Excerpt from The Overt Parent being released in July by Richard F. Miniter:
People are forever being advised of their posture. That is how to hold yourself and appear in court, while dating, applying for a job, in church or temple even in dealing with a contractor. But yet while a child is about the closest and most important relationship we will ever approach most of us rarely consider the body language we assume towards them.
Because posture is after all the stance and tone you use to encourage certain behavior in another person. And it works. It’s why a State Trooper swaggers up to your driver’s side window during a traffic stop, why you get on one knee to ask you beloved to marry you, it’s why a teacher throws her shoulders back in front of a new class. Your this stance and tone, your body language, often says more about the behavior you expect than what you say.
Smart parents aren’t blind to the issue. Pamela Druckerman the author of the New York Times bestseller Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting is one of the few who takes a shot at it. In a Saturday essay in the Wall Street Journal recently she explains her embarrassment at having to be coached by a much less experienced French mother on how to stop her child from running off in a playground. It’s all in the tone and expectation and after four tries Pamela finally gets it right.
You yourself can achieve the right posture. You can practice it in a mirror, watch other people for hints about how your posture should appear. Loving but authoritative. And children, who are extremely situation, will usually respond. Indeed for many children as, authoritative parent is all they require in the way of discipline.
And so if you find yourself wringing your hands with a hopeful expression on your face when you ask your child to do something walk away and don’t come back until you have your game face on.
Richard F. Miniter is the author of The Things I Want Most, Random House, BDD, Five Stars on Amazon “The remarkable story of a couple who risked everything …” Easily one of the most compelling reads you will ever experience See it Here.