It would be ridiculous and naive of me to think that it was even possible for every single moment and interACTION you have with your child or student will be perfect - that is not what I am here to try to convince you to believe.
I AM here though, to help you see that each interACTION with your child does matter.
See, the thing is, you never really know what situations are going to have the most impact on your child. There are many situations that my parents do not remember happening, or say they have no clue how I remember that, out of all things but I remember vividly and now cry to my therapist about.
So, when we don't know what do we do?
Well, we work to become more mindful in all interACTIONS. Again, that does not mean that they will all be perfect but what it does mean is that you will lessen the chances of them having mental health struggles in the future.
How so? Glad you asked 🙃
Build or Break Trust
When I say build or break trust I mean the trust that they have with you, the ability or inability to trust self and their own decisions, as well as trusting others (think friendships, future romantic relationships, supervisors, co-workers, etc.). If every time that they tell you the truth about something that has happened you scream and yell or do not believe them or there is only a negative consequence for what happened and never a positive consequence for telling the truth they learn that they cannot trust you with the truth. And, because we learn about how to function in the world from our interACTIONS with our parents (and later others) they will not be able to trust others with the truth either. Nor, will they trust themselves because when they did what they thought was the right thing they were penalized for it. See where I'm going with this? It goes beyond that one moment.
2. Healthy or Unhealthy Relationships
We learn how relationships should be and function not only from the interACTIONS (or lack of) between our parents but also the interACTIONS our parents have with us. Often, we get into romantic relationships and struggle with things such as communication because we were not appropriately communicated with. For instance, in my household, my siblings and I did not get a lot of choices about what we did, we did not get to talk about what we thought about different situations, we were expected to go along with what the adults said because the adults said it. So now, guess what, we ALL struggle with decision making and communicating our feelings. This also can translate into other relationships such as friendships and working relationships. We struggle with trusting ourselves with making decisions because we were not allowed to do so.
3. Self-Conscious or Self-Esteem
I truly believe that we are all born with a very high level of self-esteem. However, as we grow and get older and hear the opinions of others it can increase or it can disseminate. You may see a toddler or young child with a lot of confidence, beaming personality but as adults make remarks about that personality or other traits you will begin to see that die. Now, I do believe that some people are shy but this is not a conversation about being introverted or extroverted, this is a conversation of being confident in the qualities, skills, and talents that an individual possesses. A child may be shy but be interested in playing an instrument - if they are encouraged in playing the instrument and that interest is invested in to become a skill, self-esteem will grow. On the same token if the child is made fun of or others always tell them how bad it sounds they will become more self-conscious and that interest is likely to dwindle.
There are so many more comparisons that I can make but for the sake of time I will pause here.
Whether you are a bio parent, bonus parent, caregiver, teacher, principal, etc. your interACTIONS with children matter and make a difference in their life beyond today.
I invite you to join my workshop, interACTIONS: Positive Parenting & Educating. This workshop will go into more depth about how your interACTIONS impact, why you should care, and how you can begin implementing more positive interACTIONS in every day life, whether in the home or classroom.
Register here today.
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