What do you do if there is a fight at an after-school class or program between your child and another? As a father and a grandfather, I have witnessed my share of disagreements. And as a mediator and a restorative justice counsellor, I ought to have some tools in my toolbox to manage such a situation. Here are my two parenting lessons from a long career of working out children’s conflicts.
Don’t let your child’s individuality get overlooked because you are keeping your child steadily overbooked. School, sports, after-school activities, birthday parties, and social commitments - all of these things compete for your child’s energy and attention on a daily basis. And now that kids are hopping on social media at increasingly younger ages, the pressure to participate can become fierce early on. All those images of friends playing sports, hanging out at a pool party, or posing together in a gleeful gaggle may cause your child to feel like their schedule doesn’t quite measure up to others.
Your child may feel ‘butterflies’ in their tummy if they have a big event coming up such as an important test or a piano recital. It is normal to feel nervous when kids are expected to perform or speak in front of a group of people, if they have an upcoming dentist or doctor appointment, or if they have pressure to do well on a test or at a sporting competition. Even though nerves are common, parents can help kids calm the butterflies and be successful.
Whether you live with a young, strategic chess player, a budding hockey player, or an aspiring actor, you’ve probably pondered the best way to encourage your child’s natural gifts and abilities. When is the right time for your child to begin lessons? How can parents encourage persistence, without pushing? And is it even possible to balance the interests and pursuits of all the kids in your care?
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