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R-r-r-real keys of relating well with kids


Are you interrupting them whilst they are engaged in other things or are you finding the moments they are available?

(eg a teen’s closed door usually means wait ‘til they come back into the family space)


Are you starting where they are – getting interested in them, what they care about, how they feel…before moving towards your needs and concerns…. Going ‘alongside’ like boarding a vessel at dock is easier than going in with direct challenge pirate style!

(eg before it is time to pack away toys, it might be nicer to check in show interest in their play)


Are you aware of your child’s interests, skills, personality, speed and best/worst times of the day….because allowing for all that they are helps them accept themselves better. Acknowledging when resources are low, and being willing to add patience and learning encourages willingness.

(Eg For your senior school child Saturday morning might not be the best time to talk school stuff.

Your toddler might not be able to ‘wait’ without a word from you indicating when you will offer availability)


Are you conscious of how hard something might be and what the fears around that could potentially be? Whether ‘it’ is conversation, task or behaviour, any kind of hesitancy can indicate a lack of courage and working WITH that nervousness might be more useful than asking them to ‘try hard’ and over-ride it.

(eg before talking to teens ask 'on a scale of one to ten, with ten being a lot, how much are you prepared to engage in this conversation')


Are you keeping expectations real? Aiming for too-high standards can cause frustration for them and you. Allowing ‘levels’ of attainment can be helpful

(Eg If your primary school age child is inclined to easily argue with siblings noticing that a verbal exchange is less damaging than a physical one, and acknowledging the effort taken to use words, can be as useful as asking them to calm down)


Are you sharing responsibility or are you caring more than your child? This is part of loving but knowing when to ‘care – less’ is very important. Your caring can make them feel they have less choice, less power, less ability…being willing to share the care, even if they cant quite make the grade you wish for, really helps to encourage their ‘care’ to grow.

(Eg If you help your school age child tidy up so that everything is in the right containers, they don't have to care as much because they don't experience the difficulty of finding things in the wrong places.)


Are you recognising the input your child makes, even when the attainment is not fully there? Are you able to appreciate effort, stamina, caring, courage,etc. Awarding acknowledgement to these inner qualities, as well as to outer results that are less-than-perfect really enhance the development of self-encouragement.

(Eg If you notice for your 8-10 year old that they are still in the seat with the intention of completing homework even as they are dreaming, the move into ‘back on track’ is done with awareness and not with admonishment).


Are you finding out about the standards appropriate to their age and stage, the problems that others experience in this area and how people help themselves? Are you aware of developmental levels, or the expectations within the classroom, the pressures within the peer group, in order to positively compare your child with the ‘norms’ around them?

(Eg If the class teacher is not interested in presentation for a particular task, because content is more important to her, perhaps you too need to ease off your personal preference for ‘neat work’ and allow that this is how things are done at the grade your child is in).


Is what you can do next if anything above triggered thoughts…. I hope it helps

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