10 Tips for Parents

  1. Now or in Five Minutes.  No one likes to drop what he or she is doing to respond to a command.  Time for dinner, a bath, or bedtime can be managed better when you anticipate the situation and ask your child, “Do you want to come to dinner now or in five minutes?”  Typically children will pick “Five minutes.”   After five minutes, you can say, “Dinner is ready; you said you will come in five minutes.”  Your child is much more likely to comply.
  2. Catch Your Child Doing Good.  Many child-parent issues involve a child’s effort to seek attention.  When parental attention for a positive behavior is not forth coming, children will turn to negative behaviors.  Save yourself some grief.  Look for good behaviors and compliment your child when you seen them.
  3. Coordinate the Caregiver Team.  Children develop quickly.  Just as one challenging behavior is managed, a child will develop another one.  Check with the other caregivers frequently.  Try to be consistent in sharing the best strategies for managing challenging behaviors.
  4. Behaviors can be Bad, but Children are Good.  Avoid saying, “You are a bad boy,” rather say, “You are a good boy, but what you did was bad.”
  5. Do as I Do.  Example is the best teacher.  Polite, respectful parent behavior promotes polite, respectful child behavior.
  6. Master “The Voice.”  Yelling promotes yelling.  Yelling should be a signal of immediate danger, such as, “Don’t touch the stove.”  Try using a calm, firm voice that is delivered slowly with a slightly lower pitch and volume than normal conversational speech.  Practice “The Voice” as your first response to misbehavior.  Use the voice when you are speaking seriously about their misbehavior.  With time children recognize “The Voice,” and respond with great attention.
  7. Don’t Take it Personally.  Children will perceive your vulnerability if you overreact to a personal affront during a discipline, such as, “You are a bad Mommy.”  Rather than get upset, continue with the discipline.  When things calm down, talk to your child about the importance of respecting one another. 
  8. Pick your Battles.  Develop a sense of what is normal, tolerable childhood behavior for your child’s age and what is disruptive to your child’s well-being.  Spend you parenting energy on your child’s most important disruptions.
  9. Avoid Picking Sides.  Child to child conflicts can be unnerving.  Ignore tolerable conflicts allowing the children to work it out themselves.  When the situation is serious, direct your children to another activity or apply a fair discipline to both without discussing “Who started it.”  Try the “One Minute Time-out.”
  10. Allow Natural Consequences to Work.  Allow your child to learn from natural consequences.  When a child suffers a natural consequence from a bad behavior avoid saying, “I told you so.”  Rather be empathetic, saying, “That must be difficult to stay in class during recess to get your assignment done.”  For more on natural consequences read Parenting with Love and Logic by Kline and Faye; www.loveandlogic.com or call 800-338-4065.

Email Mark Hirschmann