Today a father and his little son were walking along a quiet street approaching a corner. The little boy, about three years old, made a dash away from his father towards the corner of the street. We were driving towards the same corner. My husband had already anticipated the possibilities and slowed down, well below the speed limit.
I saw the father of the little boy suddenly react. He ran a few steps and grabbed his son by the arm, just at the edge of the path. He aggressively jerked his son’s little arm a number of times, loudly chastising him as we drove past. I thought about how many times I had near misses when my children were young and I could hear my heart beating loudly in my ears.
This child had done something wrong, but he is a child and still learning. The mistake he made could have meant he was seriously injured or even worse, had he actually dashed off the street and onto the road in front of our car.
I thought about who needs to be corrected here. Nobody trains us to be parents. After fourteen years in school we leave without any training or qualification in childcare. But when a parent walks along a quiet street with a three year old child, and pays more attention to their phone screen than to their child, then it’s not the child that needs to be corrected!
So, if you have a near one with your child, think about who needs to learn from the experience and if you’re ready to jump in and chastise your child, think about what message you are giving them…
Instead, I encourage you to calm yourself. Kneel down to their height, hug them to you, tell them you love them. Then look them in the eye and tell them about the fright you got, talk about the rules of the road and about the danger of dashing off the path onto the road and then sit back and think…
Thank your lucky stars that you are still a parent…
and that you still have time to enhance your parenting skills…
because no matter how much attention you give your phone screen…
Google, Ecosia or any other search will not take away the heartbreak or show you how to bring your little son back to life.
In my previous post…Bullying & Beyond…2.Really Listen!…I wrote about the importance of Listening. When somebody, be it a child or an adult, is distressed as a result of bullying, just having somebody who is willing to listen to them can make a huge difference to how they feel. Your first reaction may be to rush in and immediately solve everything but instead be patient and listen.
Here are some simple tips I found helpful,
1.Acknowledge your child’s emotional state -say that you can see how upset, angry etc., they are.
2.Remove or resist any distractions.
3.Make sure you can clearly hear what your child is saying.
4. Focus your attention and concentrate.
5. Be patient, listen to the whole story.
6. Make encouraging, agreeable sounds to show you are paying attention…’mmm,’ ‘I see,’ ‘oh right’.
7. Avoid making judgements – take time to consider before offering solutions.
8. Ask questions to clarify.
9. Keep an open mind.
10. Summarise or sum up what you heard, ‘so the main problem was’ or ‘if I understand properly you feel…’to let them know you understand exactly.
Remember to pay attention to their tone of voice and observe their body language, which can give you insights or hidden messages which they may not be able to voice.
If you agree on any particular course of action or efforts to address the issue, be sure and follow through. Listening needs to be followed up with evidence of action, even if it’s only arranging follow-up conversations. If you fail to follow-through, your child may get the impression that what they have confided just goes in one ear and out the other.
For any victim of bullying, building and maintaining trust is so important and this can’t happen unless you stick to your word.
I hope you find this helpful. Please feel free to share any experience you have had which would have benefitted from active and effective listening.
Alternatively please share some effective approaches you have used. I would love to learn what worked for you.
When I look back on the past year or two of blogging and consider this particular post, PRIVILEGE…
I feel even more privileged than I did back then. I feel privileged because I’ve come to know myself better by sharing my thoughts and feelings.
I’ve gained some new and life changing perspectives from insightful comments received from you wonderful bloggers.
I feel really privileged because an unexamined life is like a broken circle or a half circle, you think there’s a piece missing. I’m slowly realising that I am a full circle, I’m seeing that the pieces were there all along, just out of view! I’m enjoying this process, this unique journey and I’m no longer worried about who I will become because I am, I already am!
Do you feel privileged? What makes you feel privileged? Has your view of privilege changed in the past year or two?
Last month I travelled to Bonn for ICASSI 2018, (learn a little more about ICASSI here.)
I got this opportunity after applying for one of a limited number of places on an Erasmus programme offered by my employers. I had been hoping, like a real live blogger, to post some updates while in Bonn but my internet connection didn’t live up to my expectations. I’m home almost a month and I’ve been unable to concentrate long enough to pen my thoughts because I’ve been paying and still am paying the price in CFS/FIBRO currency for the huge amount of energy I expended during the wonderful yet demanding week at ICASSI but I wouldn’t have it any other way. However, thanks to insights from Adlerian Psychology, one of which is having the courage to be imperfect I can accept that a post just over a month later is not perfect but is instead perfectly imperfect. It is good enough, I am good enough and I hope you find it good enough and if not, well that’s ok with me too!
I travelled alone to Bonn, and I didn’t know anybody there except one of the faculty, Karen. I found it a little intimidating heading into the registration area on the evening I arrived. Everybody appeared to know each other, there was an exciting buzz that was upbeat and friendly, yet I felt like an outsider.
As soon as I had my name badge on and a cup of tea in my hand I mingled about. I knew I just had to call upon my courage and do my best to connect with others.
I soon discovered that so many people, from all over the world, have either been to Ireland or are curious about Ireland. I sat down beside a young Asian lady, who was on her own. It turned out that it was her first time at ICASSI also. She came looking for me at tea break a day or two later, asking to take a selfie together and thanking me for talking to her that first evening as she had been feeling lonely and apprehensive in her new surroundings. Reaching out to encourage others takes courage too but it’s definitely worth the effort.
If you were energetic and wanted to partake in an exercise programme, then your day began at 7am. If not you could start your day at 9am, like me, with a Plenary session which was a one and a half hour presentation with power point delivered in English and translated into German or vice versa.
Tea break was from 10.30 until 11am and morning classes started promptly at 11am until 1pm. Lunch was available on site if you wished.
I usually walked back to my hotel to grab a quick siesta following my lunch. This helped recharge my battery for the afternoon classes which started promptly at 2pm until 4pm.
When afternoon class ended there was then the option to attend short presentations from 4.45 to 6pm at which time dinner was served. There was a vast canteen area and plenty of outdoor seating which was so welcoming in the warmth of the evenings and provided ample opportunities to talk to lots of interesting and like-minded people. Coping with the heat was challenging as it ranged from 31 degrees on Monday to 40 degrees celcius on Wednesday. Thankfully a thunder storm and lots of rain on Thursday saw temperatures drop back around the early 30’s which dare I say felt managable! Bear in mind 25 degrees is considered a scorcher of a summer’s day in Ireland and quite rare!
There was ample opportunity for socialising every evening and on Monday, Wednesday and Friday an evening programme of entertainment started at 7pm and included a German Night, a talent show and a closing ceremony. There was a lovely bar where we gathered to relax over a drink or two and there was always someone happy to sing or play a guitar!
There were many different courses to choose from and I decided to participate in two short courses, instead of one long programme. I chose Cooperative Problem Solving and Encouragement in Stressful Situations. These courses were delivered using an Adlerian approach which is based on respect and social interest. Working in small groups was a great way to get to know some of the participants better.
I’ve come away from my first ICASSI with so many beautiful memories which include lots of conversations, laughter, fun, cultural insights from participants from 35 countries, renewed awareness of the importance of community, lots of new friends and promises of e-mails, a fantastic approach to cooperative problem solving and strategies from BASIC PH to encourage myself and others through stressful situations. Looking back now it really was A New Book…a beautiful one!
Thank you for reading and sharing in this experience with me!
I’d love to hear your comments or answer any questions you have.
Today I’m counting down the remaining days to my upcoming trip and it reminds me of when I was counting down the final few weeks of my first pregnancy, eagerly awaiting our daughter’s arrival. The feeling was a mixture of concern for the unknown and an all encompassing exhilaration! That feeling was denied to me on my second pregnancy as our son decided to arrive prematurely, 12 weeks early!
That feeling of concern for the unknown and an all encompassing exhilaration is back…as I prepare for my trip to ICASSI in Bonn!!
I realise I have been given an opportunity through this experience to put into practice some of Adler’s theories. Bettner and Lew’s Crucial “C’s” built on Adler’s theories, believing that in order for us to develop and flourish we need to overcome our mistaken goals of misbehavour; our mistaken opinion of our capability and our mistaken value placed on the opinion of others. By engaging with a new adventure I can discover more about this simple approach to achieving Life’s goals.
To be successful;
1. I need to believe I belong…I CONNECT.
2. I need to believe I can…I’M CAPABLE.
3. I need to believe I make a difference…I COUNT.
4. I need to believe I can handle it… I’VE COURAGE.
But the challenge for me lies in handling this new experience with empathy for my fibro/fatigue and recurrent heart arrhythmia. How do I participate rather than find excuses to avoid? How do I develop and flourish rather than stay static? How do I best balance self-care with personal and professional development? How do I build on my social interest rather than self-isolate? How do I get the balance right?
I hope I will discover how as I proceed through this new experience. Thanks for reading and it’s lovely having your company on this learning journey. How have you overcome challenges? How have you developed and flourished?