Your Free Gift from Imagery For Kids.com
- Excerpted and revised from
The Power of Your Childs Imagination:
How to Transform Stress and Anxiety into Joy and Success
by Charlotte Reznick PhD
(Perigee/Penguin USA August 2009)
What Kids Most Want and Need from Their Parents
Dr. Charlottes Top Ten List
Freedom connected to responsibility
Family and extended family
Patience: Things take time. Its a simple and frustrating fact of
life. You want your child to learn faster, change quicker, get unstuck
sooner, and move ahead in life. But kids learn and change as fast as they
are able, and no faster. If you can accept that, allow yours to be exactly
where she is, and help her move, slowly and steadily, toward her goals,
she might surprise you. Impatience, and its sidekicks Anger and
Frustration, actually slow change, eating up energy and time. Tools like
the Balloon Breath and a Special Place can help you keep your cool and
Understanding: Childhood is a profound and challenging time, yet we
quickly forget what its like to be a kid. With your understanding,
your child will feel supported enough try new behaviors. Without it, he
can feel cut off and alone. Let your imagination take you back to when
you were ten, or eight, or five. What were you like? What crazy things
did you hide from your parents? What were you proud of that they didnt
understand? How did they handle it? What would you have preferred? You
dont have to agree with your childs point of view. You can still
impose consequences on poor behavior. But if you can at least understand
how he feels and why he does what he does, you can become the true coach
on his life team.
Listening: Sometimes kids need to talk. A lot. They dont want a quick
fix or even a full solution. Often, unless they ask for help, they just
want to know that you hear them. Even when they do ask, its still
better to listen first and solve gently. After all, how can you understand
what your child is experiencing until you really hear what she thinks and
Soft Voices: No one likes to be yelled at, and children tell me they
hear their parents words more clearly when they use soft voices.
Otherwise, they hear the roar but miss the message. Tools like the Balloon
Breath and Listening to Your Heart and Belly can center you before you
speak, keeping you focused on the lesson you hope to impart.
Structure: Since much of life is unpredictable, clear boundaries, rules,
and routines are comforting; they provide a dependable framework for your
childs life and help him feel safe. Try to incorporate imagination time
into the structure of your day or week with the same stability as bedtime
rituals and family meals. Your child will come to look forward to and rely
Consistency: Consistent rules, expectations, and most important,
consistent behavior on your part build your childs sense of safety.
She needs to trust that black wont become white between today and
tomorrow. You are the anchor in her world; if you say one thing and do
another, shell lose her mooring. This doesnt mean you should be
rigid; there is something to be said for flexibility in responding to new
situations. But before a child can trust herself, she needs to feel secure
in the world around her; your consistency will foster that trust.
Love: It goes without saying that you love your child. But it
shouldnt. It actually needs to be said a lot, and also shown in tangible
ways. After all, love is more than a feeling; its an action. That
sweet, sometimes painful, swell in your heart is just the starting point.
How does your child know you love him? How does he experience it? Children
are always translating messages from the world around them, but sometimes
theyre mistaken. They may misread anger or impatience as lack of love.
Dont assume your child knows you love him. Keep this important gift
front and center in all your interactions.
Freedom Connected to Responsibility: Freedom is an important, but
complex quality. Your child needs a certain amount of itwhich grows as
she growsin order to develop independence. But it must be tempered by
responsibility so she can build social grace and self-esteem. Its a
parental two-step: you let her go out to play with her friends (freedom)
as long as shes home in time for dinner (responsibility). Learning
freedom within rules creates a more harmonious home and fosters an
independent child who is accountable for her actions.
Family and Extended Family: Try as you might, you cannot answer all
your childs needs for love and attention. Its the impossible myth of
the nuclear family. Community is a critical component of child rearing, a
vital source of support for parents and children. And the core of your
community is familyimmediate and extendedas well as good friends who
feel like family. Their love and assistance create a safety net for all of
you. Maybe you cant help with history projects, but Grandpa can. When
things between you are temporarily strained, perhaps your child can find a
sounding board in an aunt, uncle, or family friend. Theres nothing like
another perspective to calm everyone down. Make the time to connect with
your community. Everyone benefits when you do.
Role Models: Children learn from what you do, not what you say. You are
their first and most important role model. So be the person you would like
your kids to grow into. Show them you can laugh at yourself. Make
mistakes, apologize, and learn from them. Reveal and honor your feelings.
Being a good role model will teach them more than anything you ever tell
Put into practice, these ten elements result in healthier, happier
children and a thriving family.
Please let me know how you and your family are doing with the Top Ten.
Send in your experiences, perhaps sharing your own Top Tips.
Dr. Reznick can help; call (310) 889-7859 for more information.
Imagery For Kids | 11911 San Vicente Blvd. | Suite 240 -
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