I was inspired to write this article after speaking with a couple of families about effective parenting and child rearing. I will tackle five areas that I found to be of the most interest to the parents and children of those parents. Enjoy the read and feel free to extend the conversation or ask questions through the comment box.
Catch Your Children Doing Something Great
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So often when immersed in the daily grind of the day, we find ourselves viewing our children with a critical lens. We end up constantly correcting their every move. We mean well by doing so, but they would never believe us if we told them such. This is why it is so important within all the critiquing that we point out the great things we see as well.
The great things are often overlooked and treated as things that are supposed to happen. In the many roles we play as parents, we must remember that all human beings have a basic need to be nurtured, loved and appreciated. It takes less muscles and energy to smile than it does to frown. Pointing out the great things will create an environment that is more positive and conducive to your childs growth.
Be very specific when pointing out what your child did great. Dont just say great job or I am proud of you. Tell them exactly what it was they did great and/or why you are proud of them. Once you get in the habit of doing this, you will begin to see more of the behavior and characteristics you praise exhibited by your child. My experience suggests that this approach will save you from yelling and getting overly upset when your child does something wrong.
Lets also keep in mind that children are children. They are supposed to make mistakes. How we respond when they make those mistakes may be one of the single most important ingredients to shaping and molding who they become and how they view the world. Put as much energy into catching your children doing something great as you do when reacting to the things they do wrong and experience notable changes in your child as well as the atmosphere in your home.
Make Time For Your Children
Making time for your children is one of the biggest difference makers in effective parenting and partnerships. When I first began leading my school, Renaissance Leadership Academy, known and beloved as RLA (www.rlascholars.com), I spent countless hours after school working to reform the school that no one thought could be reformed. In fact it has been reformed and we are one of the elite middle schools in the world. This is not what this article is about so I digress. Actually, let me expound on this idea.
Throughout all the success and transformation of RLA, I was missing and neglecting my biggest support system, my family. My children we're in the very early stages of their lives and I was missing it. Following my third year I did something different and it worked. I planned my family schedule first and then my work schedule was created. Oh how things changed after that. I am happy, full of joy and fulfilled again. I am spending so much more time with my children and getting twice as much work done. My children, wife and I are on cloud nine all the time as we are enjoying life together.
When you make time for your children, opt to do things that require you to communicate and get to know one another. The movies are great, but it becomes 90 to 120 minutes that you sit next to one another and not say a word. If movies are a major part of the time you spend with your children, learn to follow up the movie with a dialogue about the movie. You can ask your child questions like the ones that follow. Use them all or pick a few. Make sure you answer the questions as well. You want the communication to be two-way. The more your child sees your human side the better.
- In what way does this movie remind you of your life? Why or Why not?
- Which character in the movie do you mostly identify with? Why?
- Which character in the movie do you least identify with? Why?
- If you we're a character in the movie, how would you impact the movie and change the ending?
- If you could create a character to be in the movie, who would that character be and how would he/she change the movie?
- Which scene in the movie do you remember most? Why?
- What scene in the movie did not make any sense? Why?
- What would you tell the writer and/or director of the movie he/she could have done better?
- What would you tell the writer and/or director that you loved about the movie?
- Who would you recommend to go see this movie? Why?
Take ordering food to go to the next level by asking your children to conduct research and find five or more cool or unknown facts about the type of food you are ordering or the culture that the cuisine represents. Museums are great as well. One of my favorite things to do with my children is act out skits. We laugh for hours doing this and it's free.
My wife and I often have dance battles with and against our children. It is tons of fun and the results are two-folded. Preparing for the dance battle forces our children to work together in fun ways they may normally not have the opportunity to as a result of their heavy academic and extra-curricular schedule. Preparing for the battle also allows my wife and I an opportunity to interact with one another in a different way. Our children also get to see us having fun together and with them as we work as one unit. Its also our opportunity to model how to work together with minimal conflict though we sometimes cannot agree on certain high stakes dance moves. LOL!!!!!!!
You must make time for your children. It will mean the world to them and they will remember it for a lifetime. If you choose not to make time for your children, someone else will. No parent wants that to be the end result.
Clearly Communicate Your Expectations To Your Children
If you are not articulating your expectations to your children on an ongoing basis, you cannot become upset when they do not know what you expect. The idea that I should only have to say something one time is a falsehood. In fact, children, teenagers and adults often need constant reminding of things. The catch is we are much more likely to remember those things that are important to us. How many children view cleaning up their room as important? Not many. This is why reminders such as chore logs, events on calendar, notes, reminders in an electronic device such as cellphone or computer and a good ole phone call reminder are important. We should teach our children to write down and prioritize the items we deem to be most important in our communication of expectations with them. This way the reminder is viewable. The more they see it, the more opportunities the message has to transfer from their working memory to their permanent memory.
Communication with children must be clear and very specific. Mean what you say and say what you mean. Do not beat around the bush or talk around your expectations when making a salient point in regard to expectations with your children. Children will sometimes pretend that they did not understand if you allow them to.
As you communicate with your children check for understanding. This technique is not limited to your childs teacher. Ask your child to repeat or restate what you expect in his/her own words. This way you are able to clear up any misconceptions and validate understanding of your expectations if your child has the proper understanding.
Clearly communicating with your child will also prepare him/her to communicate with others in an effective way. Do not underestimate the power of clear and specific communication. Practice it daily with your children.
Be The Best Role-Model That You Can Be
I cannot stress enough how important the parent role as role model is in the development of children. Children see, hear and feel all that we do, say and go through. Children are very sophisticated whether this is evidence by their report card grades or not. The saying that, We are our Childs first Teacher is so correct.
As my children are growing I continually see how they are developing many of the habits that my wife and I exhibit.
Children will hear what we say when we are lecturing or speaking to them, but they are more likely to follow what we do. This idea is very powerful and should be considered strongly when parenting children. If you constantly respond negatively to your children, are short-tempered and/or are occupied with your cell phone or computer while they are attempting to speak with you, they are likely to develop the same habits. If you communicate with your children, are patient, read with them, speak with them politely and with a patient tone, allow them to see you treating others with respect and dignity and always find a reason to speak highly of them; you will find them doing the same for others.
When we recognize that we are not being the best role models, we must set the parameters to change immediately. We must take the necessary steps to make positive changes that will have positive implications in the lives of our children.
The bottom line is simple. Model for your children the behaviors and characteristics that you want them to embrace and make a part of whom they are. In 95% of the cases, our children become influenced by and reflections of who we are and what we model as parents. A question to strongly consider is, Are you comfortable with the type of role-model you have become for your child?
Use Your Words to Build Your Children Up, Not Break Them Down
We begin shaping who our children are when they are in the womb. Once they enter the world, they pick up on everything around them including our tone, body language and how we respond whether negatively or positively to the things they do.
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Posted in Renovations Post Date 12/18/2016