about 15 years ago (like someone said above, you are wise beyond your years!).  Kohn talks about how there is a perception that kids these days are out of control and parents need to be tougher, but he thinks parents are too harsh!  I think parents are sort of randomly harsh without really setting clear, loving boundaries that make kids feel safe.  If the child trusts the parent through experience, knows they are loved unconditionally, and knows their parent will always do what's best for them, then the child feels secure in the relationship.  If they question the adult's decisions, that's okay!  That's not defiance, that's how they learn so they can make decisions for themselves in the future.  I think this problem stems from the generations who are parenting today being insecure about how to parent.  They may have been raised with spanking or permissiveness or somewhere in between.  They don't want to repeat that, but in our isolated culture, it is hard to know what to do and what is right.  Thank you for spreading good information that is clear and effective!

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Carrie BELL

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Posted

Wow. I have always thought I was doing my best and doing things in a great way, but reading this puts things into prospective. Do-over? I guess that is where grandchildren come in. We get to help guide our children where we learned that we messed up.

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