A Thoughtful Question From A Dad

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Tonight, was the last class for my Parenting Toddlers and Preschoolers Calmly and Confidently series.

Our class was a diverse group of committed parents who showed up faithfully for 8 weeks to learn about their children’s development, find new more effective tools around discipline and parenting, and get answers to their parenting challenges.

The evening class has a number of couples who attend the class together and it’s always encouraging to see how many dads are taking an active role in learning and parenting.  For our group it enriches our conversations to have great input and questions from a dad’s perspective.

As we were wrapping up the class and I was answering final questions from parents, one of the dads’ asked a really interesting and thoughtful question.

“From everything we have learned what would you say are the three most important skills our kids cannot live without – where should we focus our parenting?”

While there are many skills you want to be mindful to build and develop in your kids if you were to limit your focus to just three skills, my response to him was, “social skills, emotional regulation, and resilience.” Hands down, these are the most essential skills necessary for your kid’s success and happiness in all aspects of life.

As with most things in life, your kids will have their strengths and challenges in each of these skill areas.  As parents it’s helpful to consider where your child’s abilities are when it comes to these skills and plan your parenting accordingly, making sure you are modeling and teaching the skills you want them to learn.

Social skills determine your children’s ability to promote and maintain mutual, positive connections with other children. It’s their ability to make friends and get along with others. There are many skills that fall into this category including:

  • Understanding and empathizing with others - how sensitive your child is to the feelings of others.  Are they highly responsive to others or emotionally distant? How do they express empathy and caring to others?
  • Working and playing cooperatively with others.
  • Communicating and expressing themselves effectively
  • Resolving conflicts constructively.

Emotional Regulation is your child’s ability to cope with their emotions. Children need to be able to express their emotions and manage their behaviors in healthy ways. For most toddlers and many preschoolers this skill is easier said than done. Emotional regulation begins with your kids being able to identify their feelings. How good is your child at identifying their feelings? Your children need to be able to name their emotions if they are then going to be able to express them appropriately, especially when their feelings (positive or negative) are running particularly strong.

Resilience is your child’s ability to deal with challenges and obstacles and continue to thrive. Does your child put themselves in challenging situations or do they try to avoid them? Parents need to help children recognize their abilities and inner strengths and resources so your kids grow up knowing they can handle situations effectively when they arise.

Being aware of these necessary skills is the first step toward changing and becoming more effective in your parenting. It’s always the goal for children to grow up to be more resilient, more capable, and happier kids who reach their full potential.

If you find yourself struggling to parent differently, or need support implementing new positive parenting strategies, you are not alone.

Changing patterns of behavior is hard and it can be confusing to try new things.

If you can relate to any of this information and want to learn more about how I can help you parent in a way that promotes and develops these skills in your child, or if you want to schedule a free phone conversation to see if my work is right for your family, please email me at hayley@heartofconnecting.com