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December 16, 2012

Protect Childhood

Safety for all starts here

What it is

To shield from damage the freedom to be a child.  For the purposes of this week’s tip, let’s consider childhood as ages 2 to 12.

Why it's Important

Childhood is a safe haven of time during which children are supported as they experiment with the world. 

Experimentation is the pathway to understanding who they are, what they’re good at, and what makes them happy. 

The Problem

The unspeakable tragedy at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT has rightfully and understandably changed the way we will look at people; heightening our fear of the differences in others.  That which we don’t understand will scare us more now.

As an adult viewing other adults, I can’t suggest anything but caution—I, too, will be much more watchful and leery of behavior that I don’t understand.

But what about experimenting children?  

As we seek to protect childhood, let’s make sure to protect a young child’s need to experiment with identity.

The Tip

Try it on for size

 Find out how what you wear changes things.

Step 1: Pick a Character

Pick a fictional character that your child likes to imitate. 

Step 2:   Wardrobe

 

 

 

 

 

Use Your Good Judgment

Play dress-up!  Encourage your child to wear a different combination of clothes to school to test the way it feels to be more like this character.

Working together and using the clothes in your child’s closet, pull together an outfit that represents the character to be played. Selecting clothes and/or accessories with the intention of role-play unlocks the power of imagination that transforms your child into this character.

Of course, you will use your good judgment so as to assemble an appropriate outfit for the setting.

Step 3:   Everything's a Trade

One way to help kids discover the good and not-so-good results of an experiment is to frame it like a scientist.

Just as in a real laboratory experiment, create the if/then hypothesis predicting the outcome.   

What does a princess have to trade to be the princess?

Step 4:   Celebrate and Debrief

Regardless the result, the experiment is a success because the experiment was all about discovery—discovering how life felt to your child when she showed up differently. 

Do allow your child to do 90% of the talking.

Don’t  label anything good or bad.

Do trust that with each experiment, your child will find the best way to navigate through the world.


Easier or Harder to be the princess?

 Remember! You are here to influence the experiment and to help guide the process. 

Benefits!

 Empathy

Walking in the shoes of others helps kids understand the pros and cons of each role.

 Learning Your child will learn, confirm, or dispel something.
Fun!

It’s a game of discovery without right or wrong answers.

Influence

By encouraging discovery and supporting the light and dark halves of characters, your child will feel holistically supported.

Promise Kept

We promise to teach our kids how to make good choices and to have the courage to think and act for themselves.  Considering the recent tragic events, it’s more important than ever that we keep these promises.

By encouraging experiential discovery we help our kids appreciate the balance between happy and sad for themselves and others. 

Empathy is an essential ingredient for all our best choices and is learned during childhood.

 

Related Articles:  Parenting Promises, Snap Judgments,

Related Tip of the Week: Decode a Feeling, Recognize Perfection,

 

   Chime in >> What do you think?

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