Recent research has highlighted parenting trends have moved beyond ‘helicopter’ and ‘lawn mower’ parenting, to what experts are calling ‘marshmallow’ parenting, a style of parenting resulting in low resilience levels and poor understanding of reality in children, and later as adults.
Whether your child is challenged by interactions with peers, struggling with a particular teacher, trying to select electives or choosing a post-school path, your response and interaction with them provides a forum for growth or finding reactive solutions. As parents, we often try to support our children by solving their problems, which can actually hinder their potential failure or evaluation of potential responses. Missing this opportunity also negatively impacts innovative thinking skills.
As our children develop as toddlers we allow them to stumble and fall, and to learn and build strength. However, upon starting school, we feel the need to protect them from negative influences and experiences such as losing a game or activity. Having grown up in a world with winners and losers, I maintained the ‘tough love’ approach with my daughters. I genuinely believe American author Tom Rath when he states:
“You cannot be anything you want to be – but you can be a lot more of who you already are”
It is essential that children and adults identify their natural strengths and talents. Equally, it is important that they recognise their limitations and areas for development.
To best support your child through life’s journey, we should aim to coach and mentor them through:
- Considered questioning
- Actively and engaged listening
- Interactive debate or discussion.
Through these interactions we help them build social awareness, communication skills and analytical thoughts for the transitions they face. These building blocks of emotional intelligence can support:
- Positive self-worth
- Solid interpersonal skills
- Positive, meaningful relationships
- A personal commitment to reflection and learning.
Using life experiences for learning helps to develop insightful, resilient adults who are better positioned for personal success, while also demonstrating the ability to be innovative problem solvers who are open to others’ input and ideas—skills that continue to be increasingly important in the agile workforce.
For more information, events and interesting reading from Kathryn at Turning Point Consulting visit www.turningpointconsulting.com.au.
Kathryn Taylor is Director and Owner of Turning Point Consulting Pty Ltd. With more than 16 years of experience in human resources, talent management and career coaching, Kathryn has worked across a range of sectors and specialises in assisting education and corporate clients. Kathryn offers schools, businesses, educators, students, parents and aligned associations support in creating a platform for positive self-evaluation, to support proactive life planning and transition skills. She is an active and involved member of several advisory boards including Wellbeing Australia. www.turningpointconsulting.com.au