Awareness and Positive Parenting
The truth is that we are all likely a blend of Gottman’s four models from time to time and doing our best to regulate our own emotions as parents. Practising awareness and applying the emotion coaching process builds connection, our most human basic need.
- Recognising emotion as an opportunity for intimacy & teaching
- Listening empathically and validating the child’s feelings
- Helping the child label emotions verbally
- Setting limits while helping the child problem-solve
Wellbeing expert Frances Totney reminds us that it takes practice to pause in a heated moment and consciously engage awareness rather than simply react to our children’s behaviour. Our brains are constantly creating stories to understand what is going on; they haven’t had enough sleep, are hungry, frustrated, naughty, or attention-seeking. In her book Courageous Parents, she shares that this happens because our brains reward us chemically for making sense of something, regardless of if it is true or not. When we pause and check in with ourselves, we can create new and different ways to respond, and in turn, more opportunities to connect with our child.
“Be the adult you want your child to be: Who we are (not what we know) impacts our children greatly.”
Courageous Parents, Frances Totney
Lea Waters is a specialist in strength-based parenting. Her game-changing book shows us the extraordinary results of focusing on our children’s strengths rather than trying to correct their weaknesses. She says that neuroscience shows that most parents suffer from ‘negativity bias’ thanks to evolutionary development. We are hard-wired to see what is going wrong and need to retrain ourselves and our attentional patterns. By showing us how to flick the Strengths Switch, Lea demonstrates how we can help our children build optimism, resilience, and achievement and also help guard them against today’s mental health challenges.