Parents: The Top 10 List For Creating Healthy Kids

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Parents: The Top 10 List For Creating Healthy Kids
10 tips to create kids with healthy attachment and secure bonding with their parents.

2) Give your child respect - From the moment a baby enters the world, he or she feels the world and people around them. They know what they need and it’s the parent’s job to at least try to interpret that (i.e.: food, a hug, sleep, a dry diaper, etc.). Undermining a child’s crying state and dismissing the only way that they can communicate their feelings (which for most young children is non-verbal) is basically telling your child, “You’re not important enough to me” which only exacerbates an insecure attachment with his or her caregiver, as well as to others later in life.

By nature, children are egocentric, and will take on blame and assume fault or cause for things which are not about them. They deserve to be acknowledged and spoken to about what is happening in a situation and why. Don't assume they aren't aware. Most times they are more aware then we, the adults are.

3) The power of repair – Being willing to apologize to your child and be accountable when you make a mistake is one of the greatest gifts you can give to them. Modeling to them your security with exposing your own human foibles will instill a powerful trust between the two of you. Plus, your child will learn that it’s acceptable to make mistakes and more than okay to not be perfect. That in itself is a priceless gift.

4) Understanding your own childhood narrative – Dr. Daniel Siegel wrote, “Even with love and the best of intentions, we may be filled with old defenses that make our children’s experiences intolerable to us.” If a parent has unresolved issues from his or her own childhood, it is imperative that they take the time to understand and become mindful about their emotional responses to their child.

If a young father grew up with his own mother screaming at him whenever he cried, leaving him (as a child) to feel abandoned and shamed, then that would explain why that same young father experiences immense panic and discomfort when observing his 2 year old having a raging tantrum. If that same young father takes the time to intimately understand his own past, he can then separate out his own childhood pain, allowing him to effectively meet his 2 year old’s emotional needs.

5) Educate yourself on reasonable developmental expectations as well as early gender differences - Educating yourself about the brain is like putting money in the bank when it comes to your parental success. Knowing that your 3 year old's ability to listen to reason/logic is developmentally impossible (not until he or she is around 7 or 8) will alleviate many a power struggle as well as alleviate any chance of your child falsely interpreting that he or she is “bad.”

In addition, knowing that boys are kinetic learners compared to girls (who are more verbal learners/communicators) will help a parent to feel much more forgiving to a 4 year old boy who can’t sit still at the dinner table for more than 2 minutes. Louise Bates Ames's series of books starting with "Your One Year Old" followed by a book for each birthday up to age 14 are quick reads and wonderful guides for parents to refer to when grappling with challenging age appropriate behaviors.

Article contributed by

Carin Goldstein MFT

Marriage and Family Therapist

Carin Goldstein, MFT is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Los Angeles as well as the witty writer of Be the Smart Wife where she writes about the trials and tribulations of how to naviagate through your marriage. Sign up for Be the Smart Wife bi-weekly posts and connect with Carin on facebook and twitter. If you live in the Los Angeles area and are interested in learning more about Carin's psychotherapy services, visit her website at caringoldstein.com.

Location: Sherman Oaks, CA
Credentials: LMFT, MFT
Specialties: Couples/Marital Issues, Empowering Women, Marriage

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