Tuesday, January 1, 2013

5 Things Parents can do to Help Children Enjoy Life

There is clear evidence that how parents interact with their children has a lasting effect on the kind of person the child grows into, how happy they will become and how much they will enjoy life.

Whilst at Chicago University, Kevin Rathunde conducted a number of family behaviour studies and observed that teenagers who had a certain type of relation ship with their parents were significantly happier, more satisfied and stronger in most life situations than their peers who did not have this relationship.

The optimal family relationship can be described as having 5 characteristics;

  1. Clarity - Clarity of family goals should be unambiguous.
  2. Centering - Providing Feedback on the moment or time they are in. Not pre-occupied with future careers or potential outcomes. 
  3. Choice - Provide a Feeling of Control over choices but this also includes Consequences.
  4. Commitment - Concentration on the task in hand. Becoming unselfconsciously involved.
  5. Challenge - Provide increasingly complex opportunities for action or development
The presence of these 5 conditions make possible what is described as the "Autotelic Family Context," because they provide an ideal training for the enjoyment of life.

It is essential that parents provide realistic encouragement, support and motivation to their children in all their activities, leaving room for them to succeed or fail on their own terms and to experience the consequences.

It is equally essential that parents refrain from sugar-coating and soft-padding the reality of life's ups and downs. 

Consequences are a part of life's rich tapestry and the sooner children understand that they are responsible for their own actions the better for them.

The parent is there to provide reassurance that their children are loved and belong as part of a 'family' who support and encourage each other. It is part of the responsibility and consequence of being a parent.

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