- Be respectful at all
times: Discipline is communicated and enforced without humiliation,
and differences are resolved
with no use of put-downs, insults or name-calling. When
correcting inappropriate behaviors comment on the unacceptable
not the child. For instance, a child hits their friend,
instead of "No hitting-you’re a bad girl!" say "You
may not hit-hitting hurts!" The message is: hitting
is not acceptable - I care for you, but not what you did.
- Spend time with your children: Children require constant
education and support to grow into capable young people. Kids
do not develop in a vacuum. Dads and moms who are available to
play with their infant, read books with their toddler, help siblings
to problem solve a rivalry issue, monitor homework or answer
preteen and teen’s questions about important social issues,
not only provide support and information but convey the message, "You
are my top priority."
- Ask open-ended questions: When
talking with your child avoid questions that will illicit one
word responses, such as; ‘Did
you have fun today? – yes! or How was school? - fine.’ Instead
ask; ‘What did you do today? What did you like best about
the field trip? or Tell me about your day…’ Then
really LISTEN and respond with more open-ended questions and
comments. * Create a secure and loving home environment:
Children flourish in homes that are stable, calm and secure.
Where they know they are safe, that adults will be there when
they need help. Where they feel secure knowing that gentle voices
and hands will assist them during life’s many ups and
downs. Also, when they know that laughter and love will be
- Talk openly with your children: Kids thrive when families communicate
regularly. Discuss family issues and limits calmly and respectfully,
ask for your child’s point of view. Avoid yelling, nagging
and lecturing. Do not try to solve problems during an argument.
Instead, wait until you have calmed down, then discuss the issues
in a constructive way. Be open to listening to the child’s
thoughts and concerns, often they will come up with an appropriate
solution. Hearing the mini-crisis of your child’s day
may seem minor, however, a parents willingness to listen to
the day to day issues encourages children to come to you for advice
or council when their problems get tougher.
- Hold Family Meetings:
To solve problems, set limits, create family job boards,
and discuss family issues, with the cooperation of all family members.
This is key to creating a respectful, loving atmosphere while
helping children develop responsibility, co-operation, self-discipline,
and problem solving skills. During family meetings children
can help decide the logical consequences for not doing one's
jobs, breaking limits, not acting responsibly, or other family
- Set and enforce clear behavioral limits and guidelines: Kids
need guidance and structure. They want parents who will teach
them right from wrong, then reiterate those limits over and
over. Often children will test limits just to see if the parent
will stand firm, when parents are consistent they give their child(ren)
a sense of security in knowing what to expect. Children with
no clear limits feel out of control and insecure, they will
push and push until someone says STOP.
- Tell them they’re GREAT:
Great kids feel loved by their parents. They feel independent,
secure and appreciated for their
individual differences and personal strengths. Encourage
and support your children to grow and experience new challenges
based upon their interests and talents. Continual hugs, kisses
and smiles help develop a strong sense of self and let children
know they are on the right track.
From the book The Parenting Puzzle by Alix Hall