Nine Steps

Welcome to the inaugural first edition of Ms. Bonnie’s Blog!

I’m excited to be able to share some of my thoughts and hopefully wisdom that I have accumulated over the years since I first began “All My Children” as far back as 1983. The excitement of our new and improved website now allows for me to share some ideas and suggestions that I hope you all will find useful and entertaining. I ask too that if there are topics that you wish to suggest, I would be more than happy to research and offer you more of my thoughts and findings.

I have been a parent of three children for the past 30 years myself and if there is one thing that I have learned, it’s the simple fact that you continue to learn and grow as a parent and your job as a parent is never complete no matter your children’s ages. I recently came across an article entitled “Nine Steps to More Effective Parenting” and I found that the strategies involved are many that we followed over the course of my years as a parent thus I would like to share those strategies with you.

Step 1 Boosting Your Child’s Self-Esteem
Children begin to develop their sense of self as far back as when they are born. A Parents tone of voice, body language and facial expressions are absorbed by your children. More than anything else, your words and actions as a parent affect how your child develops self-esteem. Praise your child’s accomplishments no matter how small, this will make them proud. Allowing your child to work independently will make them feel independent and strong while in contrast, belittling a child will only make them feel worthless. Overall, when speaking to our children we need to choose our words carefully and always be compassionate.

Step 2 Catch Kids Being Good
Often we criticize our children more then we realize. Put yourself in your child’s position and imagine for a moment that it was your boss criticizing you whether it was warranted or not. The more effective approach is to catch your child doing something right and to praise your child’s actions for example you might say “Wow! You cleaned up all of your toys without my having to tell you – that’s awesome!” These types of statements encourage good behavior over the long run rather than repeated scolding.

Step 3 Set Limits and Be Consistent with Your Discipline
Every household needs to set rules of discipline. The goal of discipline is to help kids choose acceptable behaviors and to learn self-control. House rules need to be set so your children understand your expectations which will lead your children to better self-control. No hitting or no name calling are just some examples of house rules. A system of consequences should be set in place such as one warning followed by a “time-out” or loss of privileges. The biggest mistakes parents can make are the failure to follow through with consequences. Being consistent with “consequences” will teach your children what you expect.

Step 4 Make Time for Your Kids
In most homes where both parents both work, it is often difficult for parents and their children to gather together even for a family meal let alone spend any type of quality time together. On the contrary there is nothing children enjoy more.  Kids who often are not getting the attention they deserve will act out in a negative manner so to be sure to get their parents attention. Some ideas to help would be to create a “special night” and allow your children to help decide how to spend your tie together or even something as small as putting a note in your child’s lunch box is another way to connect.

 

Step 5 Be a Good Role Model
Children at a very young age learn how to act by watching their parents. Before you yourself act out in an angry manner in front of your child, be sure to question yourself by asking, “Is this how I would want my child to act in a public place or even at home?” you are constantly being watched by your children for clues and studies have shown that children who hit usually have a role model for aggression at home. Model the traits that you want to see in your children: respect, friendliness, honesty and kindness.
Step 6 Make Communication a Priority
Your children are not just going to do everything you tell them to do all of the time. Often they require an explanation to understand why. We as parents need to take the time to explain sour children understand and learn. Allow your children to make suggestions. Children who are given the opportunity to help make decisions are more likely to complete the task at hand.

Step 7 Be Flexible and Willing to Adjust Your Parenting Style
If you find yourself feeling disappointed by your child’s behavior then perhaps you have set unrealistic expectations. For example if you feel your child should be potty trained and they are still struggling with the concept then perhaps you should speak with other parents or consult with a child development specialist. A child’s behavior often has an effect of their behavior. For example if you constantly find your-self telling your two year old “no” then perhaps you need to limit or alter their surroundings so that fewer things are off limits. As your child changes, your parenting style must change too. Something that has worked in the past may not work in the future.

Step 8 Show that Your Love is Unconditional
As a parent; you are responsible for correcting and guiding your child. How you express your corrective guidance can make all the difference in how your child interprets your expression. Avoid blaming, criticizing or fault-finding which all can undermine self-esteem. Instead, strive to nurture and encourage your child even when disciplining. It is important to let them know that even though we expect better behavior from them that we love them no matter what.

Step 9 Know Your Own Needs and Limitations as a Parent
As I stated much earlier it is impractical to imagine that we will be the perfect parent since we continue to learn ourselves each day. We need to recognize our abilities as well as our shortcomings. Once we have made these conclusions we just need to manage ourselves as parents, focus on the areas that need the most attention. When we feel burned out we need to make some time for ourselves which is not a selfish admission at all. Caring about our own well-being is still an important trait to be valued by your children.

I hope you have found these tips to be helpful. I look forward to offering more insights on future topics and I welcome your suggestions for future discussion topics.

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