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Home page Children:  their mental and emotional well-being            

Families tend to discover what suits them best when it comes to parenting, but here are some of my
preferences as a basis for nurturing children. These are not intended as specific guidelines.

You are welcome to share what you think is important via my Facebook page here or through my blog page here.

Attending to the emotional needs of the growing child

  1. Help children learn to express how they feel.
  2. Help them work through conflicts with others (as they fall out with friends or siblings and struggle with
    particular teachers).
  3. Help them learn that they can be responsible for their own behaviour. (Telling a child s/he has ADHD,
    for example, can undermine a sense of personal responsibility).
  4. Be attuned to how your child is feeling - we live in a busy and distracted world and this is not always easy.
  5. Don’t give in to tantrums. A child soon learns they have amazing power if you do.
  6. Help your child know that s/he is loved and special. It seems obvious, but I meet children who do not know
  7. Help the child learn to consider the feelings of others (and learn to share too).
  8. Allow the child the space to feel personal pleasure, satisfaction and success from doing and accomplishing
    tasks without unnecessary praise – children can be overly dependent on the adult's praise and miss a
    deeper satisfaction and sense of accomplishment. Genuine spontaneous praise does of course have a
  9. Help the child develop personal interests – great for learning, developing concentration, and for learning to
    be more independent.
  10. Remember, young children by nature like to move around a lot and need to be physically active.
  11. Help youngsters develop a sense of being connected to the natural world (and not just the latest electronic
    gizmos and gadgets!).
  12. Help children gain a strong sense of being a part of the family where what they want is not always a priority.
  13. Focus more on what is acceptable than on the negative. I see no value or benefit in ever telling a child
    s/he is “naughty” or “bad” even though certain behaviours and attitudes are explicitly defined as
  14. Always treat a child/young person with dignity and respect.
  15. Remember a child’s perspective is often quite different to that of the adults. Be open to understanding this,
    and therefore the child.
  16. If children have stopped listening to the parent – why? (Consider this with an open mind and heart without
    the need for guilty self-criticism).
  17. Be aware of any baggage you as a parent still carry from your own upbringing and the impact this might be
    having on your parenting.
  18. With some small children it helps to use less language when enforcing limits – the language can include
    unnecessary tension and be part of the escalating process.  Calmly and gently directing a child in a more
    detached manner can sometimes be more helpful.
  19. Be aware of the levels of stimulation in food, TV, loud music constantly pounding, your levels of tensions
    and dis/stress etc that can make the child hyper.
  20. Help the child (relative to age and development) to take responsibility and not be over-reliant on your
  21. Notice what you say to your child, how you say it and the response this invites from the child.

How to bring up a troublesome toddler!

  1. Teach the child that by his/her tantrum you will change your mind: say “no”, then when the child persists,
    give in and say “yes”.
  2. Allow your child to play one adult/parent off against the other: one adult says “no” so the child persuades
    the other to give in and say “yes”.
  3. Discipline the child with violence and/or rage/anger.
  4. Be too busy and distracted to really get to know, understand and hear what is happening in the life of your
  5. Make the child the centre of the universe, rather than helping him/her to understand that he/she is part of
    the family.
  6. Give the child too much choice too soon, thus creating unnecessary indecision, uncertainty, fussiness and
    opportunities for conflict.
  7. Give the child lots of sugary food and drinks, setting them up for high and low moods.
  8. Allow the child to watch lots of TV to keep him/her quiet rather than helping the child develop personal
  9. Allow the child to watch inappropriate violence on TV and PC games.1
  10. Where the child has more than one home, ensure the families are inconsistent in how they deal with the
    child and there is conflict between the two families.
  Angry child        

References - Bibliography - Further reading

1 Christakis, D. A. et al (2012) Modifying Media Content for Preschool Children: A Randomized Controlled Trial. American Academy of Pediatrics. Abstract here.