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After attending my first Month of Inclusion session with
guest speaker George Papageorge on “How Kids are Wired: Understanding the Inner
Life of Our Kids,” I can’t help but think of the different approaches to
parenting discussed as they relate to my four year old twin boys. I chose to
attend this session to see if I could learn any new approaches in understanding
and connecting to my boys. As a parent of twins, I am very busy from the moment
they wake up; always hurried and struggling to ensure everyone in the family
has a connection and personal attention.

 

George Papageorge had five key points:

  1. Understanding our kids
  2. Understanding parenting styles
  3. How kids are wired
  4. How parents are wired
  5. Communication that connects.

Looking at the structure of the seminar, I had a sense of
relief that I was going to get useful tools to put in place to help my boys.
Papageorge started off introducing pictures of his own kids. He explained that
not only is he a marriage and family therapist, but he also has his own family
and was speaking as a parent as well.

 

I truly enjoyed listening to the topics and details of the
various parenting styles that are most used, and I found myself nodding my head
in agreement often.

 

The types of parenting styles George Papageorge described
were:

 

  1. The Hollering Parent
  2. The Hovering Parent
  3. The Hurried Parent

Papageorge explained that the hollering parent implements a
drill sergeant style of parenting. This can lead to kids becoming angry and
having a fear of trying. It was during this explanation that an “Ah-ha moment”
happened for me. I realized I have to change how I parent my kids. My son is
acting out in daycare and seems to be angry, yikes! Papageorge went on to
explain that the various parenting styles do not necessarily have to be bad.
The key is to find to find the balance between the parenting styles and to keep
the connection with your kids.

 

Next, George explained that kids are composed of two wires.
He labeled the two wires Blue and Red.

 

  1. The Red wire is emotion
  2. The Blue wire is behavior

   

Papageorge explained that kids act out their emotion through
their behavior, using both wires. This was yet another “Ah-ha moment” for me. I
realized that young kids have a hard time vocalizing their emotions at a young
age, which leads them to show their emotions through their behavior. It was at
this point that I began to get a clear sense of where I needed to go with my
boys. In focusing on the emotions behind their behaviors, I can become more
connected with them.

Papageorge also explained the way parents are wired.

 

  1. Red wire parents are more empathetic,
    emotionally tuned in, and have high emotional intelligence.
  2. Blue wire parents set boundaries and use more
    words & clear actions

He advised parents to use a combination of the elements in
each wire to better connect with their kids.

 

In further advising parents, Papageorge explained that if
parents need to bring up negative items for discussion with their children,
there should always be five positive items for the one negative item, sticking
to a 5:1 ratio. Papageorge explained that it is often a work in progress to
become more emotional and empathetic while setting boundaries for kids.
Ultimately, if parents are not able to do this, kids will notice and walk all
over their parents. For most working parents this will be yet another item to
balance.

 

In all, George Papageorge’s session helped me learn that I
do need to change my parenting ways. I need to be more connected with my kids,
as they will grow up way too quickly. In order to connect with my kids, I
learned that actively listening will cultivate communication, and ultimately
lead to a closer connection.

 

It is my hope that if parents take Papageorge’s advice and
actively listen and connect with their kids, children will feel seen, known and
loved by their parents.

 

I learned great things at George Papageorge’s “How Kids are
Wired” session and I look forward to attending more informational Month of
Inclusion sessions in the near future.

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