Parenting is not for the faint of heart…especially if you parenting 2 year olds, or 17 year olds for that matter, they kind of have some similarities!
We’ve scoured the net and found some solid parenting advice that is timeless and ageless.
- Set your expectations before they are needed. If you are headed out to the grocery store, let the kids know what is expected from them. Make decisions on the candy question before it comes up. Give them responsibilities when you get to the store. Kids love to feel helpful just like you do. Not only will they feel a sense of purpose, but it will keep their little minds busy, instead of finding trouble along the aisle.
- Keep things positive. Rather than always saying ‘No’, try something like this…”That’s a good idea but today, we can do (this) or (this). Which would you rather do?” Children love to practice independence and autonomy…give them lots of opportunities to hone their skills.
- Give options that achieve the same answer. “Would you like to put your shoes on or would you like me to help you?” Avoid options that allow one of the choices to be completely contrary to your goals.
- Create logical consequences. This can be tough. I can’t tell you how many times a consequence was more a punishment for me than for them…For example, grounding kids from playing with friends…let’s be honest, is that really what you want to have happen? If the crime didn’t involve a friend, think twice.
- Empathize– Don’t we all just want to be heard and understood? Sometimes, kids just have rough days. They don’t always have the verbal skills to express their angst or feelings of fear and insecurity can come out as anger and tantrums. Try to understand that the anger isn’t always about what it seems. Dig deeper in understanding them.
- Increase the love and hugs. This is so important! In today’s busy, disconnected world, we don’t spend enough time unplugged from technology to really connect with our family. A hug from out of the blue to one of your kids, whether they are acting lovable or not, is one of the best ways to connect and get their attention that you are on their team.
- Reasoning. Not all kids can calm down enough to talk and reason things through. If your child is so upset and angry, that isn’t the time to talk it out. Remain calm yourself and be patient while they settle themselves. Escalating the anger is not going to end well for either of you. They will soon learn that you won’t approach them until they have been able to manage their temper.
- Give them time. Sometimes, all kids want is a little bit of your time. You will find that it doesn’t have to be an all day event, but even 15 minutes out of your day to call them, hold an impromptu carpet picnic or a shared snack will buy you hours of pleasant behavior.
- Teach them to work. Teaching kids to work can feel like herding cats but it’s worth it to try and start early so it becomes a habit. They are more apt to co operate if you work along side them and when the work is done, point out successful the project was so they can see the effect of their hard work. It’s hard, when working with kids to be critical if they don’t do it the way you would. Be patient. Allow them to feel pride in their best efforts.
- Time outs. Time outs from parenting is important. Take a little time each day to regroup, relax and accomplish something of interest to you. Of course, there will be days when even 5 minutes is impossible but take the 5 minutes anyways. Make sure you spend time with your spouse, away from the kids.
What are your best parenting techniques?