Category Archives: Parenting Tips

The Truly “Mean” Parent: Are You One of Them?

One of the most common themes I hear from parents with unruly children is the fear of being labeled a “mean” parent. Here are few points that these parents don’t seem to understand:

  1. It is okay to set and enforce limits that upset your child.
  2. It is okay for your child to cry… and cry… and cry… and cry… when you set a limit that he or she dislikes.
  3. When your child makes statements such as, “I hate you,” they really mean, “I hate the fact that you have authority over me.”

Too many parents give in to their children because they are worried about being a “mean”P1020049_edited parent. They become anxious and emotional when their children oppose the limits that have been set. As a result, these parents typically do whatever they can to pacify or appease their children. By appeasing their children these parents feel that they can avoid the dreaded label of “mean parent.”

What these parents don’t realize is that the truly “mean” parent is THE ONE WHO GIVES IN. These parents set their children up for future failure. Imagine what it must be like for the child who gets whatever he or she wants just by crying. How successful can these children be when they begin school, work, or a new relationship? These children fail to learn an important and essential trait called self-discipline. Without self-discipline these children will struggle through life. Mean parents are the ones that allow this to happen.

Remember:

If your child is crying because he or she is afraid- be reassuring and understanding.

If your child is crying because he or she is hurt – be nurturing and compassionate.

If your child is crying because his or her feelings are hurt – be comforting and supportive.

If your child is crying because he or she doesn’t like the limits you have set… too bad!

Positive Parenting: Are You Doing it Right?

“Effective discipline begins with positive parenting,” is one of the many quotes I recently read on one of my many social media pages. It’s a great quote that certainly makes sense, but it would have been nice if the author had expanded on that thought. Since that wasn’t the case, I decided to take my own little “stab at it.”

So, with no further ado…

Positive parenting involves the use of firm but fair discipline. This means that parents need to be assertive when stating expectations (or when giving instructions) without sounding too wishy-washy or timid. It is equally as important for parents to be reasonable and just when dealing with their children. Failure to do so is likely to result in further behavior problems.

Positive parenting involves the ability to communicate with one’s child in a calm, positive, and constructive manner…without resorting to yelling and/or threatening. An “out-of-control” parent is rarely, if ever, effective.

Positive parenting also involves a high level of patience and empathy. Understanding a child’s feelings and motivations will (in most cases) lead to a more positive result with regards to managing that child’s behavior.

It is important for parents to choose effective consequences if improved behavior is the desired result. This includes positive and negative consequences. Ineffective consequences are unlikely to motivate a child to behave better…and a lack of motivation usually means a lack of change.positive parenting

Positive parenting means being involved and being connected to one’s children! Children need to feel as though they are not only loved and cared for, but truly appreciated by their parents. Spending quality time with one’s children is essential to building that child’s self-esteem and developing their self-worth.

So there you have it. The five short paragraphs above are how I would define “positive parenting.”

If you are interested in becoming a more positive or effective parent then The Parent Coach Plan is perhaps something you should look into. It is a simple and effective behavior plan that promotes positive parenting.

Are you sabotaging your child’s behavior?

Is it possible that your actions (or inactions) as a parent might be contributing to the overall negative behavior that your child continuously displays?  Certainly, your child is responsible for his or her behavior…but is there something you might be doing to sabotage his or her sincere efforts to “behave?”

Here is a list of parenting no-no’s that are sure to elicit cranky, whiney, over-stimulated children:

1.  Allowing your child to consume too much sugar and/or caffeine!

Not too long ago, I was at a family-friendly eating establishment with a group of adults, many of whom brought their children.  As the evening wore on, one of the adults kept complaining about how “hyper” her six year-old child was.  I had to do all I could to bite my lip and not point out the fact that the six year-old was finishing up his second large caffeinated soda and was literally walking around the place with a large bag (even larger than a typical “movie theater” bag) of gummi bears…sour gummi bears!

No wonder this kid couldn’t sit still!

2.  Over-stimulating your child.

If it’s close to bedtime and every light in the house is on, the dog is barking and whining outside, the TV is on in one room and the music in another, the dishwasher is running, the house is a mess, baby brother is crying, and mom is getting constant text notifications on her phone…then it might be time to alter one’s environment, and real quick-like!  Children are easily over-stimulated and this can lead to irritable, fussy behavior.

3.  Giving-in to tantrums, whining, begging, bargaining, and other negative behaviors.

“Giving in” to any of the behaviors listed above will likely result in a repeat of such behavior.  Act quickly and swiftly when confronted with any of these annoyances!

4.  Over-scheduling your child.

It’s great that your child plays two sports, babysits regularly, plays an instrument, has weekly scout meetings, and attends church-related activities each week…but give the kid a break!  This is too much!  Even if you think your child enjoys all of this…it is still too much!

5.  Setting expectations for your child that are unrealistic or unfair.

Unrealistic and unfair expectations are a great way to destroy a child’s self-esteem and self-worth.  It’s also a great way to create animosity and revenge-seeking behavior.

6.  Ignoring or disregarding your child’s positive behaviors.

Just like the old saying regarding teeth, “Ignore them and they will go away!”  So, too, will positive behaviors.

7.  Maintaining inconsistent and/or unstructured discipline for your child.

How would you feel I f your boss changed workplace policies every other week?  Or if your favorite TV show was on at a different time each week?  Frustrating huh?  That’s how your child feels when you fail to provide structure and consistency.

8.  Failing to follow through with consequences.

Nothing says, “I’m a push-over” more than a parent that doesn’t follow through with consequences.  To be an effective parent, one must possess a strong backbone!

9.  Setting a poor example for your child (being a negative role-model).

As we all know (or should know), children are very observant…and will often pay more attention to what their parents DO as opposed to what their parents SAY.

10.  Enabling and promoting your child’s sense of entitlement.

If you reward your child for behaviors that should otherwise be expected, then you may be guilty of this particular “parenting faux pas.”

11.  Maintaining a cluttered and/or chaotic household.

Someone once made the observation, “A cluttered environment leads to a cluttered mind.”  I think the same applies to a chaotic environment/mind.sabotaging child's behavior

So there you have it!  Eleven ways in which you might be sabotaging your child’s behavior!

Teaching Kids to Take Pride in their Appearance

Here are a few tips for teaching children and teens the proper way to take pride in their appearance.

pride in appearance

  1. Shower and/or bathe regularly.  Children older than 7 years old should shower a minimum of every-other-day (my opinion anyway).  Children and tweens should shower daily once they hit middle school…though an occasional day off is acceptable every few days or so.

 

  1. Wear clean clothes every day. This includes clean underwear!

 

  1. Wear nice clothes that are practical, that match, and that are situation-specific. Be sure to consider the day’s weather and the day’s activities.   Children and teens should dress modestly and should avoid wearing clothes that don’t fit properly.

 

  1. Take care of your hair. Keep it clean, trimmed, and in style.  It shouldn’t look like you just rolled out of bed…nor should it look as though it is housing a small family of rodents.

 

  1. Wear deodorant and/or a nice scent. People that smell good always leave a pleasant and lasting impression!  Be careful not to over-do  it…too much is worse than none!

 

  1. Use accessories to add some pizazz! A nice bracelet, ring, and/or necklace will compliment most outfits.  Girls might want to sport a cute pair of earrings, a fashionable headband or a pretty bow to accentuate their hairstyle while boys might choose to accessorize with a baseball cap.  A nice pair of shades can boost anyone’s level of “coolness.”

 

  1. Maintain good oral hygiene. Take good care of your teeth.  Brush and floss them regularly and be sure to visit your dentist every six months or so for a good professional cleaning.  You may not be too concerned about your teeth as a pre-teen but as you get older you will be glad you established healthy habits with regards to your teeth. Tune in regularly to know more about that here.

 

  1. Smile often. Nothing shows confidence better than a nice smile.  People notice smiles and they enjoy being around people who display them frequently.

Getting Your Kids to Clean Up Around the House: A Fun Little Game to Try

603579_10152297786818006_413681953_nHere’s a little game or “contest” I tried with my kiddos a few days ago when our house was beginning to look a bit…um, disastrous. It actually motivated them to clean up most of the house and they seemed to have fun doing it.

I started off by telling them that I was going to write down four random things that needed to be done around the house. In this instance, I chose the following:

  1. Put the soda can on dad’s computer desk into the recycling bin
  2. Straighten the pillows on the loveseat
  3. Vacuum the entryway
  4. Wipe down the kitchen table.

I wrote these tasks down on a piece of paper then I folded it up without showing them what was listed. I instructed them both to start cleaning and told them that whoever ended up doing what was on the list would get a special treat. One “treat” was available for each task that was completed.

Since my kiddos had no idea what was on the list, they had to do as much cleaning as they could, as fast as they could, in the hopes that one of the tasks they completed was one from the list.

I then went and took a nice long shower and told them that I would be checking their progress once I was done.

By the time I came out of the shower, our house was in pretty good shape! The floors were vacuumed, the table was wiped down, all of their toys and other items were put away (except for that soda can on my desk!).

The other part of the deal was this: For EACH task that did NOT get done, BOTH of them would owe me a 5-minute foot massage!

In the end, one daughter earned two treats (an ice cream sandwich and 15 extra minutes on her iPad before bedtime), my other daughter earned one treat (an ice cream sandwich), and I earned a 5-minute foot massage from each of them (due to the forgotten soda can!)…not a bad deal all the way around.

And we ALL got a clean house!

The Entitled Child

“When a child is allowed to do absolutely as he pleases, it will not be long until nothing pleases him.”  -anonoymous

entitled childThis quote perfectly describes the “entitled child.”  Too often, I’ve had to sit back and literally “bit my lip” while watching friends of mine make a parenting style out of this quote.

Children need boundaries, limits, and expectations.  They also need a parent with a backbone.  Too often, parents find that it is simply easier to give-in to their children rather than enforcing limits and/or rules.  They don’t want to engage in a power struggle, or worse yet, make their child upset.  I say “LET THEM BE UPSET!”

There’s no reason any parent should have to bend over backwards simply to appease their child…this is what creates an entitled child.

An entitled child believes that he deserves to be treated special…that he should get “preferential treatment.”  This is a great way to teach narcissism.

How can you tell if your child is entitled?

He or she is more of a “taker” more than a “giver”

He or she complains about having to do basic chores

He or she always wants an option that wasn’t offered

He or she frequently tries to bargain or make deals

He or she pouts when things don’t go as desired

He or she is impatient and/or has a low frustration tolerance

He or she expects others (usually the parents) to fix their problems

He or she always expects to have the “latest” fad or fashion

 

How can you avoid raising an entitled child?

START YOUNG!

Discourage the “materialistic” mindset

Teach and practice patience

Help your entitled child “give back” to the community

Get out of the habit of rewarding your child for every positive behavior

Avoid allowing your child to negotiate options that weren’t offered

Avoid bailing your child out of trouble every time

Set firm limits and enforce them

Tips for Kids for When They Go to a Friend’s House

  1. Be thankful and appreciative of the things your friend’s parents do for you. “Thanks for having me” is the last thing you should say as you walk out their door. You should also say thanks when they give you (or even offer) food, drinks, or snacks…or after the parent has driven you and your friend somewhere.
  2. It is okay to accept what is offered to you (if applicable) but do not ask for food or drinks while over at your friend’s house (especially if you are at a neighborhood friend’s house). If you are thirsty then simply say, “I’m a bit thirsty, can I have a glass of water?” If they let you have some…then great! If they offer you something else…then that’s even better!
  3. If your friend’s parent cooks you something for lunch or dinner then at least be respectful enough to give it a try. Even if you don’t particularly like what was prepared for you, you can still be polite and eat as much of it as you can put down. Unless it is literally making you gag there is no reason to decline what was prepared for you.
  4. Assume that certain rules apply at ALL times while you are at your friend’s house:
    -No running or horseplay in the house.
    -Keep your voice at an indoor level.
    -Be polite to your friend’s siblings.
    -Wash your hands before eating and after using the bathroom.
    -Wipe your feet off (or take your shoes off) before entering their home.
    -Respect any other rules that the parents might have.
  5. Bring money if you are invited places! If your friend’s parent invites you to go roller-skating then at least bring enough money to get yourself in the door. If you are invited to go to a movie then bring enough for the ticket and snacks if you intend to have any. Your friend’s parent shouldn’t be expected to cover your costs unless that is the arrangement to begin with.
  6. Help pick up or clean up. When it is time to leave then make sure you help put away any items, toys, or materials that were being used. If your friend is asked by his or her parent to clean up then don’t just stand there and watch – help out!
  7. Teen-boys-friendsStay off your phone or mobile device! You are at your friend’s house to spend time with your friend, not to text and “socialize” with others. Turn it off if you have to or leave it in another room…it’s rude to be constantly distracted while spending time with your friend.

Follow these guidelines when you are at your friend’s house and it is much more likely that you will be invited back. Ignore them and you just might end up having to look for another place to hang out!

Tips for Helping Your Child Deal with Anger

Whether your child has an “anger issue” or not, there’s one thing that’s clear: Children get angry and there’s really no way around it. Here are a few tips for dealing with your child’s anger:

1. Have your child identify his/her anger “triggers” then come up with solutions for handling those triggers once they present themselves.

2. Teach your child to “talk it out” in a clam and controlled manner.

3. Encourage your child to journal about his/her feelings. Sometimes the mere act of writing down one’s feelings can help to alleviate the intensity of those emotions.

4. Teach your child to use coping skills.

a.  Self-Soothing

Engage in simple behaviors that are relaxing/calming. Some ideas include: take a bubble bath, exercise, read, listen to music, draw, write poetry, go for a jog, pet your cat/dog, etc.

b.  Self-Talk

Talk yourself down by saying such things as: “There’s no point in getting angry, it isn’t worth it” or “I’m just going to keep calm and not let this get to me”

c.  Relaxation Techniques

This could include deep breathing, yoga, meditation, guided imagery (using your imagination to think of calming scenarios), etc.

d.  Problem-Solving StepsAngry Boy

i.) Identify the problem

ii.)  Propose solutions

iii.)  Weigh your options

iv.)  Choose the best solution

v.)  Do it!

5. Acknowledge and praise appropriate responses to anger. There’s no need to go overboard, but a simple comment such as “Nice job handling that” will go a long way to reinforce appropriate responses to anger.

6. Be a good role-model for handling anger. Swearing, yelling, slamming doors, and name-calling are not good examples for your child. You should never let him or her see you doing these things out of anger.

7. Make your child aware of the physical responses that his or her body experiences when angry. Clenched fists, sweaty forehead, shallow breathing, tightened jaw, tensed muscles, and lowered eyebrows are all signs that anger is present. Once your child recognizes his/her body’s “anger cues” then he or she will know that it’s time to start taking action to minimize that anger.

Authoritative Parenting

Parenting Tools

Authoritative parenting can be described as a style of parenting that combines firm limits and clear boundaries with fair and consistent discipline. Authoritative parents are also nurturing, highly-involved, and willing to speak openly with their child regarding expectations and the consequences for failing to meet those expectations. Rules are enforced and fair consequences are put in place for when those rules are broken.

Authoritative parenting is highly effective because it provides structure while at the same time promoting independence, responsibility, and self-discipline. Most children will respond quite well to authoritative parenting, which leads to a happier child and a more effective parent.

 

Alternatives to Authoritative Parenting

Aside from authoritative parenting, there is also the authoritarian style of parenting and the permissive style of parenting.

Authoritarian parenting involves highly strict rules with little wiggle room for the child. These parents tend to “bark orders” like a drill sergeant and usually overreact to minor transgressions. These parents are often unfair and can sometimes present as “cold” or “too harsh.”

Permissive parenting involves a complete lack of rules, structure, and/or consistency. These parents make very few demands of their children and rarely discipline. They act more as a friend than as a parent.

 

The Parent Coach Plan Can Help You Become an Authoritative Parent

One of the most effective ways to establish an authoritative parenting style is to incorporate a structured behavior plan or discipline program into one’s parenting regimen. A quality behavior plan will help bring about an environment for the child that is firm, fair, consistent, and structured. With these elements in place, children are sure to thrive.

The Parent Coach Plan is an in-home behavior plan (discipline program) that equips parents with the information, advice, and tools that are needed in order to become an authoritative parent. You’ll not only find this program to be effective and easy to implement, but highly affordable as well! With The Parent Coach Plan, you need not spend hundreds of dollars on an over-priced behavior plan that might or might not work. We do the same job for only a fraction of the cost. There’s also no need to wait for your product to arrive in the mail…we now have a downloadable version ready to be implemented just minutes after purchase.

Are you ready to improve your parenting skills and to establish a healthy parent-child relationship with your child?

For more information on The Parent Coach Plan and how it can help you become an authoritative parent click here.

Kids share a room? How to get them to clean it without arguing

I have two daughters that share a room. For the most part they do just fine and have no issues…that is, until it’s time for them to clean their room!

“Ashley keeps telling me what to do!”

“Brianna is just playing and not doing any cleaning.”

It was a given; whenever I sent them to their room to clean, it was like inviting them to join in on a “bicker-fest.”

To combat this problem, I brainstormed a bit and came up with an idea that has, for the most part, worked quite well.

I now have a Room Cleaning Chart that dictates the responsibilities that each girl has with regards to cleaning their room.

For instance, both girls are responsible for making their own bed and putting their own laundry in the hamper. After that, I divide the responsibilities as even as I can between them.

One daughter is responsible for organizing and cleaning off the top of their dresser, picking up ALL trash in the room, putting all books and other “non-toy” items away, and cleaning UNDER the bed (they share a bunk bed).

The other daughter is responsible for cleaning and organizing their closet, putting all toys away in the room, vacuuming the room, and bringing the laundry down to the laundry room. This daughter is also responsible for finding all hair ties around the house and putting them in their designated receptacle (“hair ties around the house” is a big pet peeve of mine).

Once each daughter was given specific tasks in the room it was easy to find out who was cleaning and who was not. This also eliminated A LOT of the bickering that was once a part of the room-cleaning experience for them.

Another idea might be to write down all of the responsibilities then have each child take turns choosing the responsibilities they want. This eliminates the likelihood of each child claiming that they got stuck with all of the bigger tasks.