Advice Column, Parenting

10 Parenting Resolutions for the New Year

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Become Aware Of Moments Of Frustration
Getting frustrated is a part of being human.  When your child is not being cooperative or your multiples are engaging in sibling rivalry, it is easy to let your frustration flare up and control your next words or actions.  Just once, take notice of a moment of frustration and focus on how it feels. Pause, don’t speak or act.  Relax your entire body and allow it to pass before moving forward.

See Your Child’s Resistances As A Wake Up Call
When your child resists your requests, he may be trying to tell you that he’s had it with your commands and demands. Children crave power and being heard and seen in the family. When they are constantly being ordered around, they begin to resist. He could be trying to tell you that he feels disconnected from you. Use his resistance as a “check in” on the relationship. Have you been spending enough quality time with him, in which you’ve been listening more than talking?

Become More Proactive Instead Of Reactive
Setting rules and limits in advance is necessary for teaching children about boundaries, respect, and safety. They work best when established in advance respectfully, and engaging your child to help you in creating them motivates her to acknowledge them and follow through. Keeping limits and boundaries in place may require posting them for all to see and reviewing them frequently, but don’t overdo it.

Speak Respectfully Of The Child’s Other Parent
We all hope our child will grow up to become a person of integrity and they’re more likely to do so if we give them a model to learn from. Whether you’re separated, going through a divorce, or just mad at your spouse, commit to always speaking respectfully about that other parent in the presence of your child. Your child still sees them as their parent, regardless of the issue you may have with that other adult.

See Your Child As A Good Child And Not Bad
Adults who take my 3-week parenting class quickly learn that their children are not bad. Instead, their children have what’s known as “learned behaviors” that can be difficult to deal with. Some of the behaviors can also be coping skills. A few changes in a parent’s discipline toolbox can make all the difference in the world. Don’t be angry with your child; be patient and kind and open to learning.

Catch Your Child Behaving And Acknowledge Them For It
We’re so good at noticing and confronting misbehavior, but reinforcing GOOD behavior is far more powerful. Unfortunately, when our children are behaving our attention is allowed to focus on the other stressful things we have to do in our adult life. Slow down and begin looking for appropriate behavior in your children and make a big deal of it. Say to them, “I love it when you play nicely with your sister!”

Give Your Child Advance Notices Of A Transition Often
Younger children live only in the moment and have great difficulty seeing beyond NOW.  Because of that, they don’t transition well without advanced warnings. Visual timers and visual schedules are incredibly effective at helping children to transition because they enable the child to see how much time is passing and the activities that are planned next. Avoid demanding and commanding and use one of these tools.

Make More Emotional Deposit Than Withdrawals
In his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families, author Stephen R. Covey urges parents to make more deposits than withdrawals in their children’s emotional bank accounts. The result will be greater cooperation and less misbehavior. Examples of deposits include encouraging words, acts of kindness, and demonstrations of love. What deposits have you made in your children’s EBAs this past month?

See A Misbehavior In Your Child As A Desire For Some Need
A mother noticed that her little son was drawing on walls and other surfaces more and more. She tried every discipline technique she could but his drawings continued. Finally, she went out and purchased a drawing easel and a colorful set of markers and crayons. The boy began to draw amazing pictures on his easel pad and no longer defaced other surfaces. Take a closer look at behaviors that may actually be needs in disguise.

Help Your Child Move Closer Toward Their Purpose In Life
Some believe that each of us was placed on this earth by a greater power to achieve some sense of purpose before we leave. Effective parenting means more than just trying to get through each day, but instead, also helping our children to hear the voice inside of them that guides them to find that purpose on schedule. Minimize the “noise” around her so she will hear and follow that voice over her lifetime.

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