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  • Dr. Charlotte Reznick
    Excerpted and revised from… The Power of Your Child’s Imagination: How to Transform Stress and Anxiety into Joy and Success by Charlotte Reznick PhD
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 21, 2009
      Excerpted and revised from…
      The Power of Your Child’s 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. Charlotte’s Top Ten List
      • Patience
      • Understanding
      • Listening
      • Soft voices
      • Structure
      • Consistency
      • Love
      • Freedom connected to responsibility
      • Family and extended family
      • Role models
      Patience: Things take time. It’s 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
      gain perspective.

      Understanding: Childhood is a profound and challenging time, yet we
      quickly forget what it’s 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 didn’t
      understand? How did they handle it? What would you have preferred? You
      don’t have to agree with your child’s 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 don’t 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, it’s 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
      feels?

      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
      child’s 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
      on it.

      Consistency: Consistent rules, expectations, and most important,
      consistent behavior on your part build your child’s sense of safety.
      She needs to trust that black won’t become white between today and
      tomorrow. You are the anchor in her world; if you say one thing and do
      another, she’ll lose her mooring. This doesn’t 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
      shouldn’t. It actually needs to be said a lot, and also shown in tangible
      ways. After all, love is more than a feeling; it’s 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
      they’re mistaken. They may misread anger or impatience as lack of love.
      Don’t 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 it—which grows as
      she grows—in order to develop independence. But it must be tempered by
      responsibility so she can build social grace and self-esteem. It’s a
      parental two-step: you let her go out to play with her friends (freedom)
      as long as she’s 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 child’s needs for love and attention. It’s 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 family—immediate and extended—as well as good friends who
      feel like family. Their love and assistance create a safety net for all of
      you. Maybe you can’t 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. There’s 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
      them.

      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.
      Many blessings,
      Dr. Charlotte
      [mailto:DrReznick@...] DrReznick@...

      Dr. Reznick can help; call (310) 889-7859 for more information.
      Imagery For Kids | 11911 San Vicente Blvd. | Suite 240 -
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      All Content Copyright ©2009 Charlotte Reznick PhD, All rights
      reserved | Photo of Dr. Reznick by Dana Patrick | Design by
      [http://www.mckinleybrown.com] McKinleyBrown

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