When I have an opportunity, I really enjoy watching TED talks. They are fantastic and give some great food for thought. One of my favorites lately, which I’ve attached below, is one from Colin Powell. He is a beautiful speaker, and he makes a strong case for the importance of structure in the lives of children. As a therapist, a parent, and especially as a parent of a child with a disability, I know first hand how vital structure can be for families.
1. It decreases anxiety for both parents and children. It’s calming. When kids have a daily routine with clear expectations, they worry less and feel happier because they know whats happening when. Parents as well have a foundation from which to function so they too can feel less crazed.
2. It frees up the minds of children to be able to focus on fun and learning. Structure allows kids to be kids and not have to take on the concerns and decision-making responsibilities of adults.
3. Structure provides parents a framework for becoming better parents. When you have a day-to-day foundation for how things should run in your household, it allows you to see more clearly what is going well and what is not. You can pay better attention to your family members and connect better with them because you are not as overwhelmed.
4. Helps decrease arguments. When you are consistent in your family structure and rules, suddenly you have the ability to say “that’s not what we do”, when you find yourself in the throes of a battle over your 2 year old’s bed time, your 6 year old’s meal time, or why your 12-year-old cannot have Instagram.
5. It increases self-esteem and self-confidence for kids. When children function within a clear structure, they can be more successful since they know and understand what is expected of them. Greater success = positive feedback = increased feelings of self-worth
Bottom line is, when things are feeling crazed and out of control, it’s usually because I’m not sticking with the structure that works for our family. When I put that back in place, without fail, I see a calmer and happier family. Just click on the link below to watch the Colin Powell TED talk and enjoy!