Advice Column, Parenting

Six Parenting Resolutions

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Refrain from using a loud voice

Children learn how to communicate by the models the adult caregivers set for them. As often as possible, when you need your child’s attention or cooperation, go to the child and speak in a calm and respectful tone at the child’s eye level. The more often you do this, the more likely you are to create peace and calmness in your home and your children will do the same.

Use the word COOPERATION often

When you need your child to comply, initiate it by announcing, “I need your cooperation.”  When they follow through, thank them for cooperating with you.  When they need you do something for them, confirm their request by saying, “Oh… you need my cooperation.  I’d love to cooperate with you.”  Use that word in association with requests from other adults in the house so the kids will see it often.

Let go and avoid controlling the outcome all the time

We’re constantly trying to get so much done in so little time and on schedule.  When our child moves too slow or doesn’t put a piece of clothing on correctly, it annoys us and we take over to have things according to our desire.  Once a day, let something your child does be the way she did it.  Avoid correcting them, re-doing something, taking over for them, or arranging all the outcomes.

Celebrate moments of independence

You’re getting ready to leave the house and you noticed that she buttoned her own jacket but the buttons are misaligned.  Or she put her top on by herself but it’s inside out. For just once, avoid correcting the situation. Don’t re-button her jacket or adjust her top. Instead, make a big deal of what she did on her own. You can adjust things later but for the moment, celebrate her self-sufficiency.

Commit to coach and not own homework

The kids are back in school this week so it’s a good time for making a commitment not to own their homework when it comes home. Establish boundaries around them doing their homework, including bedtimes, healthy eating and limits on entertainment electronics. Don’t hover, be available to them for help with homework and provide them with the right supplies, lighting and space to do it. Avoid doing it for them and avoid always correcting it before they take it to school. Mistakes are for learning!

Stay calm when your child begins to argue

When our older children become persistent in trying to convince us of something, we can easily get pulled into an emotional debate. Teens who feel they can approach their parent about anything and know they are being heard consider their relationship with the parent stronger. Commit to not getting angry in these moments and be there 100%. If your teen has made a good case, give in once in a while.  If you’ve had enough of the bantering, end it calmly and walk away. Know that it’s normal behavior.


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