We live in a different world then it was just 30 years ago, a radically different world then say 50-75 years ago. Parenting strategies need to move forward with the times. I am not saying parent’s should be more lenient or that parents should give their children any more freedom then they feel comfortable with. I am saying that we all must become a little more ” hip ” if we want to keep even a remote distance from our kids today. Here are 5 keys to getting the most of your parenting experience.
1- Keep it real. Do not pretend that evil does not exist or that some clowns are in it for the wrong reasons. You may have to get to the point when trying to explain why strangers can be dangerous. Tell your children what has happened to other kids in the past – not to scare them but to educate.
2- Eliminate the soft cushy fall from your child’s every mistake, you cannot and will not be able to be around for their every mistake in the future. Parents who run around trying to get the soft cushion on the ground before their child feels any pain raise kids who expect to never get consequences when they get older. Some call them spoiled brats.
3-Never play to their weakness but always to their strengths. In my 20 years of working with children, I have yet to meet one who did not have a few strengths. Focus on those as you help them identify what they are good at. This will help them set realistic expectations as they make decisions about their goals. Nobody is good at everything.
4-Set boundaries. Contrary to popular belief, statistics show over and over again that children of all ages want and need boundaries. As a matter of fact, us adults do too. Imagine what you might feel if you went on the freeway and a new sign said ” All drivers, just do as you like, no more rules of the road”- you may not like the feeling you have. The only difference between us and them is that they wont admit that they want boundaries, and most of us will.
5-Make your praise about 10:1 in comparison to your negative comments. Yes, you read correctly, you should find at the end of any given day that you made 10x more positive comments then you did negative. Learn to catch them being good, instead of being bad. The reason is simple; positive patterns will actually change long term behavior, while criticism only puts a fire out, usually to flame up again soon.
If you use these guidelines you will see a great improvement in the parent child relationship. If you have any additional keys you would like to add, please do!