Basic Principles

When you are frustrated or feeling you’re not making any headway, remember these basic principles. Review each one and find places where you can improve.  No matter what is going right or wrong in that moment you can feel assured that you have an overall plan in your parenting, general goals for what kind of parent you want to be, and principles to fall back on when you’re not sure what to do.

Some of the information is geared more toward parents of small children (2-8) but the ideas can be easily applied to parenting older children as well, the language just might be a little different.

Explain Expectations – This post talks about preventing problem behavior by telling your children what is expected before the situation occurs.  I take the position that we should think of failure to behave well not as a reason to punish, but an opportunity to teach.  And if we do this teaching beforehand, even better.

Positive Ways to Speak to Your Child, Part I – Explains the importance of speaking kindly and positively and includes advice about not lecturing and validating children’s feelings.

Positive Ways to Speak to Your Child, Part II – Continues advice on how to speak to your children, specifically, why you should lower your voice, and how to give instructions.

Positive Ways to Speak to Your Child, Part III – Explains how and why you should only say what you mean, praise specifically (not generally), and focus your praise on the effort more than the result.

Positive Reinforcement – Commenting on good behavior CHANGES behavior much more than commenting on bad behavior, and doing so has some great side effects.

Stop and Redirect – Teaching and praising correct behavior should be your first line of defense in parenting, but when you must address inappropriate behavior, this post explains the best ways to do so.  I discuss three steps: a verbal reprimand, attempting to distract the child, and (as a last resort) giving consequences.

Stay Close to Your Children – This post talks about creating a strong bond between you and your child, which increases the effectiveness of (and your positive feelings about) parenting. I discuss having a regular one-on-one time with each child and listening with empathy.

Parenting without Irritation – Shares some strategies for reducing your irritation, such as having the right expectations, setting your environment up for success, and understanding your own issues.

Practice Patience – Losing patience is definitely not an effective way to parent.  Here are 7 helpful ideas to keep your cool.

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