Some of the different people and organisations we work with to help support families.
What is covered in the Family Partnership Programme?
Helping children resolve issues with others
1. Approach conflict in a calm manner. Nothing adds to a situation more than a third person who yells, pulls children apart, or otherwise adds to the existing tension.
2. Stop hurtful behaviour by taking direct action and describing limits to children. Doing this in a firm, matter-of-fact tone without judging or blaming. Remember children’s different personalities will clash in the course of daily play, and their ability to deal constructively with these strong emotions will support them in resolving the matter and giving them confidence.
3. Encourage children to talk to one another about the problem. Remain calm and let your child know that you listen to all sides. This will take time and patience. However, it will eventually support your child to independently deal with difficult situations.
4. Encourage children to take responsibility for their actions, and help them understand that their actions have an impact on other people. Children often only see things from their own point of view. However, with adult support, children can learn to solve problems and trust that adults are available to help them. They will learn to be empathic and help other people
5. Offer statements that might move a stalemated argument along. Offer support for your child to solve the problem.
· Make it clear that while feelings are real, certain behaviours are harmful, dangerous, or inappropriate. Sharing that this action will have made the other pupil feel uncomfortable and sad.
· Involve your child in the solution to the problem. “Right now you feel upset and angry. Maybe we can think of some things to help you feel better.”
Steps for supporting children’s problem solving
1. Acknowledge the problem and your child’s feelings.
2. Encourage your child to describe the problem to you.
3. Ask your child for ideas on solutions to the problem.
4. Allow enough time for your child to solve the problem independently.
5. When your child is too frustrated or on the verge of abandoning his or her own ideas, offer your help
Focus the child on his/her own pleasure at achieving.
Children are naturally thirsty to achieve, learn and conquer. They are born with an insatiable zest for mastery, and each new attainment fills them with delight. It is this self-enjoyment which provides the greatest fuel for perseverance and further learning. When you see your child do something new, it can be wonderfully encouraging and supportive to say: “you look like you enjoyed that!”, or: how did it feel to do that?” “I’m glad you did that, you look happy with yourself!”.
him/her to self-evaluate.
Whenever possible, it is a good idea to ask your child about their own self-evaluation. For instance: “how do you like your drawing?”, “are you happy with how that piece fits into the puzzle?”
about their inner experiences.
Say, for instance, your child reads you a story he just composed. After sharing how the story made you feel, you could ask: “How do you feel about the story you wrote?”, “How did it feel to write it?”, “Did you enjoy telling it?”, “How did you come up with those ideas for your story?”. There are few things so nourishing to your child’s self-esteem, and so enriching to your relationship with him/her, than your interest in his/her inner world of feeling and imagination.
“I” statements, instead of labelling the child.
Your appreciation touches your child more deeply when it is expressed in terms of your feelings. For instance: “I like the colours you chose!”, or “I love how you sang that song!” – Instead of: “what a good drawer you are!”, or “gee you’re a good singer”. Avoid labelling statements like: “Good boy for sharing your toys!” Say instead: “thanks for sharing with your friend that felt good to him – and to me”. Focus on your feelings, not on a moral or quality-oriented label. An “I” statement keeps you from holding a position of power over your child. It creates an honest and fulfilling connection between you while not interfering with their experience of themselves.
the behaviour, not on the person.
Feedback and acknowledgment are definitely important. Imagine your child has just played you a new piece she has learned on the piano. Instead of saying: “What a good player you are!”, you could tell her how much you enjoyed the piece. Better still, be specific. Tell her what in particular you liked about her playing (e.g. the passion or emotion, the beautiful melody, how carefully she played, her sense of rhythm, etc.)
Encouraging Responsibility through Language
One of the more subtle ways to promote responsibility in your children is through the language you use. By communicating your expectations that your children will act responsibly, you can create an environment that encourages them to be accountable for their behaviours.
Be alert to “trigger words”
To avoid taking responsibility, children sometimes use phrases such as “It wasn’t my fault,” “He made me do it,” ‘I forgot,” or “It was an accident.” When you do not accept these comments as an explanation for behaviour, your children learn to take responsibility for their actions. For example:
“I forgot to feed the dog.”
Instead of saying “Okay, don’t let it happen again,” say “The dog is hungry. You need to feed him now.”
Choose your battles.
Before you get involved in anything your child is doing – especially to say ‘no’ or ‘stop’ – ask yourself if it really matters. By keeping instructions, requests and negative feedback to a minimum, you create less opportunity for conflict and bad feelings. Rules are important, but use them only when it’s really important.
‘I hear you.’
Active listening is another tool for helping young children cope with their emotions. They tend to get frustrated a lot, especially if they can’t express themselves well enough verbally. When you repeat back to them what you think they might be feeling, it helps to relieve some of their tension. It also makes them feel respected and comforted. It can diffuse many potential temper tantrums.
Stick to agreements. When you follow through on your promises, good or bad, your child learns to trust and respect you. So when you promise to go for a walk after she picks up her toys, make sure you have your walking shoes handy. When you say you will leave the library if she doesn’t stop running around, be prepared to leave straight away. No need to make a fuss about it – the more matter of fact, the better. This helps your child feel more secure, because it creates a consistent and predictable environment.
Your glasses look like so much fun to play with – it’s hard for children to remember not to touch. Reduce the chance for innocent but costly exploration by keeping that stuff out of sight.
Children do as you do.
Your child watches you to get clues on how to behave in the world. You’re her role model, so use your own behaviour to guide her. What you do is often much more important than what you say.
Show your child how you feel.
Tell him honestly how his behaviour affects you. This will help him see his her own feelings in yours, like a mirror. This is called empathy.
· Establish positive relationships with children.
· Provide clear and reasonable limits so that children know what is expected of them and follow through to help them abide by the limits.
· Model appropriate behaviours.
· Provide positive feedback and focus on children’s strengths and achievements and build on their abilities
· Be understanding and supportive – acknowledge children’s emotions
· Help children develop a sense of social responsibility, so that they become aware of the impact of their actions on others.