Ask anyone how to raise your child and they'll tell you. Parenting tips are a dime a dozen.
You're visiting with friends and the baby starts crying. You get up to pick her up and your friend says "don't pick her up, you'll spoil her." The following week another friend is visiting and is appalled that you would let your baby cry.
People in the grocery will give you advice on how to handle your two year old who is running up and down the isles shouting "Mommy, I want this cereal and these cookies." Some friends tell you to feed your kids only healthy things while others tell you if you make a big deal out of sweets and such they'll only want them more. Everything in moderation. Yikes!
Everyone has parenting tips and they're not just tips – they think they're right.
But since different people are giving you different parenting tips you might get confused. So off to Borders you go and come home with an armful of books on parenting tips only this time they're written by professionals: pediatricians, child physiologists, nurse practitioners, behaviorists and the excitement builds.
"Finally, I'm going to find out the correct way to parent," you think to yourself. But low and behold, the "experts" give different parenting tips too.
Dr. Ferber tells you to let your baby cry him or herself to sleep while Dorothy Corkill Brigs tells you to soothe and nurture your child to sleep.
James Dobson tells you to discipline your child with spankings and punishment while many experts such as Hiam Ginot, child developmentalist, says hitting teaches nothing but fear and that violence is the way to handle things while Jane Nelson PhD. and author of Positive Discipline says power struggles can be stopped by using positive discipline--acknowledgment rather than punishment.
Many experts say teenagers need boundaries, Jane Nelson, PhD and Michael Reira, PhD. say they need to be independent and autonomous And on it goes.
After reading all the parenting tips by the "experts" you STILL don't know what to do with YOUR kids.
I'm going to give you a principle that will enable you to evaluate which parenting tips makes sense for your child and will also help you monitor your behavior as a parent.
Principle - When your child walks away from any interaction with you ask yourself the question "what did they just conclude about themselves, people or life given that interaction?" Did they walk away with a positive or negative conclusion about themselves, others or life? Did they walk away saying "I'm not good enough", I'm not important, I'm stupid, I'm a loser, mistakes and failure is bad or the opposite. I'm good enough, I am important, I'm smart, I'm OK, mistakes and failures are learning opportunities."
Why because your child's beliefs will have the greatest impact on their lives as adults.
How do I know?
I know this because over the past 15 years my associates and I have worked with 12,00 people to help them improve their lives. And in almost every case the greatest barriers to their success were the beliefs they formed as a child.
(To learn more about why this is read my article on the long-term effects of parenting styles.)
Keeping this in mind, here are some parenting tips that can help you get your kids to cooperate while also helping them to grow up with healthy attitudes about themselves and life.
My 5 Parenting Tips On How To Get Kids To Stop Inappropriate Behavior
When you got punished do you remember sitting in your room thinking, "boy I really learned a valuable lesson." Or where you plotting revenge or vowing to not get caught next time? When you punish children they feel absolved and learn nothing. For example, when I was a kid I used to love to choreograph dances. My parents room was all mirrored and I would play the score from West Side Story and dance. My dad would walk in and yell at me because I wasn't doing my homework. He would threaten to punish me if I didn't stop and do it right away. I remember feeling so powerless when he threatened me and I hated that feeling. When I was punished I remember feeling like I hated him and how unfair it was that I was in school all day and had to do homework at night and couldn't even do what I loved for awhile.
Imagine if my dad had come in and said:
"Pussyface, (that's what he called me when he wasn't angry) I know you love to dance (parenting tip -validate my feelings) and I love to watch you (parenting tip -acknowledge your child) and I'm concerned about your homework not getting done. It's getting late and I don't want you to have to do homework when you're tired and thinking is more difficult. (parenting tip – give information instead of judgments) Why don't you take a few more minutes to finish your dance and then crack open those books?" Then if he came in and I was still dancing he could say "looks like you need some support, I'll shut the stereo for you. I think it would be helpful to have a conversation on how to manage your time. That's a learned skill and I can help. Because the consequence of not getting
your homework done is you'll fall behind in school and I know that you wouldn't want that." If he had responded this way I would have felt treated with dignity and respect and I would have known that I had some power in what was going to happen to me.
In Jane Nelson's book "Positive Discipline" she explains the difference between logical and natural consequences.
Natural consequences are what will naturally happen if you do something. If you run in front of a car you will get hit. If you leave sweet things out you will get ants.
Logical consequences are never given in anger, they are always set up before hand and they are reasonable. If you can't come up with a logical consequence then consequences are not the tool. If we have to clean up after dinner we won't have time to play with you, or drive you to a friend's house, or help with homework because we'll be busy doing your chores. (Logical consequences are very easy to confuse with punishments so to learn more about how to use them properly visit my article on Logical Consequences and How They Can Transform Your Parenting.)
Here's a powerful parenting tip. If your child is older than 7 or 8 and they do something you don't want them to do, rather than punish them or even give them consequences ask them the questions below.
What were you thinking when you did that?
What were the consequences?
How did you feel after you did or didn't do it?
Was it worth it?
Would you do it differently next time? What would you do?
One of the most important parenting tips I could give you is to teach your children to look inside for answers. When they get into high school and someone offers them drugs, or asks them to have sex or cut school they will have learned how to look internally and ask themselves the questions that you have asked them ever since they were little.
They will be empowered to manage their own lives.
5 Parenting Tips To Get Kids To Do Their Chores, Help Out Around The House etc.
One of my clients asked me recently "what should I do when my son who is 9 keeps saying that he doesn't want to help clean up after dinner. What should we do?" There are many ways to handle this but here are a couple.
First let him know that we are a family and we need your help. We can't do it all without you. This gives children a purpose and makes them feel important.
Next, let him know that mom or dad (whoever cooks) doesn't always feel like making dinner. If she didn't what would happen? Let them know that sometimes we have to do things in life that we don't want to do. It's being responsible.
Then have a brainstorming session. Maybe you can ask him if there are other chores he'd rather do like cook, or vacuum. If he still refuses that we can talk about logical consequences.
This parenting tip is not just for parenting. It is valuable for all of your relationships. Make sure that you acknowledge each other. So you can see why this is so important, imagine two scenarios.
In the first, you and a friend are playing tennis. You thought you played alright and really enjoyed yourself. But after the game your friend says to you "your tennis serve really needs work."
How would you feel?
Now imagine the same game, you played just as well and enjoyed yourself but instead your friend says "You played a really great game today. Your game has improved tremendously. Your serve needs some work though."
How would you feel this time?
Probably a lot more open to your friends remarks.
People's listening opens up when they're acknowledged. Thanks for cleaning up, cooking, etc. My husband always thanked the girls for having dinner with us. He told them that he loved being with them and appreciated their coming out to dinner with us. That let them know that their presence matters. It gives kids the message that they matter. So you can see how this parenting tip can help.
The principal for getting cooperation from kids is to use positive statements rather than negative. Allow them to feel like they have some power in what happens to them. Allow children to feel responsible, to have a say in how, when or where they do what you want them to do.
So when an expert tells you to "Spare the rod and spoil the child." You must ask yourself "what will my child conclude if I act on this advice?" Remember the beliefs that they form will have an impact on the rest of their lives.
I hope this article on parenting tips was helpful. For more information on how beliefs get formed you can read "Re-create Your Life" by Morty Lefkoe. For more parenting tips and techniques that can help you raise children with high self esteem and make your life easier as a parent I recommend How To Talk and Positive Discipline by Jane Nelson as well as Raising self reliant people in a self indulgent world by Stephen Glen and finally Chicken Soup for the Souls' Effective Parenting" By Shelly Lefkoe which you can find at (Link to book)