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Parenting Effectively

When children are effectively parented, they feel better about themselves and their abilities. They enter school excited and ready to learn. And, they are more likely to both achieve to their fullest potential at school and to make positive contributions to community life.

These effectively parented children are also more prone, as they become adults, to be healthy, law-abiding citizens, and to have successful careers and family lives.

So, the gift of effective parenting is one that keeps on giving!

Parenting Styles
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Parenting Effectively
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How to be a good father
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How to be a good mother
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Good Parenting Tips
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Parenting Young Children
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Teaching your child about Budgeting
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Handling your child 's Temper Tantrums

 
 Nurture your child's self-esteem. Your words and actions as a parent affect your child's developing self-esteem more than anything else. Praising your child's accomplishments, however small, will make him or her feel proud; letting your child do things independently will make him or her feel capable and strong. By contrast, belittling comments or comparing your child unfavorably with another will make him or her feel worthless.

Catch your child being good. Have you ever stopped to think about how many times you react negatively to your child in a given day? The more effective parenting approach is to make a point of finding something to praise every day. Be generous with rewards - your love, hugs, and compliments can work wonders and are often reward enough. Soon you will find you are "growing" more of the behavior you would like to see.

Set limits and be consistent with your discipline. Discipline is necessary in every household. The goal of discipline is to help children choose acceptable behaviors and learn self-control. Establishing house rules will help children understand your expectations and develop self-control. You may want to have a system in place: one warning, followed by consequences such as a "time out" or loss of privileges.

Make time for your children. With so many demands on your time, it's often difficult for parents and children to get together for a family meal, let alone spend some quality time together. Children who are not getting the attention they want from their parents often act out or misbehave because they are assured of being noticed that way. Many parents find it mutually rewarding to have pre-scheduled time with their child on a regular basis. Create a "special night" each week to be together and let him or her help decide how you will spend your time. Look for other ways to connect with your child - put a note or something special in his or her lunch box.

Be a good role model. Young children learn a great deal about how to act by watching you. The younger they are, the more cues they take from you. Before you lash out or blow your top in front of your child, think about this: is that how you want your child to behave when he or she is angry? Be constantly aware that you are being observed by your children. Model the traits you wish to cultivate in your child: respect, friendliness, honesty, kindness, tolerance. Exhibit unselfish behavior. Do things for other people without expecting a reward. Express thanks and offer compliments. Above all, treat your children the way you expect other people to treat you.

Make communication a priority. You can't expect children to do everything simply because you, as a parent, "say so." Children want and deserve explanations as much as adults do. Parents who reason with their children allow them to understand and learn in a nonjudgmental way. Make your expectations clear. If there is a problem, describe it to your child, express your feelings about it, and invite your child to work on a solution with you. Be sure to include consequences. Make suggestions and offer choices. Be open to your child's suggestions as well. Children who participate in decisions are more motivated to carry them out.

 Be flexible and willing to adjust your parenting style. If you frequently feel "let down" by your child's behavior, it may be because you have unrealistic expectations. As your child changes, you will gradually have to change your parenting style. Chances are, what works with your child now won't work as well in a year or two.

Show that your love is unconditional. As an effective parent, you are responsible for correcting and guiding your child. But how you express your corrective guidance makes all the difference in how your child receives it. When you have to confront your child, avoid blaming, criticizing, or fault-finding, which undermine self-esteem and can lead to resentment. Instead, strive to nurture and encourage, even when you are disciplining your child. Make sure he or she knows that although you want and expect better next time, your love is there no matter what.

Be aware of your own needs and limitations as an effective parent. Face it - you are an imperfect parent. You have strengths and weaknesses as a family leader. Recognize your abilities and vow to work on your weaknesses. Try to have realistic expectations for yourself, your spouse, and your children. You don't have to have all the answers - be forgiving of yourself. And try to make parenting a manageable job. Focus on the areas that need the most attention rather than trying to address everything all at once. Admit it when you're burned out. Take time out from parenting to do things that will make you happy as a person (or as a couple). Focusing on your needs does not make you selfish. It simply means you care about your own well-being, which is another important value to model for your children.

 
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