The old saying ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me', a child’s chant, with very little truth to it. Yes we need to raise our children to be resilient and stand up against the occasional harsh word but this is done through installing in them a strong sense of self. Something that requires thought. Something that requires your thought, and some reflection on the messages you are both intentionally and unintentionally delivering to them on a daily basis. Something that requires thought around the words you use every day.
Emotional safety is such an important thing to understand when teaching and learning. In fact, safety is the second level of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and is a basic human need. It is something we are always monitoring at Back to Basics Tuition and we make changes when we see a student needs a little more 'care' than they usually do.
We can talk through any questions about how Back to Basics Tuition can help you or your child improve their learning
credit Image courtesy of foto76 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Click to Enlarge Chart
(Grimm’s chart about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, 2011)
credit Image courtesy of stockphotos / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Our Indi (6 days old) photography by Carly Webber Photography
In our home even though she is only in the first stages of acquiring language, we are very aware that our little one is observing everything, and this includes how we address her, and each other. It’s not uncommon to hear both her Father and I telling her how clever she is, how funny she is, how loved she is and how beautiful she is. Don’t get me wrong though, I’m a FIRM believer in raising our children to be strong and independent but this comes from a strong, secure foundation of unconditional love and acceptance. We also tell her when necessary that her behaviour is frustrating and “I don’t like it when you are yelling at me” (she’s 8 months old but it’s yelling at me all the same!). The thing here is when we come across negative behaviours we remove the behaviour from her. This means we tell her we don’t like what she is doing but we still love her. Never do I want to hear myself tell her ‘you naughty girl’. This will not be her life script.
I understand completely that her life script will be developed from the messages her Father and I send her and each other. We do not fight in our house. It’s not that we always agree with each other but her Father is my best friend, why would I want to yell at him? We discuss things; love, life and business, and we discuss them in front of her because she is just as much a part of this family as we are, and as she grows so will her contribution, thoughts, ideas, feelings, and her love. A daughter learns what to expect in her adult relationships by watching how her Mother allows herself to be treated by her partner/husband. What her Mother accepts, how she allows herself to be treated and how she treats herself will become her daughter’s life script. A son learns how to treat his future partner/wife by watching how his Father treats his mother. If there is something that I wish I was not passing onto my daughter then it is up to me to change it in myself first.
So how are your children developing their sense of self worth, their sense of how they fit into your family and the world around them? What words are you giving them to express themselves? How are they seeing you play out your life script?
Have you even thought about your life script? – What are the records (or tapes and CD’s if you’re not old enough to remember actual records!) that play over in your head? Not the music ones from our past but the things you subconsciously tell yourself about yourself. Have you stopped and listened? Are they the negative “I don’t deserve any better”, “It’s too hard”, “I can’t cope”. Because like it or not, these are the messages you are passing on to your children. It takes time and effort to turn them around but isn’t it worth it? Let me ask you again: What life script do you want your children to have? “I can”, “I deserve it”, “I am good enough as me”, “I am proud of myself”, “I know how to love”.
Of all the things we say to our daughter this one thing is the most important:
Some days we need to just suck it up and get on with the task, and some days we need a gentle heart and steady hand to guide us.
“I love you every day (even when you’re asleep)”
And yes, we tell her every day.
One last piece of advice if I may. This is something that I was reminded of recently from the lovely Julia over at Rudy & the Dodo (be sure to check out her stunning on line shop) and something that is so true for the students I work with; something that lifts them every time
So tell me, how has your life script affected you? Have you made the effort to change it in anyway? And of course, what do you say to your children?
When I watched Laurie Lawrence's video (link at bottom), a particular part resonated with me:
"Watch as Harper's body language indicates she really doesn't want to do this activity. Good teachers should recognise this and change the activity slightly to get the desired results."
This is the same for teaching and learning in any environment; whether at school or tuition, good teachers and tutors should recognise the body language of their students and provide support as required.