Better Parenting

by David and Charissa Scotford

Volcanos and Funnels - Part 1


Start with less choices

One of the most useful tips we ever learnt with our children was to parent them “inside the funnel” Sounds a bit weird, I know, but bear with me and I’ll try to explain what I mean!

A good place to start is to picture the shape of a funnel or a ‘V’ in your head. The funnel represents the verbal and physical freedoms that your child has at each stage of their development.

Down the bottom of the funnel, where it is smallest, is indicative of where your young baby should be i.e. they don’t have many freedoms or choices because they are young and don’t have the mental, physical or moral capabilities to make many choices on their own.

Then, as they get older and mature, they move up in the funnel. As the funnel spreads out, so do their freedoms. The older and more mature and responsible they become, the more choices they are able to make on their own.

So, a baby should be sitting at the bottom of the funnel, a toddler a little further up, then a child even further up and then a teen at the top of the funnel. It makes sense to most people that the more responsible our children become, the more we can trust them with.

However, what we often find parents doing is turning this funnel upside down. An upside down funnel looks a lot like a volcano! Volcanos are volatile, unpredictable, uncontrollable and can do a lot of damage.

Over the next few months, I’d like to look at how we can keep our funnels the right way up and parent our children within age and developmentally appropriate guidelines. A funnel is a lot easier to work with than a volcano!

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