Family Signposts to Lower Our Trust of Ourselves

In our Family, we see Ourselves as Learners

  • Model being a learner yourself! Tell your children about what you are learning, hobbies you are developing,  things you are trying to get better at,  or ask them to tell you about the latest trends so you can keep up with the times!
  • After an error of judgement, use the language of reflection, choice and reparation to show  that  errors are learning opportunities. For example: “What choice did I make? How did my choice affect others? What other choices could I have made? What will I do to put things right?”
  • Help your children set themselves goals and challenges in their activities by using a 0-10 rating scale approach. For example: “On a scale of 0-10 where do you think you are in your gymnastics? If you are at 6 now, where do you want to be by May?  What will you be able to do when you are at 8? What do you need to do to get to 8? What is you time scale for this?”
  • Help your children identify a specific quality to develop over the coming months. Explore practical ways they could do this. For example: kindness. Perhaps they could do one small, secret kind act for someone each day. As a parent, you might identify a quality you are trying to develop too. Affirm each other when you see these qualities exhibited in the family.
  • Encourage your children to take on new responsibilities which take them out of their comfort zone. For example: packing their own suitcase, learning to cook a meal once/week for the family, mending a button that falls off a shirt, ironing their own clothes. When feeding back, identify two things they are making progress in, and one thing they might want to think more about next time.

In our Family, we Question our Own Ideas and Opinions

  • Model openness when listening to the opinions of others whose opinion differs from your own. When watching the news or reading the newspaper say when you think a point is well made and has had an impact on changing your own perspective. For example; “She made a good point there, I hadn’t seen it in that way before; it’s made me think…”
  • When talking with your own children give them opportunities to present a different point of view to your own using scripts such as “What do you think? Is there another way of seeing this?” Where appropriate demonstrate a shift in your own thinking.
  • Adolescents may voice their own ideas and opinions with passion, seeking to assert their own identify and autonomy. Strong and didactic opinions can often close down interaction, lessening opportunity for healthy debate. Temper and moderate their strong opinion by acknowledging its passion, whilst also opening up different perspectives. For example:  “You feel this really strongly don’t you. What has led you to this position? How long have you held this opinion for? Have you thought about any other ways of seeing this situation? How might other people react to your passion; might there be value in expressing yourself a little differently?
  • At times your children might hold a different opinion to their siblings sparking sibling arguments. Try using a Venn diagram visual approach to help them see things they both can agree on and where compromises can be made. For example: “I think…. You think… what can we both agree on or compromise…”
  • Sometimes we might jump to conclusions or realise that we have got our facts wrong. Model how important it is to accept error with grace. Acknowledge how hard it might be for your children to back down when they realise they were wrong; affirm their honesty and humility.
  • Sometimes your children may face situations where someone in authority makes an authoritative decision that they don’t agree with. Acknowledge their frustration, and then guide them in knowing how to accept this decision with grace. For example “It must have been so frustrating when the penalty was awarded against you. One of the biggest challenges in playing sport is recognising the authority given to the referee. It enables the game to flow.”

In our Family, we are Open to Feedback from Others

  • Cultivate a family culture of feedback, giving each person opportunity to give and receive feedback to and from others. For example: If someone bakes something, encourage others to say what they like about it, or what could be improved. Try having a family Bake Off.
  • Create opportunities  to model seeking the opinions of others. For example: “I’ had a run in with the neighbour yesterday. This is what happened? Could I have handles it better? “
  • When your children bring home their school report, ask them to identify one or two areas of feedback  to work on. Help them to decide practical, targeted and  intentional ways to do this.  For example: “If you are going to concentrate more in French, what three things can you do from now on?”  Follow up with “What impact are your strategies having? What will I read in your next French report?”
  • Adolescents can be resistant to feedback, sometimes dismissing  or brushing if off without consideration. To help your children be more open to you feedback,  preface it with tentative openers.  For example: “I notice; I wonder; could it be that; perhaps; maybe…”

In our Family, we consider the Impact we have on Others

  • At times, we all hurt others through our actions. Use a restorative approach at these times, helping your children to empathise with those they have hurt. For example: “Who has been affected by your choices? How might they be feeling? What do they need from you now?” You might ask those hurt to share how they are feeling.
  • Help your children be attentive to the particular circumstances of those around them, and be sensitive in response. For example: ” With Sam’s dad having left the family home, try to be sensitive to how he might feel when chatting about your own dad.”
  • Our interactions with others are informed by facial expressions. If you children struggle to do this, help them notice what they might overlook. For example: “Look at your sister’s face, does she look like she is taking your comments as a joke? What do you need to do now?”
  • Adolescents may act without anticipating the impact on others. Take these learning opportunities to make this visible to them.  For example: “If you leave your washing on the floor, I will have to clear it up, that will add to my workload and leave me strained and stressed”;  “If you leave the lights on, our bill will be higher and we will have to make compromises in other areas.”

In our Family, we Value Collaboration as well as Independence

  • Build in regular opportunities for the whole family to join in collaborative activities together. For example: team board games, baking, building a fire, manning the bbq.
  • Model a collaborative approach  by asking your children to join in family tasks. For example: cooking dinner, washing the car, folding the laundry. Be careful not to model a self-reliant, self-directed, autonomous approach to managing family life.
  • Model asking for support and guidance from your family. For example: ask the children to help you choose a new phone; ask them to explain colloquial terms to you that you don’t understand’ ask them to help you use new technology.
  • Adolescents have fewer face to face interactions now, spending more time posting comments on social media. You may need to teach your children how to engage in mutual, collaborative, real-time social  interactions, where one comment sparks a response from another.  Identify the facets of healthy mutual conversation; how can you teach these skills to your children?
  • Electronic devices enable our children to be independent and self-directed in their activities, lessening opportunities for shared, collaborative interaction.  Rather than everyone watching their own programme on their device, have a weekly film night and enjoy interacting with each other as you watch it.

In our Family, we see Struggle as an Opportunity to Develop Resilience

  • Sometimes our  children may be reluctant to admit their struggle, in case they appear weak or vulnerable. Respond by acknowledging their independence and determination, then offering your support. For example: “I can see how determined you have been to do this on your own; tell me how far you have got. What could I do to help?”
  • Help your children see struggle as a normal part of the learning process, rather than an acknowledgement of weakness. For example “I can see this is stretching you; anything challenging always involves struggle. It’s like going the gym and lifting heavier weights than you are used to. By struggling and not giving yp, are developing your emotional muscles.”
  • Notice and initiate conversations about public figures who demonstrate perseverance and tenacity despite struggle, set back or failure.
  • Share your own experience of making mistakes and growing and learning from them. You might even purposefully choose to model making mistakes in order to initiate a conversation.

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