Good Parent, Bad Parent: The Five Parenting Techniques To Avoid
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By mia bolaris-forget
Even those of us who don't have kids shake our heads at the parenting techniques of others and have our own opinions about how we would handle the same situation and discipline our children. In fact, we all have a particular parenting style (well before we actually become parents) and it's based on how we were raised and what we gleaned from others or heard from the experts.
Still, parenting, like most "theories" looks better on paper....and some suggestions are simply fashionable fads that in reality really don't work. Here are some to omit from your "to do as a parent list".
1. Build self-esteem to raise a better listener and to encourage better behaviour. True, you want to build your child's self esteem, but don't expect that to guarantee a well-disciplined child. What you may wind up with is a self-assured, indignant brat. Instead say experts try to foster a healthy self esteem as a direct result of self respect and choices that deserve kudos and earn that respect. Remind your child that the best choice isn't always the easiest or the most "fun", but it's the one that he or she will feel best about because it's likely the one to be the hardest to achieve. If you and/or the school allow the child to get away with bare minimum that's all he or she will feel he or she is worth and all he or she will strive for. In fact, your child will be happy with a mediocre life and achievements because he or she will have settled for what those in his or her life suggested was "enough". Instead, encourage your child to try harder and do better if possible and be prepared to reward your child for actions/choices that are commendable and that build character and in turn should be the reason your child feels good about himself or herself.
However, experts note that the rewards should be realistic. Do not pat your child on the back for doing homework or cleaning the table or his or her room...these things should be expected. Instead praise your child for initiative taken in doing some of these things, for forethought and a job well done; as well as for problems tackled and (effectively) solved. Remember a child who motivates himself to study or help around the house will ultimately feel better than the child who you have to nag to get the same response or who just doesn't take the same initiatives, regardless of how you or a counselor may praise his or her "efforts". With that said, it's your job to teach your child or children how to behave in a way that will foster self-esteem and not buy into the behavioral babble that once the child is confident he or she will make better decisions, because quite the opposite, say experts is true.
2. Talk out tantrums and bad behaviour: Again, having communication with your child is encouraged and effective, but not in all situations or circumstances. In fact, experts suggest that since children, especially as they approach their tweens and teens are often confused about their emotions and feelings and cannot effectively express themselves, talking may frustrate your child even further, leaving the problem and bad behaviour unsolved. Youngsters need help processing their feeling and being taught about them, rather than being asked about them say experts. In fact, they suggest letting them know that we all have similar feelings from time and time and more importantly, teach them appropriate reactions and responses.
3. Treat each child accordingly: While as parents we "do" want to extend certain "earned" privileges to children who have "proven" themselves there should never be different rules (except based on perhaps age, ability and gender) for different children. In fact, all kids should be held to the same expectations and standards. While it may be very tempting to try to implement simpler rules or have the school, sports team etc, bend the rules to accommodate a "problem child or one with learning disabilities, experts suggest the opposite. Why? Well, because in the real world, he or she will still be expected to perform a certain way and to behave a certain way despite "issues". So, rather than enabling parents should be encouraging kids to give it their best and give it their all to "keep up with the Joneses" (so-to-speak). That doesn't mean you can't or shouldn't cut your child some slack based on his or her ability...but only if you are certain he or she is trying his or her best and not "abusing" the situation. In addition, while they be not be able to perform the same on every level, the truth is that we ALL have strengths and weaknesses and we each have to learn what they are and how to put our focus on them, while also behaving in an appropriate and acceptable social manner, regardless of "challenges". Rather than excuse your child, find ways to hold him or her accountable so that life is easier for him or her in adulthood and so that you child doesn't negatively stand out along the way, becoming an object of potential "ridicule" or one that's always seeking the easy way out.
4. Learn to accept adolescent phases as a part of life: Sure each generation goes through certain fads, but many tweens and teens can actually place themselves in jeopardy because of such "trends" and choices. And, while some novelties may wear off, some may not and that may eventually and ultimately prove to be a problem.
Refrain from excusing your child and his or her behaviour or trying to rationalize it. Instead see it for the potential problem that it may pose and address it accordingly and in the severity that it may result in. Also don't allow yourself, even in your own mind to "justify" your child's behaviour by reminiscing about all the trends you went through or all the "potentially dangerous" fads you survived. And, don't ever reveal to your child that you made it through fine....it's as if you are giving him or her permission to behave inappropriately and take chances with his or her life and future.
Learn to distinguish between "innocent" trends such as fashion fads and those that could be potentially dangerous, even if the "seem" innocent or are deemed to some degree socially acceptable. Remember that drinking socially is not frowned upon, but many youngsters drink not only to be "cool" but also to deal with stress and frustrations and in essence are building a potentially negative life response and pattern. This makes it imperative for parents to not only set a good example replete with a variety of alternatives but to also set boundaries and parameters that children can emulate, preventing your child from developing bad habits, impairing judgment and putting him or her at high-risk.
5. Fall into the trap of believing that harsh punishment equal altered behaviour patterns. Remember that while the punishment should "hurt", it should also fit the crime and also offer a life lesson.
According to experts severe punishment without discussing how to deal with the situation and/or solve the problem can be futile, often leaving the "punishee" frustrated because their (negative) behaviour is the "only" way he or she knows how to respond or is comfortable with behaving. Doing time and then being set free only frees the person to be a repeat offender. However, task-oriented punishments that offer valuable lessons can be much more effective especially if they foster good behaviour. Take for example a child that uses foul language, so you take away his or her computer privileges. What will he learn, possibly not to curse or at least not in front of you. On the other hand, you can ban any bad language in the house for specific periods of time accompanied by a requirement to come up with alternative vocabulary words to help express anger, frustration, etc. Not only are you helping curb your child's bad behaviour, but you are also helping him or her learn something valuable for now and later in life. And, it can be very rewarding when you or someone else praises him or her on his or her ability to eloquently express himself or herself.
Remember, responsibility and behaving responsibly is KEY. Teach your child about what they are and how to meet his or her. And, don't forget to implement some form of accountability that will help teach your child how to function successfully both under your rules and roof and beyond.
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