Tag Archives: parent-child relationship

3 Illustrating (Speaking) Skills

3 Illustrating (Speaking) Skills

“Illustrating” means “communicating” in the sense of speaking. It is done both verbally and non-verbally. Illustrating is the living space of Harmony House (my analogy for any relationship), because this is where you, the parent, live out your values and communicate to your child what’s important to you and what you want from him/her. The parent’s commitment should be: I will not invite what I don’t want. Instead, I will teach what I want by modeling it and by communicating verbally in a respectful manner.

The Three Illustrating Skills/Techniques

The following three techniques for communicating your ideas and values, your expectations and desires, become skills with practice.

1. Model desired behavior. If you are doing something disrespectful, illegal, or immoral, stop it. In other words, do what you want to see your children doing. Be the change you want to see.

2. Use honest, open communication. Children need to be able to trust their parents above everyone else. Parents must earn that trust by always being completely honest with them, and being as open with them as possible. There is no place for lying to children, not even using “little white lies.”

3. Use I-messages.”I-messages” are things I say about myself. “You-messages” are things I say about you, and they can often be disrespectful or insulting. When parents start a sentence with “I,” they communicate what they want or don’t want in a respectful manner. “I don’t like the way you are acting. I’m willing to listen to when you settle down.” The I-message that stops arguing is “I don’t do it.” “I will not argue with you.”
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The ideas presented here are discussed in more detail in my book 3 Steps to Parent-Child Harmony. In it I describe in detail the differences between the Old School Parenting model (power, control, and punishments) and the New School Parenting model (dialogue, agreements, and accountability). These ideas represent a shift from parenting harder to parenting smarter. They can transform a stressed parent-child relationship from conflict and arguments to one of cooperation and harmony. Please see these links if you are interested in more information about the book, which is available in downloadable pdf format or in printed soft-cover format.
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Accountability: the “You-and-Me” Dialogue (Discipline Skill #2)

Accountability:
The “You-and-Me” Dialogue (Discipline Skill #2)

I refer to the “Accountability Dialogue” also as the “You-and-Me Dialogue” because this is where I (parent) talk to you (child) about how we are treating each other — especially after you break an agreement you have made with me.

Unacceptable child behaviors (UCBs), such as temper tantrums, arguments, angry and disrespectful insults, lying, stealing, physical or violent attacks on others, etc., can be distressing events for parents. How to handle them can often be a confusing disciplinary challenge.

In my New School approach to how to be a parent, I advocate reaching an agreement with the child (even as young as two years old) about how they will handle the particular UCB in the future. The best the parent can expect to get at that point is an agreement from the child that she will do something different next time. It is understood that the child will break her agreement (at least sometimes). This approach rejects punishments for the misbehavior because punishments are meaningless, ineffective, and counterproductive–they invite the child’s anger and “payback.”

After a Broken Agreement
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Nine Key Parenting Skills: An Overview

Nine Key Parenting Skills:
An Overview

Note: These ideas apply to adult-adult relationships as well as to parent-child relationships.

Harmony in a relationship or a home means that love, caring, and cooperation are felt and practiced between the family members. There are nine core relationship skills that parents need to develop and use with their children if they wish to avoid stressed relationships and promote harmony. I will briefly lay them out here with the understanding that each of them requires considerably more thought and sufficient effort for them to come alive in interaction between people.

Using the analogy of building a house, I divide the nine core skills into three different sets: listening, illustrating, and disciplining. Each set constitutes one step toward parent-child harmony, and represents a different section of the house.

Three Listening Skills

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