Parenting: The 3 C’s – Consistency, Care, Communication
When it comes to raising kids, the number one question on most parent’s minds is HOW? For most parents, you kind of just stumble into the job, and then as your child grows the stumble kinda turns into a way of living. Each week can lead to different habits, different responses, different behaviours that you need to discipline.
How do you choose what to focus on? How do you parent in a way that nurtures your children, to ensure the best possible start. To be set up to be all that they can be.
How do I develop my parenting skills?
There are so many questions that parents bring to counselling, why are they behaving like that? What did I do wrong? How do I make them do things differently? How do I stop the tantrum? How do I discipline in a way that is nurturing and not abusive? How can I meet all my other commitments but not miss that quality time with my children? What is effective Parenting? Am I being neglectful Parent?
The questions are tireless, and under each question is an anxiety of not measuring up, not doing it right. This can really affect your ability to maintain the 3 C’s of parenting. The three C’s re not necessarily a parenting technique or parenting skills set, it could be more effectively thought of the climate of the foundation from which you approach parenting.
From this platform, you can et about developing your own parenting style, parenting skill set or parenting strategies.
It might surprise you to know that there are many different parenting strategies around. You may have heard of some of the more marketable ones, “Positive Parenting”, “Attachment Focused”, “1,2,3 Choices” “emotion coaching”. You may have been to seminars, or tried to implement different strategies, but still wonder if you’re doing it right. Well this blog may or may not provide that answer.
Essentially, there are many “right” ways to parenting, and this blog does not propose to provide the “right” discipline strategy, or the right protocol, these choices are varied and essentially a lot of parenting comes down to personal choice and is governed by you belief structures, social supports and available resources. No, this blog goes beyond the HOW of parenting, to the core foundational principles of successful parenting.
The skeleton if you will. The methods of parenting and discipline provide the flesh and the HOW, but if you maintain some core elements of parenting then your child will learn some key lessons:
- My parents love me, and therefore there is good in the world.
- My life is predictable and consistent, therefore I have the means to navigate my life
- I have the tools to solve my own problems, and if I can’t I can ask for help.
Regardless of how you deal with behaviour or what your level of expectation is around their behaviour, if they understand these three concepts then they will have the means to grow up with a sense of security and confidence in themselves. This provides a platform for children to launch into careers, relationships, and life in general.
Why these three C’s?
Research has demonstrated that attachment and a sense of connection is so important. If a child grows up knowing they are loved and cared for then they will develop a secure attachment. This is only achieved when their primary care givers provide nurturing care.
This goes beyond the practical sense of doing the daily care that a child needs such as providing meals. The care that is needed is emotional care, supporting a child’s emotional development. This consists of acknowledging your child’s emotions and providing enough emotional warmth and love that they feel loved.
Children who grow up with consistency, are ones that can predict their life. They can learn what’s right from wrong quicker because they learn that each behaviour has a predictable response. If they get a different response for the same behaviour, this can be confusing.
Of course, there are going to be unforeseen events, and some flexibility is necessary. But even in unforeseen circumstances, if you as their “security” can act in a consistent and predictable way, then your child will know that they are safe and secure.
Another key feature of consistency is in the form of providing an educational platform. Children learn by observation and by repetition. So if they do the same routines, over time they will learn how to respond in these circumstances, which in time will lead to a child developing independence as they continue to follow these routines with less input from you.
As is important in every single relationship, communication is important for children. Even pre-linguistic children. Children need you to talk to them, communicate with them, even in the everyday activities and routines. They learn so much from you as you do this.
Children don’t necessarily need the “baby talk” that we all are guilty of participating in. They benefit from full sentences. Children who have their parents talking to them from an early age, develop their expressive and receptive language skills quicker than their peers who parents don’t talk as much.
It is also important for parents to communicate emotionally, explaining their own behaviours in terms of their emotions and reflecting their children’s emotions. These strategies help children to internalise their emotions, and also develop empathy and understanding for the people around them, which is so important for them to effectively relate and respond to people throughout their entire life.
If children are supported with the three C’s then they will develop strong skills and competencies that will last them their whole lifetime.