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Tips For Family Responsibilities
Dr. Dale V. Atkins, August 2010

The major function of a family is the socialization and care of children. It is the first primary group that we experience--the place where some of our most important identities take shape.

Family relations are therefore critical in developing and expressing self-esteem. Adults can consider these tips when they want to foster positive interactions with their children:

Demonstrate Respect for Each Family Member - Be fair in the treatment of each and all children and adults. Express gratitude for their being in your life as well as for the deeds they do.

Accept and Support Your Child for the Person She/He Is - Promote competence in at least one area, and encourage your child to become the best s/he can be, while appreciating that doing things for enjoyment is of great value and you don't have to be the best at everything.

Focus on the Reciprocal Nature of Relationships - Model socially appropriate behavior and be empathetic and compassionate, listening with your whole body. Demonstrate that each person has value and is important. One person's needs do not dominate the family's discussion or time.

Give Specific Feedback - Focus on the positive aspect of what was done or said. Acknowledge feelings even if behavior is abhorrent, and offer alternative behaviors with reflection and role playing or story- telling.

Foster Independence and Independent Thinking - Give all children responsibilities that are age and ability appropriate. Encourage and guide creative problem solving rather than directly giving solutions.

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