Teri’s Ten Tips For Parents

YOU WILL NOT BE PERFECT

You will make mistakes. The definitive sign of good parenting is the ability to recognize when you make a mistake, admit you have made one (either to your child or partner), and when the same situation happens again (and it will) you react appropriately.

PARENTS NEED TIME OUT TOO!

The purpose of time out is to allow a child to collect thoughts and monitor feelings around behavior that is inappropriate. The same holds true for adults. When you feel yourself loosing control, it’s ok to say “I need a time out and then we can talk about this.” This helps you take control of the situation and sets a good example to your child on self-regulation.

YOU ARE THE CHIILD’S FIRST TEACHER, YOU HAVE THE POWER

Your child is watching you from the moment of birth, reacting and modulating behavior to create their relationship with you. Don’t let the media and popular parenting gurus take away your power. Yes, friends and peers will be important members in your child’s life and they will bring what they learn back to you either for confirmation or rebuttal. This leading to important communications, dicussions and learning opportunities.

BUILD A CONTAINER OF SAFETY AND TRUST

Predictability of behavior and consequences assist a child in understanding what behavior is expected within the family and culture. Clear, age appropriate expectations must be communicated to a child along with clear, appropriate penalties attached. Most importantly, parents must follow through with the outcome to change the behavior. A child is born into a family without the understanding of how to behave within the family and society. It is the parent’s job to teach them. 

ONLY YOU CAN APPLY ALL THAT YOU HAVE READ TO YOUR CHILD

Let’s face it there are hundreds of books on how to be the best parent you can be but they are written in general terms, the author does not know your child as well as you do because you are with them 24/7. Yes, the experts have seen common themes within their experiences but only you know what will honestly work within your relationship. It sometimes takes a lot of information, brainstorming and insight to come up with a workable resolution that is why I work together with the parents of a child to assist them in understanding and working on their present situation.

LIVE YOUR VALUES SO YOUR CHILD WILL TOO

Setting an example on behavior towards others, treat others the way you would like to be treated. Never lie, cheat or take unfair advantage of others. When you make a mistake interacting with your child, apologize.

LISTEN TO YOUR CHILD WHEN THEY HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY

Don’t shrug things of because they might not matter to you, they matter to your child. Communicate respect even if something “stupid’ is said. Mistakes don’t’ equal stupidity and learning to correct mistakes sensibly is one of the most important life lessons you can teach your child.

HAVE FAMILY DINNERS AT LEAST FOUR TIMES A WEEK:

Studies on family dinners show what an important influence this time together has on children, adolescents and teens. It is a time for families to come together to eat and to talk, reinforcing the family bond and having time together that is not stressful or rushed. It offers a predictable routine and an opportunity for parents to monitor their children’s behavior and linking it to the day’s events. It exposes young children to appropriate adult vocabulary as parents discuss the days’ events and topics helping to improve children’s vocabulary.

Studies are showing that frequent family meals were associated with a lower risk of smoking, drinking, and marijuana use; incidences of depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts were lower; and grades were better.

 It was also noticed that the more often teens had dinner with their parents, the less likely they were to have sexually active friends, less likely girls were to have boyfriends closet to their age and spend less time with boyfriends or girlfriends getting into trouble. Adolescent girls were less likely to have eating disorders when participating in more frequent, positive family meals.

AND FAMILY GAME NIGHTS TOO:

Make a family date at least once a week and make sure not to schedule anything else. Make pizzas together, have soda and popcorn and play a game or do a puzzle together. Take turns picking out the game and have fun together. 

BE A COMPUTER GEEK PARENT:

The computer is an exciting,academic, social and fun experience for a child, adolescent and teen. But it can also be a  dangerous and frightening place for a trusting child. It is the responsibility of a parent to know what your child is doing when on the computer, espically when there is access to the internet. The media has been agressive in reporting how predators use the web to lure trusting and unsuspecting adolescents and teens away from home for the sole purpose of abusing them. This is where parents need to set up computer guidelines and limits; check the website history of their child; put in place age appropriate filters; keep the computer in the main area of the house so that you can keep an eye on what websites your child is visiting; talk to them about the pros and cons of their Facebook page and talk to them about the importance of making “friends” on chat rooms, Facebook, instant messaging and skype.