Wriggling in the Middle interviewed parenting expert Barbara Coloroso, author of ‘Kids are Worth it’, to discuss a variety of issues related to parenting for caregivers of all ages. Here are a few excerpts from the show:
Wriggling: What are the six critical messages you believe all children need to hear?
Barbara: Every kid needs these messages in different ways – from home, school, and community. I believe in you, I trust in you, I know you can handle this, you are listened to, you are cared for, and you’re very important to me. Children need to hear that every single day from all the caregivers in their lives. You want children to feel safe and protected when they are with you.
Wriggling: How do you talk to a child about divorce?
Barbara: The sooner the better and as honest as you can be about it. Any kind of major loss or crisis in their lives, we need to face our own grief and then let your children know. I use a very simple formula: you give the headline to the child, basic facts, and be present for you children for what they need.
Wriggling: What are words that can help and what are words that are not so helpful when you talk to your children?
Barbara: We want to be very specific about the words we use. If we are talking about a divorce, don’t refer to your former spouse as an ‘ex’, use words like father of my children or mother of my children. It softens it and allows the child to see that there is still a connection there. The tone of your voice matters.
Wriggling: What exactly is bullying and how does it differ from other kinds of conflicts?
Barbara: Bullying is such a huge issue today. Bullying is not conflict; it is an intentional willingness to harm – getting pleasure from hurting someone else. Teach your kids to not treat others with disdain or content. Bullying is a learned behavior – it is learned from how people around the child treat others. If it can be learned, it doesn’t have to be learned… it can be unlearned… and it can be stopped.
Barbara Coloroso is an internationally recognized speaker and author in the areas of parenting, teaching, school discipline, non-violent conflict resolution, and reconciliatory justice. Want to hear more? Visit www.wrigglinginthemiddle.com/radiostation for this and previous shows