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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What are some general parenting tips for raising children ages 5-8?

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  • Tracey Frazer

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist

    Tracey is a Clinical Psychology with over 20 years of clinical experience and her own practice in Hurstville, Sydney. She has a passion for working … View Profile

    In adding to Grant's great tips, I would say that it is helpful to really try to stay connected to your child's emotional needs as they change at each developmental stage. The more your child feels heard and understood for how they feel about things, the more positive behaviour and emotions you will see. If you validate your child and listen to them, even when they have done the wrong thing, you are in a better position to guide them in better choices and you are also teaching them how to manage their behaviours and emotions as they grow older. 

    If you take the time to listen and understand, your child will feel you are a safehaven to come to you for help in organizing and problem solving around their emotions and behaviour choices. They will feel that you are capable of helping them if you stay calm. That doesn't mean you have to be perfect but aiming to be the stronger wiser one is always helpful. This is where self care is important as a parent during these busy years. It's often challenging to find the time for yourself or for your relationship during these years and I believe that trying to find a balance is key to staying on top of things. Remember that parenting is a job that doesn't stop so we have to pace ourselves.

    The other key thing I thought I'd mention is working on the process of letting go. This process begins when they are babies and slowly parents let go more until they become independent adults. Each child is different in their need to support versus independence and if you stay connected as a parent, you can hopefully find the right pace for giving them some space whilst continuing to delight in them and their personal qualities and achievements.    

  • Tammy Rosman

    Counsellor

    Tammy Rosman is a Clinical Social Worker with over 10 years experience working with children, adolescents, adults, parents and families. Providing a holistic counselling service, Tammy … View Profile

    Both Grant and Tracey have provided great tips and advice for raising children. In addition to behavioural strategies, I always speak with my client about teaching their children about emotions and feelings. As parents, we work so hard to foster our children's education and extra-curricular activities and skills, but we often skip over the very important responsibility of teaching our children how to manage their feelings (both good and bad).

    From a young age, children are great at letting us know when they are feeling angry, tired or frustrated. It starts with crying as a young baby, becomes tantrums during the toddler years but as children grow, it is important to teach them how to express and manage difficult or overwhelming feelings in productive ways so as to ensure that poor coping strategies are not developed.

    When children are young, it is important to speak to them about what they are feeling. If your child is getting angry - saying gently to them ‘I can see you are feeling angry’. This starts the conversation and role modeling to children about how to identify feelings. This can develop into conversations that promote empathy. For example ‘how do you think your brother was feeling when you broke his toy?’ It's about introducing a language of emotions into every day life and from there it allows for further conversation about how to manage tricky feelings and healthy coping strategies.

    I work with a lot of parents and children around helping them to develop healthy coping strategies when dealing with overwhelming feelings, trauma, grief and anxiety.

    All the best, Tammy

  • I have been working in Eltham, Melbourne as a relationship and family counsellor for over twelve years. I draw on current theory and research about … View Profile

    many wonderful suggestions here from others. Adding to what Tammy has said, a fantastic resource for parents is the parenting course “Tuning Into Kids” - this is an evidence-based program developed through Mindful,a specialist children's development research and teaching facility that is part of the University of Melbourne. Mindful trains professionals to run groups that are run usually through community centres and schools - here is a link to more information about the program and where you might find a group running in your local area. http://www.tuningintokids.org.au

    Good luck!

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