Parent Talk: Positive Options

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Quick!! List 5 positives about each person in your house and about being a parent. Being positive is not always easy. Don't we all know it! Here is a list of 25 options to help keep a positive attitude.

1) Set clear expectations and rules. Having house rules in writing helps let everyone know where they stand. Be direct when stating rules or directions - NO ONE IS A MIND READER.

2) Be positive - state directions with a warm, friendly tone and in an encouraging way. If you blame the world, so will the children.

3) "Thank you" - two small words that speak volumes. They show not only appreciation but that you are paying attention to not only the negative but to the helpful things also.

4) Be reasonable - remember age, ability and responsibility levels. Setting unreasonable goals sets everyone up to fail.

5) Try re-directing a child's attention to something positive. Especially with others around, they may be looking for negative behavior (remember negative is better than nothing).

6) Some children and adults need adjustment time. Give notice of upcoming change. If the change is big, give enough time for the child to have time to think about it and ask questions.

7) Give options only if they are what you can live with. "You can do your homework after school or after supper." Then stick to the decision.

8) Ask only if you are ready for the answer, no matter what. "Would you do the dishes?" If they say no-you asked, you didn't give a direction.

9) Be quick and to the point. Lectures only serve to bore and anger. Say what you mean and mean what you say.

10) State the rule and/or consequence calmly. Anger only gives the child reason to blame others and not look inside.

11) Be flexible. Sometimes with good reason it's OK to bend a rule. Snack time is 8:00 p.m. but after a hard job it's nice to get a small treat. State reasons for the bend in the rules.

12) Help your child to find other ways of dealing with anger and frustration.

13) At a calm time, talk with your child about how his/her behavior affects others. Develop an alternative to the problem behavior.

14) Be honest with your own feelings. Let your child see you work through those feelings and problems.

15) Allow children to express the fact they hate that job or rule. They still have to do it or follow it, but even adults complain. Kids can too (not to excess).

16) It's OK to make lists for jobs, appointments, chores, etc.

17) Try contracts. Sue agrees to pick up her clothes for one week. In return, Sue earns money or some other privilege.

18) Ask the child with the problem how he/she is going to solve it. Listen, ask for clarification, ask about possible consequences, and let them do the thinking. (Love and Logic)

19) Let the child own their problems, then they will also own the successes. (Love and Logic)

20) Remember, childhood is great, after we're adults. It was tough going through it the first time.

21) If you're willing to write yourself reminders or to repeatedly remind your spouse of some request, it's OK to remind the kids.

22) Once in a while do something unexpected, like have a picnic in the living room in the middle of winter. Break the monotony.

23) Get some exercise either alone or as a family. Exercise loosens the tension in the body.

24) Humor-it's OK to laugh--even at those irritating things.

25) SMILE, SMILE, SMILE.

Credits: Carol Woodmansee

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