SIMPLE TIPS FOR BECOMING A BETTER PARENT
by Dr. Carol Renaud Gaffney
1. Be aware of your own hot buttons and
The more you know yourself, both what you like
and what you don't like, the better you'll be
able to manage your own behavior the next time
a "situation" occurs. We have fewer parental regrets
when we respond thoughtfully rather than react
2. Take good care of yourself! Most parents
are tired, stressed overwhelmed and overworked.
It sure is hard under these circumstances to respond
as the caring, loving parent you really are. The
simplest and most effective way of taking care
of yourself is to focus on your breathing. As
you breathe deeply and calmly, you start a healing
process that affects your body, mind and spirit.
3. Be the number one model for your kids.
Our kids really do learn from what we do, not
from what we say. If you want them to have a strong
self-esteem, be sure that yours is strong. If
you want them to be loving, kind people, you be
a loving, kind person. If you want them to take
responsibility for their actions, be responsible
in your own life.
4. Treat each child as an individual.
As similar as children may seem to be, each has
his or her own unique qualities, dispositions
and spirits. As an adult in this child's life,
you can adapt your behavior to the child's uniqueness
to have a better relationship.
5. Use the "problems" that occur as "learning
Regardless of age, kids can get involved in coming
up with solutions to problems when they occur.
Because growing our kids to adulthood is a gradual
process of their learning and our letting go,
we need to provide as many opportunities as possible
for them to be thinking people while they have
us as in-house coaches.
6. Provide limits.
Limits are necessary for kids to know they are
within a safe environment where they can experiment
with growing up. Limits are like a fence that
lets kids know they are safe to play within their
own yard. Kids rely on their adults to put up
the fences because initially they are too young
and inexperienced to do it by themselves.
7. Follow through with consequences.
When kids mess up we are sometimes too busy, too
tired, too guilty, or too afraid they won't like
us anymore to do what we know we need to do. When
we let our kids off the hook for any of these
reasons, we fail them.
8. House rules are clearly written and
House rules are as important to a well-functioning
family as job descriptions and organizational
policy are to successful companies. By planning
ahead, we can include every family member in the
decision making and reduce daily stress.
9. Envision the family you want.
What behaviors do you expect from your children?
What behaviors do you expect from yourself? What
do you want your home to look like? What kind
of future do you want? The more you envision and
design the desired outcome, the more likely it
is to happen.
10. Come from love.
Every time you are with your children you have
an opportunity to let them know how great they
are, how much you love them and how happy you
are they are part of your life. A touch, a look,
a gesture or a word can express the deep caring
and connection you have with them.