blog » May 31, 2018 by Renee Herren

Building Strong Families With "Shame-Proof Parenting" Author Mercedes Samudio by Renee Herren

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3 months ago
Building Strong Families With "Shame-Proof Parenting" Author Mercedes Samudio

What parent wouldn't want to build stronger relationships with their kids? We were excited to welcome our very own 30Seconds contributor, Mercedes Samudio, as our Twitter chat guest. Mercedes is the best-selling author of "Shame-Proof Parenting," speaker and lecturer, and parenting coach. She is also an avid supporter of woman’s rights, child welfare and ending mental health stigma. For almost a decade, Mercedes has worked with families to help them develop healthy communication skills, develop coping skills to manage behaviors, build dynamic parent-child relationships, and navigate social media and technology. 

Q: What is “shame-proof parenting” exactly?

Shame-proof parenting is a philosophy of parenting that helps protect parents and their children from the negative influence shame can have on a family. When a family is shamed and judged, they tend to attack each other and lose empathy for one another. Shame-proof parenting helps you be mindful and more aware of how external influences impact the way you respond to yourself and your family.

Q: What are some tips for navigating social media and technology with my child?

One of the most important things to do when it comes to social media and technology is to talk with your family about what is expected. Having regular family meetings, not just when the devices and social media is introduced, helps with quelling a lot of the fears and anxieties that parents have about what their children are up to. It also gives your family a chance to talk about how it’s affecting each of them individually. Lastly, be mindful of how you as the parent are using social media and technology. Children watch more than they listen!

Q: What are some ways parents can develop a healthy relationship with their child?

Be honest with yourself about what you want from your relationship with your child and then be honest about expectations. Find other relationships that bring you joy outside of your parenting. This will help you to appreciate the relationship with your child even more since it’s not the only relationship one you have. 

Remember that the relationship you have with your child is lifelong. It will come with highs and lows; the highs don’t mean you’re perfect, and the lows don’t mean you’ve failed! Talk regularly, learn how to argue and disagree healthily and, most of all, develop an empathy practice so that you can model for your child.

Q: How can parents support their child who has been a victim of bullying?

Bullying is an issue that needs to be met with compassion, active listening and resolution. Oftentimes, when a child is bullied we either treat them like a victim or we try to instill fight in them. Rarely do we listen enough to help our children develop the skills to be empowered and feel confident that they are equipped to handle tough situations.

When we use empathy, we learn to understand what our children have been through. Listening lets them feel like they’ve been heard and returns power to them. Helping them find a resolution encourages your child to find solutions to the issue instead of feeling disempowered by the incident.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to reach out to a professional to help you and your family make sense of what happened and find solutions.

Q: How do you tell if your child is bullying others and how do you handle this?

A bully is often feeling unheard and is looking for power in certain areas of their life. It’s interesting that the same strategies we use with victims of bullying also work with perpetrators of bullying: empathy, listening and resolution. Bullies often do not have empathy for others so showing them empathy helps the bully feel their feelings are valid. 

When listening to a bully, listen for the truth behind their explanations. Be curious by their actions instead of being angry. Work on finding resolutions to their need for being heard and needing power. Bullies are often seen as a negative piece to the bullying puzzle but helping them to see that they have a voice will go further in changing their bullying behavior.

Q: Sibling relationships! How can parents foster strong and positive relationships between siblings?

There are a couple of things that I suggest parents do to help their children have healthy sibling relationships:

  • Let siblings establish their own identity! When each child feels like a separate person and entity from their sibling, they actually have more appreciation for their sibling’s differences and unique personality traits.
  • Don’t referee sibling disagreements! Set boundaries about what you expect when there is a disagreement; teach them how to talk to each other; let them figure it out in their own time; and only get involved if they ask you for help. Siblings deserve to create the relationship that they want with each other!

Q: What are some coping skills or strategies in helping children manage their emotions?

Three ways to help children manage their emotions: Give space to emotions, validate emotions and be confident in messiness.

  • Giving space to their emotions includes being there and giving children time to calm down. Intense emotions can blur what our true needs are, and the same is for children. Space works to let parents figure out how to help their child get their needs met.
  • Acknowledging and validating emotions means letting children know that emotions are normal. Parents should teach children how to express themselves appropriately, so their needs can be met. It is also important for parents to let their children know that even in moments when emotions are intense and mistakes are made, they are still normal and loved.
  • Own the messiness! Accept and understand that it really is OK to have messiness in relationships! Where there is a mess there is an opportunity to learn and grow!

Be sure to follow @ParentSkillz, visit ShameProofParenting.com, like Mercedes on Facebook and read her 30Seconds tips!

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