If you don’t know what the rules are, how are your children supposed to know? Make a set of rules, post them, and follow them. Just a simple list will do.
Children listen to everything you say. They watch your body language, your reactions, and so much more. If you want your children to show respect, model respect–to them and others, at all times. If you want your children to listen when you speak, put down your electronics, look them in the eye and actually hear what they are saying.
This is the ultimate power of modeling behavior. Parents should strive to maintain personal control at all times. Nothing is more frightening to a child than a parent who is out of control. One major lesson about control–never use it on someone else. Your goal should never be to control your children, but rather to teach your children how to control themselves.
Kids may not act like it, but they want and need boundaries. You are the gatekeeper, the ultimate decision-maker. Trust in your decisions and enforce them.
You’ve made a bad decision. Own up to it. If appropriate, discuss it with your children. Correct it. Move on.
Teach your children how to respectfully disagree, communicate, negotiate when appropriate and compromise. Communicate with others in this manner (especially your co-parent). Your children will learn to communicate with their future spouse, using your methods.
Kids are blank slates and forget easily. If you want a child to do something properly, teach them how. Give them plenty of opportunities to practice and perfect. And don’t forget, they’ll need reminders. This advice isn’t just for young children. Teens need the same assistance. Just because they’re older doesn’t mean they have the proper skills. Before you lecture your teen make sure you’ve taught them what they need to know. Did you ever actually show them how to load a dishwasher? Have they actually practiced time management?
Stop noticing all of your child’s mistakes and start noticing what they did right! When you do need to correct a child, make sure the information is provided in a positive insightful manner. Even better-ask your child to see if they can note areas they need to improve on and how they can implement their own changes.
If you don’t allow your child to openly communicate with you (share ideas, disagree, etc., they won’t! It’s that simple!) And if your child trusts you enough to tell you something that’s hard to share, watch your reaction. No matter how angry, disappointed or upset you are, listen and respond with patience. This doesn’t mean you don’t follow through on appropriate discipline, it simply means you show your child you are strong and safe enough to handle what they can’t
It is your job to provide guidance. It is your job to continue to reach out to your child, even if they act like they don’t want you to. Don’t force yourself on your child, just continue to remind you’re there.
If you establish a rule and a consequence, follow through. (If your response was out of line, admit to it and choose something more appropriate.) If you make a promise or commitment, keep it!
Recognize and encourage your child’s capabilities. Offer them plenty of opportunities to grow physically, emotionally, and mentally and to increase their knowledge.
Mistakes are inevitable. They are a key learning tool. When a mistake is made, let natural consequences prevail. Use them as teachable moments and move on.
Allow and consider your child’s input. The more invested they are in a decision, the more likely they’ll follow it. More importantly, participating in decision-making allows children to recognize good and bad choices. Don’t worry, as the adult, the ultimate decision resides with you.
If you solve all of your children’s problems or constantly bail them out of trouble, how is your child ever going to learn to handle problems on their own? Provide plenty of opportunities for your child to solve his/her own issues. Simply ask them: What do you think would be a good way to solve this problem?
Do not ignore the value of chores/responsibilities. As a parent, your ultimate goal is to raise adults, not children. Offer your children age-appropriate chores, demonstrate the how-to’s and provide plenty of teachable moments and life lessons.
Hey There, I’m Susan!
I’m a Certified Family Life Educator, Parent Coach & Course Creator, wife & mother of 3 incredible humans. I know all about the challenges parents struggle with as we juggle multiple hats and busy lives.
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