As a parent, your child’s safety is always top of mind, but did you know that everyone has a different safety style? The idea was developed with well-known child psychologist, author AND frequent Oprah guest, Dr. Shefali Tsabary. divine.ca recently had the opportunity to interview Dr. Shefali about her partnership with Tide and how you can use your own safety style to make your children feel safe to explore while still giving you peace of mind.
How did this partnership with Tide come about?
Tide wanted to empower parents so they could make better safety choices for their children. As a child psychologist with over 20 years of experience in the field, I’ve spoken with many different parents. There are so many parenting styles but something almost every parent has in common – concern for the safety of their children. Tide and I created this safety quiz so parents could get to know themselves better and to help them make better choices for their children.
How does knowing your safety style as a parent help your children feel safe?
When the parent understands what their inherent pre-dispositions are and their tendencies, they will be able to understand how their children are being impacted. So for example, if a parent realizes through the quiz that they are more typically a hands-off parent, then they may take some due steps so they are paying more attention when their children are younger. If another parent is too hands on, then they are going to take steps to become more laid back. Knowing your inherent style is so important and every style is good and has strengths. You just have to know which style to employ with which child, at what age.
What are some of the most common mistakes that parents make when it comes to at-home safety with their children?
They misinterpret the developmental maturity of their children and they forget that children are into everything. They underestimate how curious children are. It’s really important to keep all household products, like laundry pacs, up and away from kids. So once companies like Tide educate consumers, parents have the power to make the changes needed to protect their kids.
How did you pick the four styles in the quiz?
We did a lot of research to look at what are the common trends in mainstream parenting today. We then combined these qualities together and saw four () distinct styles. We put them together in the form of animal characteristics to make them accessible and we found that it’s been helpful for parents to see what their style is and identify what their temperament is.
Parents sometimes make punishment a component of safety. What are your thoughts on this?
You forget punishment doesn’t deter the child. The child is still going to have accidents and get into things that are not their business. There is no point in punishing them. It’s more appropriate to educate and take care of the environmental precautions themselves. Don’t leave it to the child because children are too curious – they are always going to be doing things that they are not supposed to do, so punishing them for being who they are is not fair.
Instead of punishing them, what would your tips be about teaching children about safety?
We have to teach a parent that punishment actually shames the child and creates low self-esteem; it doesn’t really help them to become safer. I think that parents punish because they feel so helpless. There are so many other ways to educate our children instead of punishing them.
You were the pioneer of Conscious Parenting and really speak with getting in touch with your child’s agenda. What tips do you have for parents to help with this and how can safety be a part of your child’s agenda?
Safety needs to be part of a more global agenda of the parent which includes paying attention. If we focus on safety when anxiety is the issue, then we are just going to micromanage our children. That’s why we did this quiz, to help parents realize that there are many ways to be conscious.
Additionally, thorough childproofing allows parents to spend more time relaxing and enjoying time with their children. Make sure to keep liquid laundry pacs up high, closed and out of reach from children – just as parents would with dozens of other household cleaning products. In addition, I love Tide’s Child Guard Tub, which provides a stronger layer of protection with a harder-to-open child-resistant lid.
How would you, as a parent, manage that stress?
If you have stress, then you have to understand that it’s going to have a negative impact on your children. You want to learn the strategies to mindfully manage that in the most careful way possible. You don’t want your children to bear the burden of your anxiety. Learning mindfulness, learning how to breathe in the moment, learning how to pause are ways to handle this stress.
What’s on your agenda for 2018?
Just spreading the message of how to live more consciously out in the world and doing talks. I was just in Vancouver and I’ll be coming to Toronto in September. I’ll keep spreading the message to parents so that they can learn to be more empowered and not feel so stressed out.
*This article is sponsored by Tide