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Parenting Pointers

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 3:34 PM
Friday, September 17, 2010

By Alvaro Castillo

The parenting pointers below are pointers for children six months to 65 years or older. Our children are always our children and we always need to treat them with love and with a great deal of respect, whatever their age. At some point, as our children become teenagers, we realize that our job as parents is evolving and we need to enable our children to take on more responsibility and achieve greater independence.

At that point parents start to become consultants, assuming that we have brought our children up with good values, the rest is up to them.  We should have helped them learn to manage their day to day life and only our occasional guidance should be needed. I know you may feel desperate. At these times, stop, walk away, call a friend or emergency hot line, make a cup of tea, hop into a quick cold shower, breathe slowly, count to 100, write, but don’t take out your feelings on your child.

Taking out your frustrations or worries on your child won’t help your relationship with them or other family members, and it is a sign that you, the adult, are out of control. If you are worried about them miss behaving or making mistakes all you will see is their mistakes.  Try catch your child “being good.” Everyone loves to be praised and there’s always something good and probably lots wonderful about your child too. You may just be examining your child’s decisions with a  too-critical eye.  Try coming up with at least five nice things to say a day. Praise your child for appropriate behavior and ask them to tell you “good” things they have done, especially since you aren’t always around to observe. Don’t worry about interrupting them if you catch them in a quiet moment. It will be well worth it and they’ll get back into whatever they were doing.

Involve your children in your daily life this includes things like helping cook dinner, plan meals, and other household chores. Let them know what you’re doing and find out how they spent their day. Sometimes it may be easier to do things yourself or do it “for them,” your children need to be involved. Feeling useful and needed is essential to building good self-esteem.

Children are part of your family team and have important contributions to make. They also learn to respect you and themselves by being more involved. Remember consistency is the key to good parenting.  Say what you mean and and model that behavior if you want your children to be able to understand that there are rules within and outside of a family.

Saying that you will do something and then not following through teaches children that not following through is acceptable behavior   It also teaches children not trust the very people who are most important to them. You are the boss and the role model for appropriate behavior, and your children need to know that it is you and not them who run the house.

If you are afraid of your child or feel that they are running the house, get help fast as bigger children have bigger problems. Discipline your child with love. Punishment should be used only as a last resort, punishments should be fair and should fit the crime. Excessive punishment will backfire and true discipline is really the teaching of appropriate acceptable behavior.  Typically this can be done with consequences not punishments.

When teaching that a behavior is inappropriate, let them know why it is inappropriate and then suggest what they can do instead. Don’t belabor your point, give repeated warnings or get into a power struggle with your child. Make sure that your expectations are realistic. Schedule time with your children like game nights.  These times are wonderful opportunities to become closer. These are not opportunities for lecturing but rather for listening to and enjoying each other.

Step back and hear what your child has to say. You may be surprised to discover that you like how they thinks and that they have a lot to contribute. If you start early, you’ll discover that listening to an adolescent can be a real joy.

Talk with and to your child. Yelling, screaming, nagging, talking down, threatening and any other similar behavior does not improve the relationship. The best “teachable moments” are not during a crisis but during those unexpected times together, such as car pooling or on a walk.

Actions speak louder than words. Children learn by imitating your behavior, so make sure you’re happy with it. Look after yourself. You need time to refuel just by yourself without anyone, but if you are in a relationship you will also need “couple time.” If you don’t make your partnership a priority now you may discover that when you children are older, your marriage feels meaningless and you are unhappy.

We all make mistakes. It’s important to be forgiving with your children and move beyond the mistake. Hug them, hold them, make time for them and let them know that there is nothing more precious in your life than they are.

If you feel that your relationship with your children is not what you want it to be, or if you feel they have behavioral problems that are impacting others, don’t sit idly by waiting for things to change.  They won’t. Children don’t “outgrow” their problems.  Those small issues if not dealt with now will often become larger issues as your child gets older. If you want to change your relationship with your child, you might have to do something differently. Parenting is not easy work and most of us learn by on-the-job experience

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