Positive Parenting Tips for Raising Children

Sunday, November 23, 2014
Parenting, though very difficult most of the time, is the most rewarding job any person can have.  As parents, we often spend sleepless nights wondering if we made the right decision or worrying about what our child will do next. Or perhaps you’re on the other side, praising your child to no end knowing they can do no wrong, until one day…

The truth is, there is no magic formula or rulebook, no foolproof guarantee that we are always going to get it right. Parenting takes on a new form each day and with each new child. We make mistakes and learn as we go.

Just as we wish our teachers would recognize our child is different from the next, we must also do the same. Every situation and every child calls for a different set of “rules,” but there are also some avenues we must all take because, after all, what we do have in common is that we are raising little human beings to be able to take care of themselves one day.

This week was a tough one for me. We were fresh off of an 11-day vacation. The kids didn't want to return to school. In addition to returning to work, I was up to my eyeballs in laundry and odds and ends around the house. Add to that one of my daughters had early dismissal all week. Needless to say, we were all a little cranky this week.

I short circuited twice, had a mini meltdown of sorts and excused myself from the room for a time out. As a result, I took a step back and evaluated how we were feeling and dealing with all of the responsibilities that we left behind during our vacation that we, once again, had no option but to deal with.
Here are a few tips to help you deal with every day parenting. Though not comprehensive for every child, every child will benefit from these tips.

Set realistic boundaries. Be consistent and follow through. As a child, I always knew I could get to the 3rd or 4th threat before my parents would actually follow through with the punishment, because that’s what they always gave me: threats. There was rarely a consequence. In fact, I think I was only grounded 2 or 3 times.

Setting boundaries and following through with the consequences outlined is one of the most fundamental aspects of being a parent. Let your children know the rules and what will happen if they break them. When they do, because they most likely will at least once per rule, follow through with the consequence. They will know you mean business and they will understand the value of a boundary.

Give choices. Often times children don’t like what we have to offer. Especially once you hit the twos through the teens (OK, maybe all of their lives) you will find they often want to do the exact opposite of what you ask. So, give them choices—perhaps even with punishments. Come up with two choices in which you can live with the outcome. Have them choose one. You win and they win.

Make time for your children. Spending time with your children is one of the most important things you can do for them. This lets them know you are interested in who they are and allows you to get to know them. They change each day and want to know you care. Talk to them in the car. Set aside time at dinner. Set aside a time before bed. Create a consistent, protected time during each day to be sure they get your attention.

Prove that you love them unconditionally. They are going to make mistakes. So are you. Proving that you love them no matter what will go a long way in their book. Issuing consequences doesn’t have to come from a cold place. Tell them you’re disappointed you have to issue the consequence, but that you love them and care about them. Be sure they know the consequence isn’t a punishment because you’re mad, but because you love them.

Be brave. Allow yourself to be uncomfortable. They are going to fall. They are going to skin their knees trying to ride their bike. They are going to tell an innocent lie to get to walk around the mall with their friends alone. They are going to make mistakes. Let them! In a safe way of course, but allow them to make mistakes. The truth is, we learn best when we have to learn for ourselves. 

Parenting is uncomfortable a lot of the time, but making it too comfortable for your children can be detrimental to your child’s future. Allow them to fall and be there to pick them up when they do.
Don’t teach them to brush their teeth by doing it for them. Show them how to brush their teeth and let them learn themselves.

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