Always watch your words in front of your children
Mindful parenting is a topic that I haven't really written about very much before, but one which can potentially save your child hours of counselling and goodness knows how much money when they are grown up.
On a weekly basis, I see clients whose 'problems' turn out to have roots burrowed deeply into their earliest memories.
I once worked with an otherwise healthy man who was happily married but unable to sustain an erection. The doctors offered him drugs and while they worked, he didn't want to continue to take them, so he came to see me.
To make a long story short, part of the problem in the end turned out to be related to issues of self-worth and self-esteem and based on episodes that occurred when he was very young. There were other factors but my point is this: your children are listening. Be mindful of that fact.
Time and time again I encounter well-meaning, loving parents who describe their disappointment with their children within earshot of the kids.
Now, I'm not suggesting that parenting doesn't occasionally require having difficult conversations with the young ones, but when these kinds of talks DO need to happen, they should occur in private.
Of course, we all screw up as mothers and fathers. The trick is to realise that when you do fall short of perfection - which will be often - you'll always have another chance to correct the wrong.
The following tip which will probably impact your child's mental well-being almost more than anything else: criticise the behaviour, NOT the child.
Make your feedback about the child's actions, not his or her identity. If the kid is acting like Genghis Khan on a rampage, do shout, "You're acting totally unreasonably!" Don't say: "YOU are unreasonable."
Parents are very influential in forming a young person's identity. How many times do you think a child needs to hear they are such-and-such before they believe it? Parents are great hypnotists because they're working with people who are too young to intellectually reject their parent's world view.
- Joseph Pond is a clinical hypnotherapist, an acupuncturist and a mindfulness instructor. He is co-founder of Hypnosis Explorers NI and conducts workshops in hypnosis with PowerTrance. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or at www.facebook.com/Belfast Hypnosis