Edited by Jill Wright,
Every once in a while, I read a book that strikes a chord. The most recent of these resonant experiences was with a book about a seven-year-old who had a remarkable, albeit unusual relationship with her grandmother.
The power of story-telling
The child and grandmother used stories as a way of communicating about dark and scary things in a way that was non-threatening. What struck me the most about this book, was the sheer power of story-telling.
Just recently, for instance, my eight-year-old told me in great detail about a pigeon.
My first reaction was to roll my eyes (I had already learned a lot about pigeons...and I mean A LOT!), but then I decided to take the time to listen and encourage her to tell a story about the pigeon.
What was this pigeon doing, where it was going, how it was feeling etc.
As she recounted the tale of the pigeon, I realised she was working out a few things in her own life.
This is the power of story-telling. Children can project aspects of themselves that are scary, uncertain or unknown in a way that is non-threatening, plus it is fun!
Listen and encourage your child to express their feelings and tell their story
So my 'non-parenting tip' would be to stop, listen and encourage the expression of feelings that are so often layered underneath tantrums, oppositional or unusual behaviours. You might even find that you have fun and you develop a stronger relationship with your child.
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