Ten Tips for Parents

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Use Genuine Encounter Moments (GEMS)
The self-esteem of children is greatly influenced by the quality of time spent with them, not the amount. Busy lives cause many parents to think about the next thing they have to do instead of focusing attention on their children. If children don't receive GEMS throughout the day, they may misbehave-feeling that negative attention is better than no attention.

Actions speak louder than words
Statistics reveal children receive over 2,000 compliance requests a day. As a result, many become parent deaf. Instead of nagging or yelling, search for an action.

Give children appropriate ways to feel power
If parents don't, children will find inappropriate ways to feel their power. Ways to help them feel powerful are to ask their advice, give them choices, let them help balance the check book, help with household tasks-even if you can do these tasks yourself with less hassle.

Use natural consequences
When parents consistently interfere in situations, they rob children of learning opportunities. Allowing consequences to do the talking, rather than constant nagging or reminding.

Use logical consequences

Often the natural consequences may be too severe or far in the future to be of practical use. When this is the case, logical consequences are effective. It is important for consequences to be logically related to the behavior in order for them to work. If a child forgets to return the overdue video, and they are grounded for a week, that punishment only creates resentment.

Instead, return it for them and deduct the fee from their allowance, or allow them to work-off the money owed. In this manner, the child can see the logic of the discipline.

Withdraw from conflict
If a child is throwing a temper tantrum to test the patience of their parents, or speaks disrespectfully, parents should leave the room and tell the child when they want to "try again" to come talk. Don't leave in anger or defeat.

Separate the deed from the doer
Never tell a child they are bad. Instead, help the child recognize what it was about their behavior that was inappropriate or intolerable. Behaviors may be wrong, but the child still needs to feel loved, no matter what they may do.

Be consistent, follow through
Children need to have a consistent message sent to them. It is equally important to follow through. If a child knows they are not to have candy after 8:00 p.m., no matter how much pouting, tears, pleas, or demands, there should be no candy after 8:00 p.m.

Parent with the end in mind
Most parents look for the most expedient solution. This often results in children who feel overpowered. It is important to keep in mind the way parents want their children to be as adults and be more thoughtful in the way they parent.

Be kind and firm at the same time
Parents often get frustrated when their children do not comply or behave. Frustration can easily lead to anger. As parents, it is very important to remain as calm as possible. Being firm doesn't require the use of yelling.

Reprinted with permission of The Ohio State University Extension Service
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