Raising kids today is arguably harder than ever before. But, there are some ways to help ease the stress and strain of raising your little ones and prevent behavior problems through good parenting. Here is a list of things any parent can do to raise their children to be confident, successful individuals:
Establish “together time.” Establish a regular weekly routine for doing something special with your child even if it’s just going out for ice cream
Don’t be afraid to ask where your kids are going and who they’ll be with. Get to know your kid’s friends and their parents–so you’re familiar with their activities.
Try to be there after school when your child gets home.
Eat together often. Meals are a great time to talk about the day and bond.
Be a better listener. Ask and encourage questions. Ask your kid’s input about family decisions. Showing your willingness to listen will make your child feel more comfortable about opening up to you.
Don’t react in a way that will cut off further discussion. If your child says things that challenge or shock you, turn them into a calm discussion.
Be a living, day to day example of your value system. Show the compassion, honesty, generosity, and openness you want your child to have.
Know that there is no such thing as “do as I say, not as I do” when it comes to your kids.
Examine your own behavior.
Reward good behavior consistently and immediately. Expressions of love, appreciation, and thanks go a long way–even for kids who think themselves too old for hugs.
Accentuate the positive. Emphasize what your kid does right. Restrain the urge to be critical. Affection and respect will reinforce good (and change bad) behavior. Embarrassment or uneasiness won’t.
Create rules. Discuss in advance the consequences of breaking them. Don’t make empty threats or let the rule-breaker off easy. Don’t impose harsh or unexpected new punishments.
Set a curfew. Enforce it strictly, but be ready to negotiate on special occasions.
Have kids check in at regular times. Give them a phone card, change or even a pager, with clear rules for using it.
Call parents whose home is to be used for a party. On a party night, don’t be afraid to stop in to say hello (and make sure that adult supervision is in place).
Listen to your instincts. Don’t be afraid to intervene if your gut reaction tells you something’s wrong.
Let your children know how much you care in every situation you can, and especially when they are having problems.
Keep a positive attitude about your ability to be a parent. Trust your instincts.
Take care of yourself. Meet your needs for support with other adults so you can establish healthy parent-child boundaries.
Take time to teach your children values while they are young. Live your own values every day.
Make your home a safe, secure, and positive environment. Provide appropriate privacy for each family member.
Get involved in your child’s school, your neighborhood, and your community. You, not the teachers and other authority figures in your child’s life, are responsible for parenting your child.
Set clear rules and limits for your children. Be flexible and adjust the rules and limits as they grow and are able to set them for themselves.
Follow through with consequences for your children’s misbehavior. Be certain the consequences are immediate and relate to the misbehavior, not your anger.
Let your children take responsibility for their own actions. They will learn quickly if misbehavior results in unpleasant consequences.
Be a guide for your children. Offer to help with homework, in social situations, and with concerns about the future. Be there to help them direct and redirect their energy and to understand and express their feelings.
Provide an environment for your children where a foundation of mutual appreciation, support, and respect is the basis of your relationship into their adult years.
You are separate from your child. Let go of the responsibility for all of your children’s feelings or outcomes of their decisions. Your children’s
successes or failures are theirs, not yours.