How does contribution benefit the parent-child relationship?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 13,009
    Parenting expert Dr. Rene Hackney talks about the benefits of contribution.

    Rene Hackney

    Originally a full-time preschool teacher, Dr. Rene Hackney now holds a Master?s in school psychology and a PhD. in developmental psychology from George Mason University. She trained at the Developmental Clinic at Children?s National Medical Center and for the public schools, teaching in parenting programs at each. She has also acted as a consultant to several area preschools.

    For the last four years, Dr. Hackney has owned and lectured for Parenting Playgroups, Inc, a parenting resource center and preschool classroom in Alexandria Virginia. She has offered workshops to a wide

    range of parent, teacher and social work groups during this time.

    Workshop topics include eight hours on positive discipline techniques, five hours on early academic issues and common issues such as sibling rivalry and potty training. All workshops provide well researched lecture, in-class practice and open discussion time. Additionally she hosts a monthly parenting focused book club and fun play programs to introduce the preschool setting to young families.

    Dr. Hackney is married and has two young children of her own.

    Host: How does contribution benefit the parent child relationship?

    Rene Hackney: It benefits the parent child relationship in a lot of ways. Contribution teaches children about responsibility, it teaches them life skills. I don t want my kids to think dinner just magically appears on the table or magically disappears. I want them helping in the preparation, I want them throwing away napkins and carrying plates to the sink afterwards, so that they know there is a real process to it.

    It also is helpful in that children start to take ownership of being a member of the family. They start to feel responsibility towards the family. This is separate from chores. Chores are things they have to do. Chores are things that they do for allowance. These are things to do just to be helpful, just to be a part of the family so it builds that sense of comoradory or teamwork between the family members. So, the idea is to get children participating at every turn. When children do participate it s best that parents just notice and describe how that was helpful rather than correct the child.

    When my own children started folding laundry, Claire could get mommy s underwear versus daddy s versus Claire s but she would make the piles all crazy and she would literally pick up thong and go, Okay, open the drawer. I would shove it in and it looked all esque, but if I take that moment to fix her pile I can t quash her contribution. So, the idea is just take it how it s given and you say, Wow, you have got them in the drawer and then shut the drawer. If you wait till they go off to school and then you fix it, they come home and they are just deflate, they come home and go, Oh, somebody fixed it and they are not as excited to help the next go around. So, you want to find something good to say about what it was they did.

    Let s say you have got a six year old you have been teaching to make their bed for a while and one day before you come in, they say, Hey mummy I made my bed and you go look at it, it looks crazy. Find something nice to say, Wow, look how straight this corner is, you made your bed and leave it at that. The idea is you want them to want to help and that overrides them helping correctly.