Here are a few tips to define success, integrate your parenting goals into your daily activities, and shift your thought process to be more proactive and less reactive:
1. Listen. Listen for understanding. This requires stopping what you are doing and thinking about what your child is saying. In many situations, you are able to stop, get on their level, and look at them. Then tell them, you are listening, and trying to understand what they need or want. Then listen. When your child knows you are listening and care about what they need, you will lessen the chances of temper tantrums.
2. Make an easy plan. Identify ways you can model to your children that value or behavior for each of the most important success factors, while you go about your daily life. Get your children involved in the process. This is your opportunity to be proactive and reinforce positive actions each day.
3. Be Respectful. No matter what, always teach respect by being respectful. Your words and actions are extremely important in interactions with everyone. Treat your child as you want him to treat you and other people. Remember the “Golden Rule.”
4. Set an intention to succeed. Set the image of parenting success clearly in your head and act as if it were already accomplished. Make a commitment to make your success image come true.
5. Review at different stages in your child’s life. Find a way to remind yourself of your intention and your action plan. Review it periodically to make sure it is still relevant to you and appropriate to your children’s’ ages and interests. One of the best ways to ensure that you stay on track with any goal is to find an accountability partner – your spouse, a friend, a coach.
6. Be A Playful Parent. When we play with our children we truly get on their level. Play naturally helps children express and understand their feelings and their environment in safe ways. Play encourages imagination and creative tendencies.
7. Use Humor. Having a sense of humor helps your child become less stressed and feel comfortable in communicating with you.
8. Appreciate your child’s unique personality and talents. Children come into the world with their own personality. While we can guide, support, and influence some aspects of their behavior, who they are at the core is pretty well established in utero! That’s part of what makes them unique and precious, and they should be celebrated.
9. Offer Simple Choices. Give your child a “sense” of control–offer them two choices instead of giving orders. Children will be less apt to fight if they feel like they have some control over their own life. Give them some “control” throughout the day and you will notice a big difference in their level of cooperation.
10. Use Time In. Time in helps your child to see what he or she did wrong, and correct the problem, rather than just punishing.
11. Be Consistent. Even the littlest members of the family can learn the “Family Rules”. Then stick to them. It’s confusing for children when rules are only enforced some of the time. Only set limits you know you can enforce and then be prepared to take a stand.
12. Avoid confrontation by using a “When you do this . . . Then you can do that” approach – Saying yes will always work better than no, when wanting a child to cooperate. Rephrase the situation to start the sentence with a positive. Example: Your child wants a candy bar but it is dinnertime. Don’t risk confrontation by saying using a negative…use a positive alternative! “Yes, after you eat your dinner, I will give you your candy.” Stick to it!
13. Decide what parenting success means to you. Imagine a point in your child’s future (college graduation, wedding, etc.) when you will reflect on the adult your child has become. Set the platform to be proud of the wonderful person they have become, respecting their inherent traits as well as the values they hold and how they treat others and make decisions.
When you consciously and intentionally model the traits and behaviors you wish for your child, your opportunities to foster those values grow exponentially. You may never get a formal performance appraisal for your job as a parent, but it’s nice to know that you’ve done everything you can to help your child be the best person they can be. Now that’s a job well done!