Times have changed and societal ways and expectations have changed in so many profound ways. The following tips for effective parenting to raise kids these days are hereby presented:
- Lead your children. A child needs to see someone who leads to help him distinguish early on life order from chaos.
- Do not withhold praises, but don’t be too generous with them either. Praise strokes an ego. It helps build confidence. The lack or absence of praise may send the wrong message to the child that he is not appreciated. Catch your child being good. Compliment more than criticizing and fault-finding.
- Emphasize the child’s positive rather than negative behaviour. Children believe what their parents say. If a child hears his mother tell him a liar, he’ll act it out, and he will do it without feeling guilt.
- Allow your child fight his own battle. Don’t always take up the cudgels for your child. Unless he is mentally or physically handicapped to act on his own, let your child get him out of a fix all by himself.
- Create an atmosphere of peaceful home. While both parents may not always have the same line of thinking and may not mutually agree on certain matters, their difference in opinion need not be impressed on their children.
- Be a good role model. No amount of scolding can make a child change his bad ways if parents themselves show bad behaviour. Young children learn a great deal about how to act by watching you. Studies have shown that children who hit usually have a role model for aggression at home.
- Treasure the time you spend with your children. Children will not be with by their parents’ side forever. Parents should enjoy their children while they can. Have fun together. Spend quality time together. Take a walk after dinner. Children who are not getting the attention they want from their parents often act ways to connect with your child – put a note or something special in his lunch box. It is the many little things you do with your child – making popcorn, playing cards, flying kites – which he will remember.
- Use actions not words. Statistics show that we send our children 2,000 compliance request a day! No wonder our children become “parent-deaf”! Instead of nagging or yelling, ask yourself “What action can I take?”
- Let children be responsible of their actions. Before you leap to your child’s help at any problem situations, you should first ask yourself what would happen if you do not interfere. If we interfere when we do not need to, we rob our children of the chance to learn from the consequences of their actions.
- Withdraw from conflict. If your child is testing you through a temper tantrum or speaking disrespectful of you it is best that you either leave the room or tell him you will be in the next room if he wants to “try again.” Do not leave in anger or defeat.
- Separate the deed from the doer. Never tell a child he is bad. That tears at his self-esteem. Help your child recognize that it is his behaviour, and not himself that you are unwilling to tolerate. He must know that he is loved unconditionally, no matter what he does. Do not try to discipline your child by withdrawing your love from him.
- Be kind and firm at the same time. Supposing you have told your five-year old child that if she was not dressed by the time the timer went off, you would carry her to the car just as she was. She has been told she can either get dressed in the car, where the timer goes off, without anymore nagging. Motivate your child through love and not through fear.
- Be consistent. Set limits and be consistent with your discipline. If you have made an agreement with your child that she cannot buy sweets in the store, do not give in to her please, tears, demands or pouts. Your child will learn to respect you more if she realizes that you mean what you say.
- Nurture your child’s self-esteem. Your tone of voice, your body language and your every expression are absorbed by your child. Your words and actions as parents affect your child’s developing self-image more than anything else in this world. Praising your child in his accomplishments, however small, will make him feel proud, letting him do things for himself will make him feel capable and independent. By contrast, belittling your child or comparing him unfavourably to another child will make him feel worthless.
- Make communications a priority. Children want and deserve explanations as much as adults do. Make your expectations clear. If there is a problem, describe it to your child, express your feeling about it, and invite your child to work on a solution with you. Be sure to include consequences. Make suggestions and offer choices. Be open to your child’s suggestions as well. Negotiate with him. Children who participate in decisions are more motivated to carry them out.
- Be flexible and willing to adjust your parenting style. If you frequently feel “let down” by your child’s behaviour, it may be because you have unrealistic expectations for him. Look for ways restructure his surroundings so that fewer things are off-limits.
As your child changes, you will gradually have to change your parenting style. Chances are, what works with your child now won’t work as well in a year or two.
Teenagers tend to look less to their parents and more to their peers for role models. Continue to provide guidance, encouragement, and appropriate discipline while allowing your child to learn more independence.