Parent Tips: Set 3 - 5 Mistakes Even Good Parents Make

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Even the best parents are known to make mistakes. But when mistakes become a pattern it's important to weed them out! Once you identify your problem area it's easier to correct it and move on. Here are five of the most common mistakes:

1. Explaining Too Much
Yes, children need reasons for the things we ask of them. But they don't need a reason for everything. Too many reasons just encourage a child to argue and find a logical argument for each reason you give. When is it OK not to explain? When your child knows your answer without being told, when the reason will just cause an endless argument, or if the reason is too complex for your child to understand. At these times go ahead and use that time-honored jewel, "Because I said so, that's why!"

2. Changing Your Mind
Of course its fine to change your mind when YOU have a valid reason. Just don't get backed into a corner by a persistent, annoying child who won't take no for an answer. When the pestering begins simply repeat your first answer and leave the room. End of story.

3. Yelling to be Heard
If your kids don't respond to you, do you find yourself getting louder and louder? Its easier to gain compliance by stating your request in a firm, non-nonsense voice and then following through with action. For example, if you call your child in for dinner and he doesn't come, don't raise your volume! Instead, go outside, take him by the hand and lead him into the house. If his friends are watching I guarantee it will be the last time you have to retrieve him.

4. Repeating Yourself
The more you talk, the less they hear. If you are prone to repeat your requests your children will learn to wait until your breaking point to listen. In other words, they know that if they can put up with the drone of your voice nothing bad will really happen. Make it a habit to say it once, and then take action.

5. Picking Too Many Battles
If you are fighting with your kids from sun up to sun down, I'll bet you are picking the wrong battles, There is no such thing as a perfect kid. Let the little stuff slide, and use your energy to handle the important issues. When you take your stand on fewer issues, your children will be more likely to cooperate with you.

Mini-Tip

Q: How can I stop my kids from fighting with each other?

A: You can't. Siblings have fought since the beginning of time. Take heart, though, its thought that siblings learn much about life from each other - how to negotiate, how to compromise, and how to understand the differences in people .

There are ways to direct your children's interactions so that they serve as more productive life lessons. Try these ideas:

Ignore the petty squabbles. If it bothers YOU ask them to take it elsewhere.

When the kids' argument gets out of hand, sit them on the sofa (opposite ends). Tell them they can get up when they have resolved the issue. (For younger kids, you can mediate.)

Credits: Elizabeth Pantley

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