Treating each other with care & respect
Once the meeting starts, welcome everyone and ask the participants: • Who can help us remember what we talked about in our last meeting? • Who was able to do the activity at home that we asked you to do at the end of the meeting? How did it go? • Does anyone have questions or concerns after doing the activity?
What are we going to learn?
We are going to learn how to create a family environment that helps strengthen relationships with the children.
What are some new practical activities that you can do to show affection and attention to threeyear-olds?
LET’S TALK ABOUT IT! We are going to look at some pictures, so we can talk about what we all know about this topic.
How have you seen children react when you give them your attention?
What do you do at home to establish a better relationship with young children?
section 8 / 3 years • meeting 47
“The 3 A’s” We are going to learn some of the characteristics of three-year-olds in order to better understand them, respect them and show them affection.
What we’ll need: • Flip chart paper • Markers
WHAT WE’LL DO: Ask participants to explain in their own words what respect and affection mean to them. • Then ask each participant to mention the name of a person that they respect and have great affection for, and why. • Hang a piece of flipchart paper on the wall with the following message written on it: “Three-yearold children want to be like their mother or father, so parents need to set an example and encourage their children to do good things.” • Ask the group if they have seen children imitating those who are older than them. How does this make them feel, to think about being an example for those who are younger? • Put up another piece of flipchart paper on the wall with information about the characteristics of three-year old children (see below). • Discuss the reactions that adults sometimes have towards a three-year olds’ behavior... Do they make them laugh? Are they impatient? Do they punish them? What responses express respect, attention and care and which ones don’t? How can we improve our expressions of care and acceptance towards children, and have a better relationship with them? • To finish up, tell parents that each time they remember, they should look for a way to show their children the “3 A’s”…every day they should give children big doses of: Attention, Acceptance and Affection.
CHARACTERISTICS OF A THREE-YEAR OLD: • Girls imitate their mothers and boys imitate their fathers. • Children are interested in touching their own genital area. This is normal at this age and it’s not “bad” for them to do it. • They play with other children for short periods of time. • They understand the meaning of yesterday.
What did we learn today? Now, we’ll review what we discussed today. • How do you feel after this meeting? Why? • What are the two most important things you’ve learned today? • What will you do differently based on what you learned during the meeting? • What did you like the most? Are there things you didn’t like? • Do you have any remaining concerns or questions about what we talked about? To finish, what would you recommend to improve today’s meeting when we do it again with another group. (Explain that answering this question will help the meeting be even better in the future for parents with small children.)
To do at home:
• Ask parents to take note of how many times a day they give Attention, Acceptance, and Affection to their children, and help set an example of love and respect towards each other. • Ask parents to give their children 3 hugs each day (at morning, noon, and night) along with words of love and praise.
Basic information for the facilitator: Learning more about treating each other with care and respect: Children between two and three years of age start to understand the difference between themselves and others. They begin to identify and recognize themselves, as well as give value to themselves. It is one of the most important moments in a child’s development when they start to depend on outside information, and construct a sense of SELF: A SELF that is secure, independent and confident in him/herself and in others - in contrast to a SELF that is insecure, dependent, lacking confidence and doesn’t believe in him/herself or in others. The difference between the two depends on how a child is treated by their parents and caregivers or extended families, but primarily by their parents. Carl Jung defines this stage as one where a mother should start to “teach a child to trust in love” and a father should start to “teach a child to trust in life.” One parent should teach what it means to give and receive trust and what it means to love, while the other should teach what is trustworthy and safe about life. At this age it is also important to teach faith in God through the promises in the Word of God and through prayer.
section 8 / 3 years • meeting 47
88 It is recommended that you use the technique of the 3A’s to help support children in their personal development: Attention, Acceptance, and Affection.
1- Attention: It is very important that a child at this age (and actually, until the age of 18) receive
attention from the people closest to them. This means that their primary needs are taken care of: food, daily hygiene, sleep, they are listened to and feel the freedom to talk about what is important to them. It is also important that they feel they are being taken seriously, and not laughed at. For them, everything is important. Laughing, mocking or joking about the child and not listening to them doesn’t give importance to what they say, it doesn’t give them space to talk with the family and it sends the message “I’m not worth listening to – I’m not loved enough to be paid attention to”, etc.
2-Acceptance: After a child receives attention he/she should be able to feel total and absolute
acceptance for being EXACTLY AS THEY ARE, both physically and emotionally: Physically, they should feel accepted and valued whether they are tall, thin, curly or straight haired, with whatever eye color, etc. Emotionally, no matter how they behave (even if it’s negative) they should feel understood and not judged nor harshly labeled. For example: never tell children that they look like their ugly single aunt or like their fat uncle, or that they are as thin as a stick. We should always do our part to speak with kind words – respecting the child by saying nice things, like: “what pretty eyes you have, your hair looks nice, that shirt is lovely on you, what a nice walk, etc”. Always talk about how a child acts instead of labeling them with that action, for example, don’t say: “you’re a coward, you’re a tantrum-thrower, you’re a crybaby”, etc. Instead speak of when you feel scared, or when you are mad - what can be done to resolve it. When a child is crying first try to calm them and then talk about it – never labeling or mocking him or her. Throughout the day there are many moments that give us the opportunity to show children that they are valued, accepted and are not being judged, labeled, or critiqued. It is important to introduce the concept that God has made us how we are and we have huge potential, even if we are still very small.
3- Affection: Children who have received care, affection and love from their parents and
caregivers from a very young age, have the opportunity to feel good, accepted, cared for and valued. Contact with children at this age should be very close, with hugs, kisses and other demonstrations of love, words of affection and worth. A child will learn that it is normal to show affection to those that we love, and that it is something that both parents can give. Children will soon learn to give these expressions of affection. In contrast, the absence of affection reinforces a low self-image, making children feel that they don’t deserve affection, leading to a total sense of personal insecurity.