As parents, we want our kids to be happy and confident. Christchurch counsellor and strengths finder coach Jenny Purkis offers her top tips for emotional wellbeing and developing a strong family unit.
1. Have a daily "debrief" with your child at the end of each day to prevent him from going to bed with a distorted way of thinking about himself. Ask him, "Sweetie, what's a good thing that happened today? What's a 'yucky' thing that happened?"
2. Re-write your own "Family Rules" and get your children to help in an age-appropriate way. If they are involved in making the rules they are more likely to be invested in keeping them.
3. When everyone has had opportunity to contribute and reach agreement, have the Family Rules written out, illustrated and laminated. Display them proudly in a prominent place for all to see.
4. Understand that power is always on loan to us as parents and children can choose
to detach and withdraw from parents they don't trust to parent to them. Check out our article on How to help your child feel understood.
5. Clear up misunderstandings with your child no matter how much time has elapsed. Ask him, "Honey I notice that you're withdrawn and don't share with me in the way you used to. Is there anything I've done to upset you that you'd like me to say sorry for?"
6. Remember it's never too late to do the right thing. How many of us adults would have loved to have heard the words: "I'm sorry I was wrong; please forgive me" from their parents but never did; and as a result may struggle to admit fault ourselves due to our own role modelling?
7. If all else fails, get help from a counsellor who can support you to make the necessary changes. As Henry Ford once famously said, "if you always do what you've always done; you'll always get what you've always got, but is that what you want?"
Jenny Purkis can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org for face-to-face, skype or telephone counselling sessions.