As an active and involved parent I was excited to see for the Month of Inclusion an event given by George Papageorge titled “How Kids are Wired: understanding the inner life of our kids”.
When I sat down one of my co-workers said to me, your kids are in college, why are you here. I told her that even with my kids in college, I still run into issues and need to better understand how to help them as they navigate the waters of life. We are not birds that teach our children to fly out of the nest and then they are gone. As humans we need to create a connection to our children. It is what makes us strong. It helps sets our children on the right course in life.
The session today that I attended reminded me and made me think about ways I can be a better parent. Just like “location, location, location” is what makes a piece of property retain its value and worth. For children it is about “connection, connection, connection”. George told us that if we only left with one thing from his talk today, it was to understand that.
Connection is the hook that we can hang our parental success hat on. It gives our kids a sense of emotional understanding so that we can see them not as human doers but as human beings. He told us that there are 2 types of parents – those who give guidance about the world of emotion. And those that do not. The world of emotion is a place where you listen to your child, give them consistent boundaries, the confidence to succeed and to fail, you are emotionally tuned to them and you provide a world where your children know that you are always there to listen. This is the foundation for a happy, healthy child.
George said that there are 3 parenting styles:
- The hollering parent – this is someone that yells a lot and demands compliance with the rules. As a result a child raised in this environment will develop anger issues. They keep their thoughts quiet and then explode in anger.
- The hovering parent – this is the one that gets overly involved and protective over their children. The child in this environment will not know how to cope. In fact the freshman dropout rate from college is the highest ever. Parents worked hard to get their kids into top universities, but then the child have to drop out after 1 year. They cannot do it alone.
- The hurried parent – this is the parent that dismisses their child’s emotions as they are too busy. It is very prevalent today where parents sign their children up for multiple activities to keep them at the top of their class. The child in the environment will have a hard time being in the present. They will be running from event to event never really having the time to look within themselves to decide what it is that truly interests them.
George said a simple thing to practice with children and in relationships is the 5:1 rule. For every 5 positive things that you say to your child then you can say 1 negative. Your child needs your understanding. We have to look at them eye to eye to see them, know them and love them for who they are. George told us that the best 4 letter words you need to know about a child’s happiness is “time” and “play”. Take the time to be present and available for your child and also take the time to do fun things together.
I am thankful to SAP for inviting George Papageorge to our campus where we could learn and understand how to be better parents. It is important for our children’s emotional success in life that we listen, understand and “connect, connect, connect”. Connection gives value to our relationships with our children as well as to our relationships to our work colleagues, SAP and our community.
Enjoy Life and Live the Message.