The three keys I think all parents should know and use in their daily routines are awareness, context and education in that order. These three topics outline three skills that you can practice in order to benefit your child. They spell out the acronym ‘ACE’, making it easy to remember.
Let’s look at the first one called awareness. There are so many things that remain hidden or below our level of awareness. While it is true we live in a time of hustle and bustle, stress is perceived as par for the course, and kids have daily routines that bounce from here to there, I believe it all comes down to an awareness of what the reality is from your child’s point of view. If we can be aware of the actual perceived feelings, thoughts, visual and auditory cues your child is receiving in realtime, then we have a chance at understanding and helping them to cope with this world we are living in.
The second key is context. I delve into this topic in much more detail when I am conversing with parents in my office but suffice it to say the contextual framework has so much importance I cannot emphasize it enough. In medicine, we have a tendency to zero in on lab values, physical symptoms, and visible parameters. What I want to focus on is the context of your child’s situation. We have to take into account the surrounding environment, family dynamics, school situation, peer group interactions, and a whole host of other categories that make up the context of what your child is experiencing every day. Once we open up this framework and explore these topics, any condition or situation becomes much more understandable to all concerned.
Finally, I want to touch on education. We all know how important education is to kids for their overall growth and development. What I want to remind parents about is the importance of education beyond the classroom. What I mean is, your child has life lessons to learn at various stages and ages during their lives. Since many of these are long term and ongoing topics like developing individuality, self reliance, self confidence and self esteem, and personal interactivity and rapport with others, they tend to get the short end of the stick when it comes to our focus and attention.
But by educating ourselves (you and me included) we can be in the best position possible to help your child through their formative and very important growing years. I guess what I’m trying to say is keep learning, exploring, contrasting and comparing what you know to what you don’t know yet. I believe this is the best stance to model for your kids and the nice side effect is it will keep you young at heart and constantly engaged in your child’s daily life, even after they are all grown up and on their own.
So remember these three keys with the acronym ACE: Awareness, Context and Education. I know it will help you as it has helped me to learn new things every day as a holistic physician and pediatrician.