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Parenting 101 – Tips for Parents

The following is an excerpt from an article posted by the Child Development Institute, an organization which was formed in 1999 and whose website receives over 2 million visitors per year. (See http://childdevelopmentinfo.com/about/)

Here are a few of their basic tips for successful parenting.

The goal of parenting is to teach kids to develop self-discipline. Many parents feel spanking is necessary for effective discipline. When parents learn and apply the three Fs of Effective using the parenting techniques on this page and others, they find that yelling, screaming and spanking disappear and a positive relationship is established.

Guidelines For Parent Child Relationships

  • Try to set a side time on a regular basis to do something fun with your child.
  • Never disagree about discipline in front of the children.
  • Never give an order, request, or command without being able to enforce it at the time.
  • Be consistent, that is, reward or punish the same behavior in the same manner as much as possible.
  • Agree on what behavior is desirable and not desirable.
  • Agree on how to respond to undesirable behavior.
  • Make it as clear as possible what the child is to expect if he or she performs the undesirable behavior.
  • Make it very clear what the undesirable behavior is. It is not enough to say, “Your room is messy.” Messy should be specified in terms of exactly what is meant: “You’ve left dirty clothes on the floor, dirty plates on your desk, and your bed is not made.”
  • Once you have stated your position and the child attacks that position, do not keep defending yourself. Just restate the position once more and then stop responding to the attacks.
  • Look for gradual changes in behavior. Don’t expect too much. Praise behavior that is coming closer to the desired goal.
  • Remember that your behavior serves as a model for your children’s behavior.
  • If one of you is disciplining a child and the other enters the room, that other person should not step in on the argument in progress.
  • Reward desirable behavior as much as possible by verbal praise, touch or something tangible such as a toy, food or money.
  • Both of you should have an equal share in the responsibility of discipline as much as possible.

The “3 Fs” of Effective Parenting

Discipline should be:

  • Firm: Consequences should be clearly stated and then adhered to when the inappropriate behavior occurs.
  • Fair: The punishment should fit the crime. Also in the case of recurring behavior, consequences should be stated in advance so the child knows what to expect. Harsh punishment is not necessary. Using a simple Time Out can be effective when it is used consistently every time the behavior occurs. Also, use of reward for a period of time like part of a day or a whole day when no Time Outs or maybe only one Time Out is received.
  • Friendly: Use a friendly but firm communication style when letting a children know they have behaved inappropriately and let them know they will receive the “agreed upon” consequence. Encourage them to try to remember what they should do instead to avoid future consequences. Work at “catching them being good” and praise them for appropriate behavior.

The Parent As Teacher/Coach

See your role as that of a teacher or coach to your children. Demonstrate in detail how you would like them to behave. Have them practice the behavior. Give them encouragement along with constructive criticism.

  • Try to set aside time on a regular basis to do something fun with your children.
  • Rather than tell them what not to do, teach and show them what they should do.
  • Use descriptive praise when they do something well. Say, “I like how you ____ when you ____.” Be specific.
  • Help your child learn to express how he feels. Say: “You seem frustrated.” “How are you feeling?” “Are you up set?” “You look like you are angry about that.” “It’s O.K. to feel that way.”
  • Try to see a situation the way your children do. Listen carefully to them. Try to form a mental picture of how it would look to them.
  • Use a soft, confident tone of voice to redirect them when they are upset.
  • Be a good listener: Use good eye contact. Physically get down to the level of smaller children. Don’t interrupt. Ask open ended questions rather than questions that can be answered with a yes or no. Repeat back to them what you heard.
  • Make sure they understand directions. Have them repeat them back.
  • When possible give them choices of when and how to comply with a request.
  • Look for gradual changes in behavior. Don’t expect too much. Praise behavior that is coming closer to the desired goal.
  • Develop a nonverbal sign (gesture) that your children will accept as a signal that they are being inappropriate and need to change their behavior. This helps them to respond to your prompt without getting upset.

The Use of Reward In Positive Parenting

Whenever possible try to use reward and praise to motivate your child to improve their behavior.

For younger children you can use “grandma’s rule.” Say, “When you have picked up all your clothes, you may go out and play.” Be sure you use “when” rather than “if.”

Combine reward with time out for serious disruptive or defiant behaviors. Say, “Every time you ____, you will have a ____ time out. If you can go the whole (day, afternoon, etc.) without getting a time-out, you will earn ____..

The First Time Club

If you are having trouble getting your child to do something when you ask, have him become a member of “The First Time Club.”

  1. Make up a chart with 30 squares.
  2. Tell the child that each time he does something the first time he is asked, a happy face will be placed in a square. When all the squares are completed, he will earn a reward.
  3. Mutually agree on the reward. For younger children, you can place a picture of the reward on the chart or for older children you can write it on the chart.
  4. Then practice with the child how he is to behave. “Each time I ask you to do something, I want you to: (1) Use good eye contact, (2) Listen quietly, (3) Say OK I will ____. then (4) Do it.” Practice this, making a number of requests.
  5. Then start the program.

Be sure to praise him for each success during practice as well as when the program starts. By the time the squares are filled, he will have developed a new habit. When he completes the program, provide the reward immediately. Take the chart down and let him have it as part of the reward. Continue to use praise and encouragement to make sure this new habit remains and becomes even stronger.

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