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December 09, 2009

SUCCESSFUL PARENTING 101: THE MUST HAVE INGREDIENTS (PART II)

Below are the remaining five tips for being a good parent as a follow up from my last post. 
1.    A BACKBONE AND GOOD BOUNDARIES: Doing the right thing as a parent is incredibly hard.  Seldom are our children going to run up to us and give us a hug after we take their phone or computer away.  Often our rules are met with back talk and a thousand variations of “I hate you!”  We need good boundaries (read my post on boundaries for a refresher).  We need to know that they’re struggling to handle their anger and don’t always mean what they say.  Now, of course, if our child is seventeen and still saying that…we may need to be a bit more worried. 
2.    WARMTH AND ABILITY TO SHOW LOVE WITH ACTIONS AND WORDS NOT JUST BY PROVIDING FOR:  I’ve worked with many adults who were impacted by the lack of affection of their parents.  They had mothers who were great at dinners, housework and limits, but had no idea how to be affectionate or warm.  This isn’t okay.  As parents, we need to do our own work and make sure we can be good parents to our children.  Children want to be -- and feel -- loved.  It’s our job to make sure we show them they are.  Give hugs, say you love them, pat them on the back, be playful, ruffle their hair, etc.  WARM UP.  If this is hard for you then get help—your children need it.

3.    AN ABSENCE OF TECHNOLOGY WHEN CALLED FOR:  This goes along with being present.  Stop multi-tasking and BE PRESENT.  Look your children in the eyes when they’re talking to you. Be interested in their stories.  Watch a movie by watching the movie, not by reading a book while the movie’s on.  Show your kids you care by actually caring enough to be with them and giving them your undivided attention.
4.    ACCEPTANCE OF WHO YOUR CHILD IS:  Know your child and love them for their quirkiness.  If your child is outgoing and active, don’t try to change that by constantly telling them to settle down.  Go with his/her energy whenever possible and learn to love your child for who they are, not who you wish they could be.
5.    CONVERSATION: Talk to your children and know what’s going on in their life.  Who are their friends?  What do they love to do?  Who’s their favorite teacher and why?  What are they most afraid of?  What do they want to be when they grow up?  Ask questions, get curious and keep your finger on the pulse of their lives.  Check their e-mail and texting.  Many kids will need a lot of guidance around what is appropriate and not appropriate—be their eyes. 

There are so many aspects to parenting that I could go on forever.  The bottom line is:  be present, loving and set limits.  If you’re able to focus on these three main principals, the rest should work itself out.  Remember, very few people on their deathbed ever wished they had worked harder in their careers.  Most wish they had had better relationships.  Make that happen today.

CHALLENGE:  Look over the five ingredients to good parenting and pick the one you need to most work on.  Focus all of your parenting energy on the one in which you need the most improvement and pay attention to what you notice.  It will take at least 2-4 weeks to see significant results. 

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I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. Most of the time when I find a blog I don't gain a lot of information but this blog has lots of important information about this. I got lots of information on it . Thanks

Reading all of these article words that I feel parents should always be able to hug and kiss and always say I love you so thanks for the good and I do mean good saying and words

I am far from the perfect mother but feel fortunate that my teenagers aged 15 and 14 both hug me and give me kisses. I am fortunate that they seek me out for the affection, not just me asking for a hug or kiss. My oldest son will still snuggle up with me on the couch.

I do agree with looking at them when they are talking to you. I also have twin 3 year boys and it can be difficult to get them to calm down and listen to me. I have taken to gently holding the boys by the chin so that they can look at me and I ask them to look at me. Then I ask them if they can hear me. Once they have calmed down enough and I know they are listening, I try to reason with them. My oldest twin now grabs my chin and makes me look at him when he is trying to tell me something, especially if I am multi-tasking. It always makes me remember that I can stop what I am doing and listen to what he has to say.

My daughter is in 7th grade and I couldn't believe how many parents kind of fell off the planet when the kids hit middle school. They act like they are done parenting because they got their kid through grade school. But I believe you have to be just as aware or more so in middle school. I plan on being present through high school and not giving up. My parents gave up on me and just let me do whatever I wanted once I got to eighth grade and I think I am worse off because of it.

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