The front-page headline in a local Cork paper caught my eye.
‘Controversial Bracelets banned at Fermoy schools’ (‘The Avondhu’ Thursday Sep 23, 2010)
The photo showed cute, colourful bracelets like any little girl might be wearing. There are the playground crazes, but this is not as innocuous as marbles or card swapping. The name rings the warning bells – ‘sh*g bands’.
Apparently the colours are a code language, and the wearer is expected to give that favour to someone who breaks that band off your arm. Each colour represents a physical act of a sexual nature – and we’re not just talking ‘I’ll show you yours if you show me mine.’ Parents are worried that young children, who aren’t comprehending what it’s all about, don’t want to be left out.
How does a parent respond? An outright ban? But they’re going to be so easy to get hold of – just little plastic bangles!
Talk to the child? I hear parents say, ‘But she won’t listen to me!’
The difference lies in talking WITH your child rather than talking TO.
But how? This is where a Coaching Approach to Parenting can give you hugely helpful tools.
It’s about building connection and communication.
When children sense that we are coming in only with our own agenda, they sense our motivation as being one of ‘attack’. In return they’re likely to get defensive, aggressive or go ‘underground’ with their behaviour.
What helps? Find the time and space to listen to her experience.
Think of yourself crossing the bridge into her world. When you choose to ‘visit’ her world of experience and see life from her perspective, you’ll gain valuable insights into how she sees this.