We know there is no ‘one’, magic formula for teaching, no ‘one-size-fits-all’ theory of learning. And we know it is the same for parenting. The act of teaching, learning and parenting intersects for me and I suspect it does for you too. The virtual Venn Diagram for parenting, teaching and learning would most definitely have the unique and individual child at the centre. Across my teaching career, I have picked up various tools, strategies and approaches, through reading, observation and by others sharing their practice with me. I have gathered resources to improve outcomes and while not as cognisant on the home-front, I am sure I have done the same these past 21 years, as parent to Liam.
The following has been featured in the newsletter previously; however, I think that the suggestions below provide a great reminder to be mindful when we parent so that we may give ourselves the best opportunity to truly nurture the ‘child at the centre’.
According to Erica Reischer, in “What Great Parents Do: 75 Simple Strategies for Raising Kids Who Thrive”, there is a range of effective strategies that have been synthesised from research and clinical experience to help parents reshape kids’ challenging behaviour; create strong family bonds; and guide children toward becoming happy, kind, and responsible adults. Reischer’s work explores what great parents do, which include:
• Great parents do what they say they are going to do
• Great parents see that actions speak louder than words
• Great parents are transparent about their decision-making process
One easy-to-implement tip is to replace the word ‘but’ - which can have negative connotations - with ‘and’, which sounds more agreeable. For instance, instead of saying, “That was a good job but you missed out an important part”, you could say, “You did a great job and you could consider this part too”.
Another technique is to pivot. This means to use words that get your point across in a more positive way. Pivoting is the art of saying yes instead of no - and meaning the same thing. For instance, “No, we can’t go to the park until after you have a nap” may get a better response if pivoted to “Yes, we can go to the park as soon as you’ve finished your nap”.
It is best to avoid labels. If your child is reluctant to join an activity, resist commenting to other adults that “She’s just shy”. Acting shyly is a behaviour and not always a permanent characteristic. Your child is listening and could come to think of herself in the manner you are describing.
Even a positive label should be avoided. By labelling your child clever, they may internalise this as “I am smart/creative/good at sports and I want to stay that way”, which might lead to a reluctance to try new things for fear of failure and no longer being defined by that label.
Great parents focus near and far. Focusing only on the moment and not the long term can create problems. If your daughter typically whines for something at the store and you usually buy it for her, she’ll learn that whining helps her get her way. A short-term solution has created a long-term issue. This is also true of yelling to get your point across. If we habitually yell to get our kids’ attention, we are teaching them to ignore us until we yell, and we are also teaching them that yelling is the way to get someone’s attention.
For parents with older children, there is one last principle: Great parents start where they are. Rather than fretting over past actions, keep in mind that you can only act on what you know, and most parents have been doing the best they can with what they know so far. Thankfully, most kids are both resilient and forgiving; they are more like hardy weeds than delicate flowers.
Acknowledgement: “What Great Parents Do: 75 Simple Strategies for Raising Kids Who Thrive,” Erica Reischer
Susan Lewis will be on leave for the last two weeks of Term 1 and the first week of Term 2.
Congratulations to our Sports Administration Assistant, Kate Veitch. Kate has a secondment to the QGSSSA and will take up her position of Executive Officer in Semester 2 of this year.
• Ruby Fraser, Sophie Idzikowski and Cailin Rienecker (Year 11) who were members of the Met West 19/U Tennis team that won the Queensland Secondary Schools State Championships. Ruby and Sophie have been selected for the Queensland 19/U Tennis team and will compete at the School Sport Australia National Championships in Adelaide in May.
• Lilyan Sullivan (Year 11) who performed admirably in the District Final of the Lions Youth of the Year.
• Lucy Auton (Year 9) who has qualified to represent Queensland at the upcoming Australian Gymnastics Championships in Melbourne, both as a Junior International Individual gymnast and Team Captain of the Junior Group.
• Cassidy Mataia (Year 10) who has been invited by Tennis Australia to go on a Fed Cup Foundation USA ITF Tour. Eight of Australia’s brightest up and coming teenagers will travel to the United States for three weeks and have the opportunity to train at the Chris Evert Tennis Academy in Florida, before competing in junior ITF tournaments and visiting US colleges.
Best wishes to:
• Year 12 students for Block Testing
• Year 7 Geography students for your excursion to Oxley Creek Common
• Senior School students playing QG Autumn sports for Round 3
• Girls attending the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Camp at Ambi over the weekend.