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Morals & Values

Help Anger Pass

When our kids get angry at us it helps to try and separate our own feelings from the children's... are OK even if they are being kind of difficult right now... Try shifting your focus for a short time. Look out a window, imagine you are at the beach, remember a moment when you were having a good time with the kids... Anger with no place to go often passes...

Learn To Hold Your Own OK-ness
  When we turn to our family and friends to tell us we are ok, rather then validate ourselves, we may find ourselves doing and saying things to others that we wish we could take back. By holding your own OK-ness you remain in control of yourself and not needing to control others as much.
Consistency And Follow Through Builds Trust
  When parents are consistent in their response and follow through in their behavior, children learn to count on that parent and actually feel more secure in their environment. If you tell your children you will pick them up at a specific time, be there. If you tell your kids they can't have candy, do not change your mind. If you promise a reward for good behavior, give it. If you "ground" your teenager, follow through. Try to act, not react to your kids behaviors. Give yourself time to consider what you want to say and do. By being consistent in your actions and behaving in a manner your children can model, children learn the importance of self-respect and recognize the value of trust. Of course this means you must give serious consideration to what you say you are going to do. If you are one who changes your mind often or tends to retract decisions because you "promised" before you knew you could deliver, you will loose an essential element of effective parenting... your child's trust.
Provide Choices and Promote Responsibility
  Including children in the decision process enhances self-esteem. Give children a choice when possible. A good approach is to offer two alternatives that are both acceptable to you as the parent. Your child then feels included, shares in the responsibility and will tend to cooperate because she/he feels powerful. Additional ways to promote responsibility is to ask your children for their advice and perspective, include them in daily activities like preparing meals or helping you shop. Be aware that we often do things for children because it is less hassle for us... This fails to promote feelings of importance and responsibility.
Rubber Fences
  Setting limits for children provides them with a feeling of security while often teaching family values. Limits, however, need to have some give and take, like a fence made of rubber. The limits must flex when pushed on without giving way to pressure. Occasionally, the fence needs mending, the holes repaired and the weak links strengthened or expanded. If your child pushes gently against the fence, perhaps it's just a test... If they burst through the limit... perhaps there is a need to look for the deeper reason... At these times...simply strengthening the limit with warnings or punishments may be missing the point.
Focus On Quality Not Quantity
  All families are too busy these days... Having enough time to be with the kids is a parent's ongoing dilemma. So it is important to know that your children's self-esteem is rooted not in the amount of time you spend with them, but the quality of that time. Studies have shown that spending even 15-20 minutes of quality time with your child every day provides feelings of security and well being. When you are with your child... be there 100%. Set time aside from the phone calls, from the TV, from your own preoccupations. Focus on your child's interests. Get on the floor and play, let them set the pace and offer them the opportunity to show you who they are and what they like to do. Remember to be positive, validate their feelings and most of all remember your goal is to have fun...
Break With Tradition As Role Models
  Obviously as parents our children take after us... We certainly want our kids to develop positive values and form healthy relationships. However, breaking with tradition can sometimes be an advantage. For example... Mother's who share traditional feminine skills like cooking and gardening with their sons can help balance the emphasis our world puts on sports and winning for boys... Conversely, fathers who encourage their daughter's interest in athletic achievements, help to promote independent thinking and assist their girls in overcoming more passive female stereotyping. A balanced individual, whose life is broadened by a variety of experiences... will develop more empathy for others and a better sense of self...
Whose Turn Is It To Say... "I'm Sorry...?"
  Kids and adults all do things we wish we hadn't... If you, as the parent, make a mistake ... or say something you wish you could take back... it's important to apologize to your child. Keep it simple..."I'm sorry, I guess I'm grouchy today." Children already know that people, especially parents, get angry. It is important they are shown how to say "I'm sorry", because we all make mistakes...
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