5 Steps to More Effective Parenting
Raising kids is one of the toughest jobs in the world — and the one for which you might feel the least prepared. Here are nine child-rearing tips that can help you feel more fulfilled as a parent.
Boosting Your Child’s Self-Esteem
Kids start developing their sense of self as babies when they see themselves through their parents’ eyes. Your tone of voice and your every expression are absorbed by your kids. Your words and actions as a parent affect their developing self-esteem more than anything else. Լetting kids do things independently will make them feel capable and strong. Comments like “What a stupid thing to do!” or “You act more like a baby than your little brother!” cause damage just as physical blows do. Choose your words carefully and be compassionate. Let your kids know that everyone makes mistakes and that you still love them, even when you don’t love their behavior.
Catch Kids Being Good
Have you ever stopped to think about how many times you react negatively to your kids in a given day? You may find yourself criticizing far more often than complimenting. How would you feel about a boss who treated you with that much negative guidance, even if it was well intentioned?
Make a point of finding something to praise every day. Be generous with rewards — your love, hugs, and compliments can work wonders and are often reward enough. Soon you will find you are “growing” more of the behavior you would like to see.
Set Limits and Be Consistent With Your Discipline
Discipline is necessary for every household. The goal of discipline is to help kids choose acceptable behaviors and learn self-control. They may test the limits you establish for them, but they need those limits to grow into responsible adults.
Make Time for Your Kids
It’s often difficult for parents and kids to get together for a family meal. But there is probably nothing kids would like more. Get up 10 minutes earlier in the morning so you can eat breakfast with your child. Attending concerts, games, and other events with your teen communicate caring and let you get to know more about your child and his or her friends in important ways. Don’t feel guilty if you’re a working parent. It is the many little things you do — making popcorn, playing cards, window shopping — that kids will remember.
Make Communication a Priority
You can’t expect kids to do everything simply because you, as a parent, “say so.” They want and deserve explanations as much as adults do. Make your expectations clear. If there is a problem, describe it, express your feelings, and invite your child to work on a solution with you. Be sure to include consequences. Make suggestions and offer choices. Be open to your child’s suggestions as well. Negotiate. Kids who participate in decisions are more motivated to carry them out.