|Raising kids today
is arguably harder than ever before. But, there are some ways to help ease
the stress and strain of raising your little ones and prevent behavior
problems through good parenting.
- Establish "together time" Establish a
regular weekly routine for doing something special with your child -- even
if itís just going out for ice cream
- Donít be afraid to ask where your kids are
going and who theyíll be with. Get to know your kidís friends -- and their
parents -- so youíre familiar with their activities.
- Try to be there after school when your
child gets home.
- Eat together often. Meals are a great time
to talk about the day and bond.
- Be a better listener. Ask and encourage
questions. Ask your kidís input about family decisions. Showing your
willingness to listen will make your child feel more comfortable about
opening up to you.
- Donít react in a way that will cut off
further discussion. If your child says things that challenge or shock you,
turn them into a calm discussion.
- Be a living, day to day, example of your
value system. Show the compassion, honesty, generosity and openness you
want your child to have.
- Know that there is no such thing as "do as
I say, not as I do" when it comes to your kids.
- Examine your own behavior.
- Reward good behavior consistently and
immediately. Expressions of love, appreciation, and thanks go a long way Ė
even for kids who think themselves too old for hugs.
- Accentuate the positive. Emphasize what
your kid does right. Restrain the urge to be critical. Affection and
respect will reinforce good (and change bad) behavior. Embarrassment or
- Create rules. Discuss in advance the
consequences of breaking them. Donít make empty threats or let the
rule-breaker off easy. Donít impose harsh or unexpected new punishments.
- Set a curfew. Enforce it strictly, but be
ready to negotiate on special occasions.
- Have kids check in at regular times. Give
them a phone card, change or even a pager, with clear rules for using it.
- Call parents whose home is to be used for
a party. On a party night, donít be afraid to stop in to say hello (and
make sure that adult supervision is in place).
- Listen to your instincts. Donít be afraid
to intervene if your gut reaction tells you somethingís wrong.
- Let your children know how much you care
in every situation you can, and especially when they are having problems.
- Keep a positive attitude about your
ability to be a parent. Trust your instincts.
- Take care of yourself. Meet your needs for
support with other adults so you can establish healthy parent-child
- Take time to teach your children values
while they are young. Live your own values every day.
- Make your home a safe, secure, and
positive environment. Provide appropriate privacy for each family member.
- Get involved in your childís school, your
neighborhood, and your community. You, not the teachers and other
authority figures in your childís life, are responsible for parenting your
- Set clear rules and limits for your
children. Be flexible and adjust the rules and limits as they grow and are
able to set them for themselves.
- Follow through with consequences for your
childrenís misbehavior. Be certain the consequences are immediate and
relate to the misbehavior, not your anger.
- Let your children take responsibility for
their own actions. They will learn quickly if misbehavior results in
unpleasant natural consequences.
- Be a guide for your children. Offer to
help with homework, in social situations, and with concerns about the
future. Be there to help them direct and redirect their energy and to
understand and express their feelings.
- You are separate from your child. Let go
of the responsibility for all of your childrenís feelings or outcome of
their decisions. Your childrení successes or failures are theirs, not
- Provide an environment for your children
where a foundation of mutual appreciation, support, and respect is the
basis of your relationship into their adult years.