Wednesday, May 01, 2013

8 Keys to Good Parenting

Most parents want the best for their children. In my life experiences and research I've found 8 key ingredients to good parenting.

After having 3 kids and working with hundreds more I've found most kids just want someone to listen to them.

Let them tell you about their favorite game, their adventures, dreams, or problems. Let them vent. The important thing is not to judge, just give them your undivided attention. Not while watching tv or reading or checking your phone. Drop everything and listen.

Ask Questions
After you've let your kids talk their hearts out ask them questions. Ask them "why they think something happened?", "what they really wanted to happen?", "who their favorite character is and why?"  Get them to elaborate and show you were really listening.

Say No
Learn to say "No". Kids need boundaries - nothing too strict, but just enough to keep them safe. You want them to make some mistakes on their own and you don't want to stifle their creativity.

For example, my kids have a bed time of 9 p.m. They know at that time they need to be in bed. However, if they can't fall asleep they can read quietly in bed till they become tired. It encourages my kids to read on their own and they know to respect everyone else by being quiet so they can sleep.

Say Yes
Whenever you can - say "Yes". Can a friend come over? Can I play a game on my computer? Can we go to a playground?

Even if you need to apply conditions to your answer such as "Yes we can go to the playground, but we need to wait for your father to get home.".  It's important for them to hear "yes" sometimes.

Let your children help you. Teach them how to do what you are doing. If they want to help clean the dishes, show them how to do it carefully so nothing breaks.

Share some of your past with them. If your child is having trouble with math and you did as a child tell them so.  It can help just by knowing you went through the same things.

Have Adventures as a Family
Create memories as a family. Go on adventures together. It doesn't have to be expensive. A simple camping trip to your "exotic" back yard can create a bunch of fun memories.

We've made lots of memories by taking inexpensive trips to the beach and relatives out of state. They had fun playing with new friends and jumping the waves.

This is so important nowadays. Turn off the cell phone, iPod, Nintendo DS, and any other electronic device and just be together.

Read, watch a television show together or eat a meal. Just focus on being together with no distractions.

Get Involved
Listening to your child and asking questions could encourage you to get involved. Maybe your child needs your help that requires you to talk to his/her teacher.  It could be as simple as learning how to play the game their are interested in/obsessed with. Go to their extracurricular practices and actually get involved instead of reading a book or playing on your phone.

Know what's going on in your child's life. Listen, pay undivided attention and get involved. These are all important to good parenting.

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