HAPPY NEW YEAR! If you are like me, you look forward to “a new year, a new you”. This year, let’s all work toward being an even more awesome parent. I have read “The Power of a Positive Mom” (I recommend this book) and have taken “Positive Discipline, along with a dozen practical courses on parenting, teaching and inspiring young learners. It is my passion! The most important things I have learned revolve around being realistic and consistent with your child/student.
So, I thought I would talk to you guys about becoming more realistic and consistent.
What do I mean when I say realistic…. I believe you should assess your child’s abilities and strengths as well as the areas he/she could use a little improvement. Take time to ask questions. Ask yourself, do I enable my child to learn and discover? Or, am I doing to much for him/her? Am I asking him/her to do something he/she is not yet capable of doing on his/her own? Am I pushing too hard? Am I encouraging enough? Watch your child. See what he/she can do on his/her own. Ask his/her teacher if he/she does more (or less) when you are not around. You would be surprised. I have actually watched a child dress himself from head to toe, including buttons and zippers only to have a parent tell me he doesn’t know how. On the flip side, I have had parents tell me their child is capable of something, when the child does not possess of developmental ability to do so.
Being realistic helps us guide our children. Expecting a lot from him/her is great – as long as you set the bar at an attainable height. Setting the bar too high will make your child feel inferior. Setting the bar too low has its problems too. You can be setting them up to believe everything is so easy and when he/she is presented with a situation that is even the slightest bit difficult, he/she fails and feels inadequate. Knowing just how much to expect is the key and you can’t know that without this realistic view of his/her abilities.
Then set realistic guidelines based on his/her abilities. Set expectations based on your desire for him/her to understand his/her role in your family. Allowing your child to be an active participant in your family is the goal. Even if they are small, they can learn. Infants learn that it is night (or at least sleep time) when the room is dark. Children understand rules and at a very young age can also help – in fact, they love to help. Make sure you are clear about the rules and consequences for not following them. If one day you get upset because your child took a cookie from the cabinet and one day you don’t… what message are you sending? Your child will think “Let me try that again today to see what happens…”
Give your child chores and expect him/her to understand and abide by a set of rules, routine, ritual you believe is healthy for your family. Teach your child your routines and encourage him/her to follow them. Determine what is important and work toward that goal. For example, if you like to eat dinner at 6:30, teach your child that. It may mean feeding your child a small snack before then so that he/she is not starving. Do the same thing each day. Be consistent. Pick your battles, but be consistent.
Starting new doesn’t mean starting over. Keep what is working for your family and recreate the things you would prefer to see. You can do it! Action is not easy but it is the best way to get things done. Let me know if I can help!