‘I don’t know how to get my child to listen.’ ‘I don’t know how to keep my child out of trouble.’ ‘How do I get my child to love me?’ These are a few of the cries that some parents often make in regard to some of their children.
If you are one of these parents, then this piece has been written for you. If you are the parent of a young child who has many years of development before him or her, then this piece is also written for you. Follow this recipe and your children will love you for it.
All children need to have their basic needs met air, water, and food along with clothing and shelter. If these basic life preserving conditions are consistently met, then you are halfway there. Children also need empathy, acceptance, and understanding; in other words, LOVE. How can you as a parent efficiently provide this to your children?
Eat with your children. Sharing meals with one another offers an opportunity to engage while meeting a basic need; it also provides a structure in which parent and child can spend TIME together talking about recent events and an opportunity to process thoughts, feelings, and reactions to those events.
Play with your children. Dr. Landreth, a well-known play therapist, states that Play is the language that children use to communicate and Toys are their words. Playing with your children offers you an opportunity to witness firsthand how your children experience the world, what they are thinking, how they are feeling, and how they in turn respond to their experiences. It offers parents an instant opportunity to address concerns in the moment and to be proactive in their children’s lives.
Read to your children. Reading to your children offers moments of tranquility. While reading, your children are offered an opportunity to practice listening skills, being still, paying attention, and focusing. Additionally, it exposes children to new words expanding their vocabulary. Children who have an extensive vocabulary are able to verbally express themselves more effectively and are less likely to resort to maladaptive behaviors such as cursing, screaming, fighting, or hitting. When children resort to such maladaptive behaviors it is often linked to an inability to verbally express their thoughts and feelings using words.
By eating together, playing together, and reading together parents are helping their children to develop skills that are related to effective communication. In turn, open communication builds strong relationships. When this is in place; “Somos Felices.”
Dr. Roy A. Salgado, Jr.