Peers, TV shows, movies, magazines … With so many external pressures facing kids at younger and younger ages, parents often wonder:
There is hope. Using the following tips, parents can have a much stronger influence than any friend or TV commercial:
Tip #1: Instead of telling your kids how to live, show them.
Wise parents commit lots of honest, respectful, kind, and responsible acts in front of their kids. Simply stated, actions speak louder than words.
The next time another driver cuts you off or someone in your neighborhood needs help, treat the situation as an important opportunity to show your children how responsible, caring adults act.
Tip #2: Talk about your values when they’re eavesdropping.
What we say in front of our kids is more important than what we say to them. When you do something great, talk about it within earshot of your kids.
For example, when your child is sitting nearby, you might say to your spouse, “Honey, the clerk at the store gave me ten dollars too much in change. I could have kept it, but I gave it back. I always feel better when I do the right thing!”
Tip #3: Teach character and responsibility with empathy and consequences
At Love and Logic Institute, we’ve found the most effective parents allow children to make mistakes in safe situations. Kids develop character and positive values when they learn that poor decisions result in uncomfortable consequences.
Parents who deliver consequences with anger raise kids who spend their lives feeling angry and who reject their parents’ values. If those same parents replace anger with empathy, their children begin to see them as caring and recognize their values are important.
For many decades, Love and Logic has helped parents with these life-changing tips.
One very grateful parent wrote, “As a teenager, our daughter got caught shoplifting. We were mortified! When this happened, we turned to Love and Logic. With lots of empathy instead of anger, we held her responsible for hiring her own lawyer and paying the court costs. That was fifteen years ago, and she’s grown to be a wonderful, responsible young Woman. On her thirtieth birthday, she even thanked us for being so strict!”
Give Love and Logic a try and join thousands of parents who have discovered easy and effective ways to improve their relationships with their kids and teach positive family values.
Parenting is tricky business. For the first twenty or so years of your child's life, your job is to teach and guide him or her. Often, we give our children unsolicited advice or even override their choices. Then comes the day when they are all grown up, ready to move out and live on their own. We must loosen our grip and begin a new level of relationship with them as young adults. If you are like me, this is not easy.
"Parents have such a hard time letting go of their control," says Dr. Jennifer Freed, a psychotherapist and licensed marriage and family counselor. “It's not that parents are trying to butt in because they think their child is incapable; it's because they're concerned about their child's welfare and think they can help by sharing their experiences.”
The reality is that our concern often doesn't come across this way. Our adult children feel like we are still treating them as a child. And everyone needs to make their own mistakes and learn from them – that is a necessary part of a the ongoing growth process.
So how do we help guide our grown kids without coming across as a bossy or nagging? To begin with, we need to learn to treat our child more like an adult friend instead of a kid. Lowering our expectations on how often they call us, biting our tongues when we want to give them advice, and being careful about
rescuing them from their mistakes are all important.
Remember, you raised them for this. You raised them to be adults, to embrace the world, to take risks, to be themselves and to be who God designed them to be. They’ll explore and make mistakes just like you did.
To further explore, discuss and learn ways to support and relate to your adult children, sign up for my free webinar—Now That They’ve Grown, Loving and Parenting Adult Children--on Monday, March 4 at 9 pm EST here: Webinars
Manners Matter: Four Easy Ways to Teach Kids How to Behave
By Dr. Charles Fay
In all parts of their lives, children with great manners have a powerful advantage over those who do not. They make friends easier, get along better with their teachers, and eventually make much better employees and spouses. Here are four techniques that will give your child this life-long gift:
Tip No. 1: Make a list.
Sit down with your kids and make a list of the specific behaviors polite people display. Have fun with this activity. Your written list might look something like:
• Say “please” and “thank you”
• Eat with their mouths closed
• Burp in the privacy of their own rooms
• Say “excuse me”
• Hold doors open for people
Tip No. 2: Model these manners.
Children learn much more from our actions than from our words.
Tip No. 3: Provide kids what they want only when they use manners.
When parents use Love and Logic, they don’t waste their breath lecturing about good manners. Instead, they very politely refuse to provide what their kids want unless they hear a sweet “please” or “thank you” and see the other behaviors on their “manner list.”
For this to work, parents must respond to requests with polite sadness instead of anger or sarcasm. For example, a parent might say in a sad tone of voice, “This is
such a bummer. We can’t go to the movies today because you need more practice with manners first.” A parent who sets this limit, avoids anger or sarcasm, and holds firm by staying home will see a very upset child in the short-term and a much happier, more responsible one in the long-term.
Tip No. 4: Expect them to repay you for any embarrassment they cause.
If your child continues to be rude, he or she may need to repay you for the embarrassment or inconvenience created. With genuine empathy and sadness, a parent might say, “How sad! Your rudeness at Aunt Mary’s house really drained the energy out of me. I’ve been too tired to clean the bathrooms. When you get them done, I’m sure I’ll feel a whole lot better.”
If the child refuses or forgets to do the chore, wise parents don’t lecture or threaten. Instead, they quietly allow their child to “pay” for their bad manners with one of their favorite toys.
Thousands of parents have transformed manner monsters into polite kids who are a pleasure to be around. At one Love and Logic seminar, a parent commented, “When I used these tips, my boys almost immediately started to shape up. They even warned one of their rather rude friends who was visiting: ‘Better stop burping... Our mom’s gonna make you do chores.’”
Give these Love and Logic tips a try, and see how much fun parenting can be!
Dr. Brene Brown--professor, author, and speaker said after sixteen years of research, “I am sure of one thing: Connection is why we’re here; it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives…Connection is the energy that is created between people when they feel seen, heard and valued: when they can give and receive without judgement.”
Intuitively, we already sense what we need in order to feel emotionally fulfilled and happy. We see evidences of it in the unifying theme of most literature, movies, magazines, and even our commercial advertisements. More than anything else, what we all need is love, relationship and connection.
Scientific studies have demonstrated that from early childhood our brains are molded by love and connection. Without it, infants literally die, even though their basic needs are met. Later in life, those lacking connection experience higher rates of heart disease, diabetes, dementia, depression, accidents, addictions and suicide.
As parents, our connection and relationship with our children are the building blocks for their future relationships. Connection is key! Children learn how to interact with others by watching and relating with us. Plus, strong family connection supports more cooperation and harmony in the home.
This can be a lot of pressure for parents juggling work, school, family, and competing with extra-curricular activities and all media devices. The best approach is being intentional about making opportunities for connection. Experts recommend scheduling family time: conversations over device-free dinners, one-on-one time with each child even if it is running errands or walking the dog, family meetings once a week, establishing family traditions and weekend outings. For more ideas to get you started, click here: www.aha-now.com/creating-family-connections/
Control is a basic human need. All of us fight to gain power and feel in control of our lives. Most parents first experience this power struggle with their child around two years old. From this young age, children begin to establish their own individuality, recognizing themselves as separate from their parents and the world around them. Although this is a necessary process of learning to make decisions for themselves and exert their own will and authority, these can be trying times for us parents. Often a battle of wills begins that lasts throughout childhood and the teen years.
Parents can turn these difficult times into opportunities for growth. Instead of viewing children’s willful behavior as “bad” and reacting in a way that overpowers the child, we can view this as a healthy positive sign of our child’s development and find ways to empower him.
One way to do this is to offer choices instead of making statements or giving commands. Every choice you give becomes a “deposit” into your child’s sense of healthy control. Even when the choices seem small or a bit silly, they can be very powerful. The more choices parents give, the more chance of having cooperative kids.
Some basic guidelines are:
For example, instead of asking your two-year-old if they are ready for a nap, ask, "Do you want to walk to your bed or do you want me to carry you?" If your 18-month-old is resisting a diaper change, ask, “Do you want me to change it on the floor or on the bed?” When it is time to leave the park or a friend’s house, don’t simply say that it is time to go. Prior to your desired departure time, ask your child if she would like to leave now or in 10 minutes.
Sharing control through choices can be effective with older children as well. Some examples of choices include: “Would you like to wear your coat or carry it?” “Are you going to clean the garage or mow the lawn this week?” “Will you have these chores done tomorrow or do you need an extra day to finish them?” “Are you two going to stop bickering or do you want to pay me for having to listen to you?”
Control is like love. The more we give away, the more we get back. Choices gives the child plenty of practice at thinking and solving problems. To discover more about how to apply this in your family, check out my upcoming webinars: Webinars