I ran across an interesting audiotape the other day called the six A's of parenting. These suggestions are from The Six A's of Relational Parenting by Josh McDowell (available as an audio only.)Â The Six A's are as follows â€“
Â A â€“ Affirmation. This stands for affirming your child's feelings. It means listening carefully when your child is trying to tell why he is happy or sad.Â An important component of this is to not ever downplay your child's feelings. For instance if the child says he is disappointed in someone you are never to say something like 'Oh, get over it.' You are also not to belittle an upset child by saying something like 'Oh, you are a big boy now and big boy's don't cry!'Â
A â€“ Acceptance.Â This principle is conceived on the premise that in order for your kid to be emotionally health that he or she must know that you will always accept and love him or her no matter what he or she does. The child needs to know that you love him or her because you are the mom. Love and affection should not be based on achievement, good grades and whether or not a person has good or bad behavior.Â
A â€“ Appreciation.Â To develop a healthy sense of self-esteem your child needs to know when he or she is good. He or she also needs to be appreciated 'just because.'Â However approval from mom is a powerful motivation for a child to do the right thing all of the time.Â
A â€“ Availability. One genius thing that Josh McDowell brings up is 'Children spell the word Love â€“ T-I-M-E.Â If you are not available to your child he or she will not feel loved by you. Â Time is also worth more to a kid then all of the gifts in the world.Â
A – Affection.Â Children that feel like they are loved are more likely to be motivated to please you. A parent that is critical or abusive does not motivate them. If they don't get love from you they will try and get it from somewhere else.Â
A â€“ Accountability. Â Children need to know when they are responsible if a mistake is made. Even if no punishment is in order they need to know when they have stepped over the line. This creates a context for rules and boundaries and teaches a child the disciplines of responsibility and self-control.Â Of course the above is just a very short summary of what The Six A's of Relational Parenting is about and the tape goes into much more detail.