Parenting Tips and Tools
Here are a few ideas that may help you in your journeys as a parent. You probably already know most of them, but we all need little reminders every now and then. Keep in mind that, during the formative years, you are the most important and most influential person in your child’s life. That’s a big responsibility.
1. Know your child’s strengths and use them to build his or her successes in other life areas. Everyone is good at something and so is your child. Look for what your children do well, praise them for it and use their confidence in that area to build them up and show them how they can use this strength to handle other life areas well. It’s all about self-esteem and self-confidence and you as parents are responsible for helping your children develop positive feelings about themselves.
2. You shape behavior by rewarding what you want to see again; not just by punishing things you don’t like. It’s not that you can’t effectively ‘correct’ inappropriate behaviors in your children. ‘Time outs’ are a good way to let the child know that his or her behavior needs correcting. However, at the same time, your child must be told about another behavior that can be substituted for the inappropriate behavior. In other words, there’s no point in telling a child that a certain behavior is not appropriate if you don’t also show him or her the behavior you would like to see. If the child doesn’t know how to change their behavior for the better, they will either continue with the inappropriate behavior or find some other behavior on their own that they think is appropriate. Don’t leave it up to chance. It’s up to you to show, tell, model and instruct your child about their behaviors in a positive and constructive way.
3. Avoid over-reacting to inappropriate behaviors that your child exhibits. Stay calm and logical and offer alternatives to the behavior you don’t want to see. If you over-react, you simply show your child that your behavior is OK and you are teaching your child that emotional and reactive responses to events are OK. If you have problems with self-control, your child probably will as well.
4. Don’t compare your children. Doing so is a quick way to destroy self-esteem and confidence in the child that is not favored. It’s also a good way to pit one child against another. Parenting children is demanding enough without creating rivalries and competitions among family members.
5. Set a good example and model the behaviors that you want to see in your children. Your children are constantly observing you and trying to be like you. As parents, demonstrate the behaviors that your would like to see in your children. Always be aware of the messages you are conveying and that your children are learning. Your children will try to be the person that you are and they will try to model your behaviors. Make sure the messages are clear.
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