Motherhood In-Style Magazine

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5 Things You Need To Know About Parenting

By Ann Wolf

I’ve always written my articles geared toward human resources, but having raised three kids who are now 26, 25 and 20 and are doing well in life, I look around at exasperated parents, I feel the need to pour out some of my look-back advice.

Your child is not your friend
My kids were not my friend until they were over 18. Many parents today speak to their children with a coddling, pacifying tone with no trace of authority. Parents – you are the adults. Stop worrying that if you are firm with your children, they will resent you. Yes, they will be upset if you reprimand them, but kids get over things quickly and deep down, having boundaries and consequences makes them feel secure.

Stop talking so much
Parents talk too much. Period. Try to imagine if someone talked to you on a near constant basis each and every day. Personally, I would have a meltdown. I might not realize why I was feeling stressed, but constant parent-speak stresses kids out. For instance, set a bedtime and when it’s time for bed, simply say: bedtime, now (with authority). Car time should be especially honored as a time for kids to simply look out the window and let their mind wander.

I’ve never been a fan of grounding kids for wrong-doing. It is nearly impossible to follow through with it. Rather, take something away from your child that they really want to do such as a planned sleepover. Mentally prepare yourself that when you revoke a privilege such as this, as the time draws near, your child will do everything in their power, including apologizing for the behavior, in order to get you to change your mind. Don’t. I promise that you will not have to go through many of these if you stick to it because your child will know that mom/dad mean business.

This is such a simple but powerful weapon for younger children. Don’t pull this one out too often or it will lose meaning, but tell the child “I’m counting to three-don’t make me get to three!” Very few children want to find out what it means to get to three, and if they push you to three, then you do have to follow through with a time out or whatever, but generally speaking this will work every time.

My kids were always taught to go hug their relatives when they walked in the door. They were also taught to say thank you for every gift they received. To this day, they still hug all the aunts and uncles and grandparents and they acknowledge them for their gifts. And don’t forget about the pleases and thank yous in ordinary situations. Children need to be taught these values early on.

Entertaining your kids
I always felt it was not my job to entertain my kids, because my parents certainly did not entertain me, but I felt a middle of the road approach would do. So when my kids were young, say 3, 4, 5, I would get them set up with their barbies, or match box cars, or whatever.

This gave me the opportunity to be engaged with them, giving them attention because I always felt that I was too involved in household stuff. I would spend about 20-30 minutes and then slip out of the situation. This helped to jump-start play time and they would then play on their own. I do feel though that too much interference with play time will inhibit their ability to form autonomy, independence and dull creativity.

In any parenting situation, just ask yourself this question: “Is this for my child’s highest good?”

Parenting is a tough job. And I admit that I never conquered the battle of sibling rivalry, but read on for my honest take on parenting ideals that will help you to restore calm to your child-riddled life. Life is much more stressful in today’s world. Simple changes and tweaks to your parenting style will go a long way. Take back control and see the positive outcomes from the changes you create!


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