Change Parenting Attitude
- Parents first, child second – “Nurture Oneself”
- Children are more likely to respect the parent, when the parent respects themselves.
- Tired and stressed parents have difficulty setting boundaries.
- When your “cup is empty” you have nothing left to give.
Dethrone Your Child
Halt the constant praise, rewards and “good jobs”, and start expecting good behavior.
Reinforce and Acknowledge positive behaviors when you see them
- “Catch them when they are good.”
- Be specific when you see positive behaviors, such as kindness, sharing, cooperation, respect, tolerance, sympathy, and empathy. (eg. “I noticed that you were helping your brother today. That was very kind of you.”)
Stress the importance of inner character and strength vs. outer performance and appearance.
Set clear limits with rules that:
- are consistently reinforced
- are reasonable
- are flexible
- are limited (3-5)
- teach societal standards
- protect the child’s physical health
- protect everyone’s safety
- respect “all living things”
- focus more on “Dos” vs. “Dont’s”
State limits clearly:
- Initiate eye contact
- Use soft words
- Speak naturally and slowly
- Use only a few words
- Tell the child what you want him to do vs. what not to do
Be calm but firm, when necessary.
Ignore minor misbehaviors.
Provide choices, but limit them (2-3 at most).
Don’t give a choice, if there is no real choice.
Use gentle reminders and review limits/rules, when necessary. (Note: Reminders are best given only once to reinforce positive outcomes and avoid power struggles.)
Provide consequences and encourage restitution, when necessary.
Teach patience by providing a place to wait or by giving a specific time frame, thus creating a “waiting habit”.
Teach altruism – Move from “Me” to “We” with opportunities for volunteering and donating to less fortunate.
Limit Screen Time.
Provide for daily opportunities of outside, open-ended, unstructured play.
Allow for purposeful daily activity at home where the child is a contributing member of the family (eg. Daily “Jobs”).
Be a positive role model for your child. (Never underestimate the power of the golden rule).
Have a “light-spirited” sense of humor toward parenting.
Anticipate that changing a child’s behavior does not occur overnight.