If you want to help children overcome challenges, then personal connections are the key. In fact, strong relationships can curb almost any problem. Letting people know you care is the most important thing you can communicate.
Here are two questions to ask yourself—especially when working with young people:
1) Does the person feel safe with me no matter what happens?
2) Have I used kind and encouraging words in my relationship with the person?
Unfortunately, when it comes to discipline and helping youth overcome challenges, many adults use counter-productive approaches. In an attempt to discipline or “mold the youth,” they enforce rules. But if a child breaks a rule, what is the parent’s natural tendency? Response: to enforce the rule and dish out consequences.
Does this make the person feel safe? Probably not. Does is come across as kind and encouraging? Not at all. This is why rules so often get broken, over and over again.
Here’s a better approach:
Rather than enforce rules, initiate a procedure. Procedures are great ways to help people overcome challenges.
Here’s why: If a child doesn’t follow a procedure, the response is to re-teach that procedure, restate it, seek understanding, or be a coach. That’s a big difference between acting in an enforcing mode versus in an empowering mode. Coaching provides a safe environment and shows kindness and caring.
Unfortunately, too many parents today are relying on rules rather than teaching procedures and as a result they’re making everyone’s journey much more difficult and stressful.
Tip: To help people overcome challenges, simply remember that rules impose and do not create desire. Procedures empower.
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