We live in a different world than it was just 30 years ago, a radically different world than say 50-75 years ago. Parenting strategies need to move forward with the times. I am not saying parents 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 improve communications with 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 people are in it for the wrong reasons. You may have to get to the point of clearly explaining exactly why strangers can be dangerous. Tell your children what has happened to other kids in the past – not to scare them but to educate. If they do not learn it from you they will learn it on the streets.
2- Eliminate Soft Cushy Falls From Your Child’s Every Mistake. We 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 Weaknesses 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, and teach them to focus on their strengths which will add to their self esteem.
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, we 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 will not admit that they want boundaries, and most adults will.
5-Make your Positive to Negative Comments about 10:1. 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 reinforcement will actually change long term behavior, while criticism only puts a fire out, usually to flame up again soon.
When you use these guidelines you will see a great improvement in the parent child relationship. You will also see the self esteem and confidence levels of your child skyrocket.