A Few Tips for Parents

Listening to your child – We are often so busy telling our kids what to do that many times we fall short in listening to their concerns. Expressing an interest and learning about our children’s hopes, fears and anxieties is so important. The better we understand the better parent we will be.

Be a positive role model – Remembering not to do anything in front of our children we wouldn’t want them to do. If we find ourselves behaving a way that we do not want our child to imitate, it is a sign we need to change how we react in certain situations.

Stick to rules and set boundaries – Our children need limits so they can feel safe and secure. As they grow and learn, they test limits. Rules need to be enforced after they are made. If we make rules and break them, we are showing our children that we think rules are made to be broken. Good parenting skills require us to stick to rules we establish. Boundaries are not meant to be penalizing or intended to teach “a lesson.” Setting and maintaining boundaries are simply to let others (including our children) know what their choices are.

Manage and own your emotions – If we lose our cool in front of our kids they become fearful of us. There is a big difference between fear and respect. Whether we are arguing with a bill collector on the phone or having an argument with our spouse, exhibiting angry behavior in front of our children is showing them that is how people react when times are tough. Instead we need to illustrate appropriate emotion regulation by resolving the problem in a calm manner. If we do have a meltdown, we need to take responsibility for it and apologize for the behavior.

LOVE, show affection and spend quality time – Many parents spend a great deal of time with their kids but do not actively engage with them. It is important to initiate interactive activities such as playing old-fashioned board games, doing something outdoors or simply talk with them to make the most of the time you have together. We love our children, but don’t always let them know it. We need to tell them we love them (OFTEN); hug and kiss them to show emotion. Hugging our children makes them feel better about themselves and their surroundings, induces an expression of forgiveness, and increases their sense of security, safety, trust and happiness. It also relieves loneliness, frustration, anxiety and other negative emotions.