From the Deputy Principal 3 May
I hope you have been able to spend time with family and recharge over the Easter break. My family and I were fortunate enough to spend some time camping at the beach and I have always found this is a great way to reconnect. As a school term progresses and my children feel the pressure of assessments and I seem to become increasingly time poor, my interactions with them are under threat of becoming just a list of instructions; clean your room, do your homework, do your jobs etc. Time away, preferably in an area where internet is non-existent and phone reception poor, gives us the space to get to know each other again and appreciate the qualities of each individual and the richness that family connections bring.
This has caused me to reflect on how important the relationship between parent and child is and the impact of positive interactions during their developmental years. Healthy developmental relationships happen when young people and adults actively listen to each other; treat each other with respect, honesty, kindness, and empathy; have a shared understanding of their roles and responsibilities within the relationship; respectfully challenge and hold each other accountable, and enjoy their time together. I came across the tips below some years ago and feel their relevance resonates just as much today as they did then.
- Be emotionally close: No two parents show love in quite the same way. Some shower their children with lots of hugs, high fives, and kind notes; others are more reserved. Tap into your own way of showing your children you care.
- Communicate openly and directly: When you speak to your children, are your messages grounded in love, respect and clarity? Do you ever say one thing and mean another, or show by your actions you don’t really mean what you say?
- Set clear rules. The key to reducing everyone's stress and frustration about rules and expectations is to be clear, consistent, reasonable and open to change. This means being responsive to your child's changing developmental needs and what they've shown you about their choices. Avoid arbitrary decisions that undermine your children’s confidence.
- Give children chances to share the work at home and to help out and serve others. Show your children that they are valued at home by giving them increasing levels of responsibility. Then take it a step further by helping them get engaged in service in the community. As always, your good example is the strongest motivator.
IN THE COMMUNITY
- Do teachers, coaches and youth leaders like, respect, and treat children fairly? Notice those who make special efforts with your children and thank them. These may include teachers, youth leaders, extended family members, neighbours, music instructors, tutors, bus drivers and many other people in your children's lives. All of them have an influence.
- Encourage the adults you know, respect and trust to spend more time with your children. Offer specific invitations for connections based on mutual interests. Go along too, both to be responsible for your children and to share their learning and experiences.
- Find opportunities for your children to mix with different age groups, especially the elderly. There is much mutual enjoyment in young and old spending time together.
Source: Principals' Digest, 2014
Mrs Jo Matherson