The Supportive Role of Adults
"Encourage and support your kids because children are apt to live up to what you believe in them" - Lady Bird Johnson
I am sure we can all agree that we have our children's best interest at heart. Being a present, warm, responsive and supportive adult in the life of a child, is the single most important factor in building resilience in children, helping them thrive throughout life. How can you actively translate supporting the kiddos in your life through the ups, downs and curveballs that life brings their way?
Tips to actively support children:
- Encourage them to do their best at whatever they set out to do.
- Listen carefully, openly, and without judgement. Be a listener and stray from offering up "fixes" and advice for everything life brings their way.
- Support them through it all - their achievements and their mistakes.
- Set consistent expectations and be sure they are aware of the consequences.
- Create a trusting and safe relationship by accepting and validating their feelings.
A supportive and consistent presence is vital to the life of a child; shaping the foundation of their social, emotional, cognitive and language skills. Children's brains are 90% developed by age 5 (not fully developed until mid to late 20's😲), so it's important to begin supportive parenting/caretaking from day 1.
Here a some specific areas you can support your child's social, emotional, cognitive and language learning:
- Connect! play, play play. Play is the language of our children
- Be a role model.
- Pay attention to your child's interest. What are their preferences? Likes? Dislikes?
- How does your child learn best? Are they an auditory learner? Visual learner?
- Read! Encourage your child to read and read together. Head to the library and choose new and exciting books.
- Teach them about theirs and other's emotions. FeelLinks set is a wonderful tool to begin introducing feeling words from day 1. FeelLinks dolls are tested for ages 0+!
Trust and support are going to be the most important influential factors of the relationship you have with your tween/teen. It might feel like a difficult time of parenting/caretaking, as it can feel as though your child is pulling away. In fact, they are taking what they have learned and gained from the former years of support to become their own independent person.
Life can certainly become more challenging and difficult during the tween/teen years causing them (and you) to feel more worry and frustration. Continue to guide your child, showing them support, love, and care; helping them to feel safe. During these years, our children often make choices that we feel disappointed with, but continue to be supportive and guide them through.
Your aim is to keep your children safe and continue giving them the foundation they need to navigate life, so eventually they can navigate on their own. Here are some tips to continue creating that strong foundation through the tween/teen years:
- Let your child know they are loved and you support them, even through the toughest stuff.
- Basic needs must be met, including: a safe place to live, healthy nutrition, good sleep and schooling.
- Protection and support for their mental, emotional and physical health.
- Respect and validate their feelings.
- Continue to teach and model respect, compassion and empathy for others.
- Hold up your family values and expectations.
Thank you for being the supportive adult a child needs. YOU ARE VITAL TO THEIR HEALTH, SAFETY, AND GROWTH!
"Your kids require you most of all to love them for who they are, not spending your whole time trying to correct them." -Bill Ayers