Happy Marriage, Happy Kids: An interview with Megan Warren from Key to Kids
Teaching for 18 years, mother, business owner and passionate in supporting parents to build a strong relationship with children. Megan’s website is Key to Kids – https://keytokids.com.au/
Megan offers beneficial skills in building a relationship with children because children will do anything for you if they:
- feel that they’re loved
- if they feel that they’re valued
- and you have that relationship with them
- online courses
- one-hour information sessions for parents and educators
- workshops for teachers.
The first seven years of a child’s life are so important and good communication and relationship building skills are crucial for acknowledging feelings.
An example: Your child has fallen over and hurt themselves or maybe you’ve dropped your child at kindy. Something has upset them. It’s very easy for adults to think, “Oh, you’ll be right”. You may dismiss their feelings. But really all children want is for someone to say, “Oh no, that must’ve hurt”. Or, “I know you’re going to miss me, and I’ll miss you too”.
Children just want someone to hear them and to see them and really feel valued and validated in the way that they’re feeling. So that can make all the difference to what they do next. If you say you’ll be right, that’s when they might throw themselves on the floor and do something that makes it worse.
However, if you just spend that little bit of time acknowledging and saying, “Oh, I know”, then that can just be enough for them to feel validated and able to move forward and problem solve. To make better choices.
Parents who practice these skills feel so much more relaxed because they feel empowered that they have some skills. Having some plan is better than having no plan because we often react when we’re feeling stressed, run-down, tired and we’ve got lots of things happening. When we react, we make choices that we might later regret.
“When I started to feel like I had some skills I was less snappy with my kids and I felt better about myself.” “When I used to yell or even maybe smack my kids when they were little, I felt awful after that”. “I’d feel like I am a failure as a parent, and I wish I didn’t do that, and I handled that poorly”.
“I see parents once they have some tools handling situations much better and because they handle it better, they feel better”.
Top three skills/tools for Parenting
- Acknowledging feelings: Take a moment to listen to what your children are saying. Example if they’re upset, just taking that little moment to go, “Oh, I can see that you’re upset or I can hear that you are” When kids feel like they have been listened to, acknowledged, then they are more likely to make better choices next time.
- Being descriptive: The more descriptive we can be the more helpful it is to kids. ‘So just by saying ‘Your bowl is not in the sink’ – or ‘Your bowl is still on the table – it belongs in the sink’? I only say this because it’s not meant to be a request, it’s a statement
When we’re descriptive, we keep things calm and objective. So just by saying to our kids put the bowl on the sink, we’re not even giving them an instruction. We’re not even telling them what to do.
It’s almost saying to your child, you know what to do you’re capable of doing that and you’re not attaching any sort of emotion to it.
- Positive and you praise. It’s going to flow on to every single thing, that you do with your kids. So, you don’t even need to have a reason to praise them. An example think of three great things about your kids right now. So sometimes I’ll be driving in the car and I’ll just say to my son, “Hey, I was just thinking about how organised you were with your school bag yesterday. I didn’t even have to remind you to take your lunch box out of your bag and your water bottle. You are so organised. Thanks so much.”
When you’re in a happy marriage it can ripple over to how you are with your children. If you’re not happy asking yourself what needs to change can be a great place to start. Your children deserve the best version of you and it’s your responsibility to take ownership of your behaviour. Building a relationship with your children will last a lifetime if you put the time and energy into them when they are little.
Tune into to my Empowered Marriage Podcast to learn more. This fortnight’s podcast is available now and discusses this topic in more depth. Happy Marriage Happy Kids – https://www.powerofchange.com.au/empowered-marriage-podcast/