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Parenting Tip

September 12, 2012

Other Leaders and Authorities

During the early elementary years, children usually begin to develop interests and attend activities outside the home. The circle of leadership in your child’s life will broaden as you enroll your child in sports, music, and other programs. In these situations your child will learn to respond to different cues, limits, and forms of correction from other leaders and authorities.

Most children need help knowing how to respond to various adults because every adult gives instructions differently or corrects in a way that the child may not completely understand or be comfortable with. For example, when the coach says, “I could use some help gathering the balls,” it may sound like an idea or suggestion to your child. When the coach then gets angry because of a lack of response, a child may be surprised, not recognizing that the comment was the coach’s way of saying, “I want you to go get the balls and bring them over here.”

One mom said, “We have a very nice babysitter, but when she tells my daughter to go to bed she asks a question. She asks, ‘Are you ready to go to bed now?’ My daughter, hearing the question, continues to say, ‘No.’ I had to teach her that when the babysitter asks that question, then she needs to hear it as if it were me saying ‘It’s time to go to bed now.’ ” The cues are different but the expectation to go to bed is the same.

Other leaders and authorities in a child’s life provide a great opportunity for a child to grow, and you can often help your child receive the messages and learn new relational patterns effectively as you teach your child to be sensitive to the cues given by others.

This parenting tip comes from the book Elementary Foundations by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN with Shannon Kulp. This is the newest book in our series about developmental stages called Parenting Shifts.

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