Hi my name is Amber, I am 22 and I have recently started working here at KidCoach. I am loving my time here and although I am not a parent, I’d like to think that I can provide a very relatable and honest outlook on how young adults feel today. My parents are loving and wonderful people, there’s no doubt about that. However, parents are not perfect.
Due to the rapidly changing world we live in, the way I was brought up was always going to be very different to the way you were raised, and now, the way your child is raised. Because of this it is important to teach your child skills that allow them to adapt to whatever the world throws at them. How many times have you accidentally passed on your own opinions onto your child without hearing theirs first? A few times right? What about the few times you have not really been listening to your child. Does the “yes oh that's nice hmm” sound familiar? I can imagine how tiring and busy being a parent can be, it's a full time 24/7 job. However, the more I talk to my friends about the things they wish they knew as an adult, leading to them needing to reparent themselves, the more I realise that all is not lost.
“Reparenting” is the fancy new phrase with a simple goal. It is “the act of giving yourself what you didn’t receive as a child.” (The Holistic Psychologist). Here at KidCoach we focus on what parents can do to help their children develop into amazingly well-rounded people right now. Reparenting for us therefore means minimising the need for your child having to reparent later on, and if they choose to, to provide them with fundamental skills to do so.
Continue reading for tips on how to avoid your child having to focus on learning some essential skills in adulthood that they could have learned when they were younger - from you!
The world is changing fast. Super fast. Think about how many technological and social changes have happened worldwide, in just the past 20 years alone!
I realise that mine and the next generation are the future of tomorrow. Yet everything is changing, all the time. I talk to kids about their days at school and what they learn and it is far more technology-based than what I was ever taught at school. It makes sense, the world is evolving, so what we learn needs to evolve too. My mates and I sometimes share our worries at all the new skills we constantly need to learn, things that we either were not taught on the curriculum at school or in society back then. In many ways the kids of today are way smarter in some things than the adults of today.
My friends and I are happy to learn whatever new skills help us become well-rounded and successful adults, however we wished we had a stronger grasp and confidence of some certain skills already. Skills that help us realise our most resilient and secure selves. Being good with people, making good eye contact and holding confident conversations. With the rise of social media, technology and overall more competition in the world, these are skills that the children of today cannot afford to lose.
You might think that school should teach all of this. While 6 hours a day at school seems like a long time, children actually spend 80% of their waking hours at home and outside of school! So actually it is parents that can make a big difference here. If parents can create an open and secure foundation in order for children to build key 21st century skills then they will have the confidence, self-reliance and adaptability that will serve them well through life.
The world will also continue to change. What worked yesterday won't work tomorrow. Keeping this in mind therefore it is important to accept the fact that your child in adulthood may unlearn (reparent) some behaviours and treatment that you teach them. So the meta skill then becomes about adaptability and having a growth mindset also. Again a fantastic area that parents can help children with!
Communication is at the heart of everything.
With the benefit of hindsight I can see how what I was taught growing up has affected me as an adult. Whilst I am confident in many areas of my life and have learnt many amazing skills growing up, I still feel the need to reparent certain parts of myself and how I deal with things. Communication is a fundamental and timeless skill to have, its importance serves in every single situation. Communication with yourself is just as important as communication with others.
It’s one of the reasons I am so excited to work here at KidCoach; the app stimulates and supports communication and conversation between parents and children so well.
I’ve been browsing the app and getting to know the questions. Three things really jumped out at me as I did so, which I would love to share below. Maybe they will give you some ideas for your kids.
Have you ever accidentally forced your child to take your opinions on something? How many miscommunications or arguments have happened when really you are just curious about something?
I can often remember a time where my parents were simply curious and interested in my obsession with a new band or book. My young self would sometimes get defensive, it had sounded like my parents were disapproving of whatever it was. Looking back I understand that they had just come back from a long day at work and were not focusing on using neutral language, but rather language that suggested they feel a type of way about it. Now I understand that really, they were trying to get to know me better and what I was interested in. Neutral language provides a more open area for someone to speak about themselves.
How to speak with neutral language: Applying neutral language to your conversations allows your child to see you as a peer. As a parent getting onto the same level as your child allows for an even playing field. Your child may feel more open and confident expressing their ideas with the removal of the hierarchy. This ‘buddy chat’ can be most effective when you start to remove certain words.
The KidCoach question example above could easily turn into a telling off session: "They would tell you to do more homework!" or "You should play less iPad!". But I like the openness and neutrality of the prompts. The questions is genuinely designed to have a get-to-know-you type chat and if the child can come up with an self-improvement idea themselves then even better.
It is easy to want to interject our lived experiences here, but is important to keep our language and tone neutral in order for your child to vocalise their honest thoughts. Let your child speak fully before asking any follow up questions, such as “why is this question important to you at the moment?”. Conversations like this can sometimes become surprisingly emotional, remember it is okay to show emotions. Emotions when regulated well are vital to a happy life. If any type of emotion comes up from you, try to still keep your language neutral. After your child has answered all the questions you can now as a ‘chat buddy’, reply and give your opinions.
As long as your tone is neutral and you do not seem dismissive, upset or angry with your child's answers then there is always space for you to disagree respectfully. This can be a learning point for your child, to practice accepting opposing views and being open minded to other peoples ideas whilst remaining secure within themselves.
After a long and tedious day, having conversations with your kids is not always on the priority list. Does this sound familiar “hmm oh really?" or "that's nice sweetie”.
Let's face it, we are all guilty of not really listening sometimes. These words have either come out of our own mouths at some point, or we have heard them directed towards us. Sometimes socialising is tiring.
However, here at KidCoach we maintain children are outcomes of the conversations and experiences they have had. We have made this as easy as possible for you with our question cards on the app, taking out the thought work of which questions to ask your kids and allowing you to put more energy into your answers and the rest of the conversation. Simply put, it makes the conversation more enjoyable for you when the hard work has already been done!
How to actively listen: Asking questions is the most direct evidence that someone is listening. Starting with simply asking why something happened or how it made your child feel. These questions levitate anyone's self-confidence as they feel they are really listened to and that you care about their thoughts on topics and events.
Every question from the app encourages parents to listen to children's opinions. Some even directly call out the value of the listening skill, like the question above.
By the way. By actively listening to your children you will start a a positive chain reaction. You will model how to do it so they are more likely to do it themselves. This makes it much easier for your child to bond with people. Showing is the best way to teach.
What does confidence mean to you? For many confidence is something that appears to be obvious: a loud person or a person who gets on with everyone.
The older I get the more I realise that confidence is how well you view yourself, and how well you trust yourself. I can talk the ear off of anyone, but if I don’t feel sure within myself, that is not confidence.
One thing I for sure had to learn as I grew up was trusting myself more with decisions. This could be the smallest decision or some really hard ones. Practice makes perfect but providing a secure foundation within your child makes even the hardest decisions, just that little bit easier.
How to make your child's confidence in themselves soar: Listen to your child over serious topics. It’s a misconception to think that children should be kept out of some conversations. By letting children think for themselves from a young age, you provide a strong moral foundation in them and the confidence and expectation that their voice is worth listening to. And you may be pleasantly surprised by their answers. After all, they provide a new viewpoint.
Questions like this one about Afghanistan, when the Taliban took back control in 2021, are not to be avoided. I appreciate how the KidCoachApp takes on difficult news topics and finds a way to engage children in the discussion of them. The sooner children understand and engage with what is going on in the world, the sooner they will feel the confidence in themselves of belonging. Of course, all these tricky chats need to be done in an age-appropriate and sensitive way (and a parent will always know their child better than any app can).
It is helpful to keep encouraging your child to expand on their answers. If their tone sounds uncertain be sure to praise and vocalise that you are understanding what they are saying. If they are finding it hard to vocalise their thoughts ask prompting questions such as “and then what could happen?” “what might happen then?” “why do you think that?”. Keep your tone friendly as to not sound like you are interrogating your child, remember genuine curiousness and interest can sometimes be conveyed wrongly if the tone is not neutral and calm.
By making sure that each day you allow your child to experience these three things you provide a deep-rooted sense of security, confidence and self love that your child needs to grow up as a secure and confident adult. These skills also aid anything that they wish to unlearn as they grow up by creating a stable foundation and self assuredness that every adult needs to be able to be their best selves.
Phew, three tips to encourage confidence in your child and be more mindful with your communication with your child. It may seem like a switch up, but in no time it will be second nature. These conversations will flow between you easily, and these secure levels of communication will become fundamental in the security and confidence your child feels with you, and within themselves.
You are human, so is your child (although you may sometimes feel like you both come from different planets). It is important to remember throughout raising your child with these reparenting thoughts in mind, that you cannot avoid your child having some level of hurt during their lives. Moments like this build up resilience. So don’t pressure yourself to be perfect all the time. You may even decide to reparent yourself after reading this, you are learning too, be kind to yourself like you would your child.
I am so excited to be working at KidCoachApp. Reparenting was something that Kavin and I spoke about in my interview and it seemed like writing this first article was a great way for me to introduce myself to you all.
KidCoachApp is a tool designed to take away the strain of communication fatigue with your child by providing many conversation topics and follow up questions. I hope my article helped give you a few more tips on how to have the greatest conversations with your kid. Remember, at the end of the day, it's just a chat. The best you can do for you and your child is to show up and engage.
Please do try out the KidCoachApp with your kids!