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Helpful Parenting Skill Tips

Tips for Use with Children and Adolescents

  • It is important to note that children learn how to act by watching their parents.
  • Consistency in following through with consequences is key.
  • It is important to remain calm and be in control of your emotions when dealing with your child's negative behavior.
  • Recognize your child's good behavior and abilities.
  • Children respond well to structure and routine in their daily life.
  • Bedtime routines help a child to relax in preparation for sleep.
  • It is important for parents to take care of themselves so they have adequate energy to care for their children. This means adequate sleep, exercise and nutrition which helps keep the stress level manageable and emotions in check.
  • Set aside time each day to talk with or engage in an activity with your child. It may only be 10-15 minutes but the child will feel that they are important in your life and it will build their self-esteem.
  • Offer your child choices rather than ultimatums.
  • When talking to your child about issues or behaviors keep the focus on the behavior.
  • When dealing with negative behaviors, pick your battles.
  • Time outs need to be a learning process not a punishment and therefore the behavior and the consequences for that behavior need to be clearly stated.
  • Be consistent in using time outs and be certain the behavior has ended before the time out begins.
  • If your child has tantrums and you have tried all the suggestions listed above, it may be time to sit down with others and in order to problem solve and assist the child in gaining control of their emotions and behaviors.

Tips to Use with Adolescents

  • If you encounter a power struggle with your teen: Be firm when setting limits, but be flexible and negotiate within the limits you have chosen to set. Provide logical consequences and maintain a positive relationship with your child.
  • Effective parenting includes the following: Including your teen in the problem solving process and treating your teenager with respect. Allow them freedom within limits and use logical consequences for their behaviors instead of responding with anger or punishment.
  • Build an effective relationship with your teenager by spending time together each week as a family in an identified activity. Find activities that everyone will enjoy and ask your teen for some suggestions. Keep it fun and remember that this is not a time for problem solving.
  • The mistake many parents make is trying to control their children's behavior. The best we can do as a parent is to influence their choices. A parent can only be 100% responsible for the choices their teen makes. This includes setting appropriate expectations and limits for their behavior.
  • A sense of self-esteem is one of the most important gifts a parent can give a child. Accept your child as they are and encourage them even when they are less than perfect.
  • Look upon problems and conflicts between you and your teen as opportunities for growth and for teaching cooperation, responsibility, and courage.
  • The fist step in getting a teen to change their behavior is to ask in a polite way. An example of talking to them would be, "When you leave your clothes thrown around I feel sad because it doesn't seem as though you recognize how hard I had to work to get them for you. I would like you to pick them up. It would help me out and it would be good practice for when you have your own home."
  • When an "I" message, as listed above, is not strong enough to motivate your teen to change their behavior, then use logical consequences. Give the teen an Either/Or Choice or a When/Then choice. Ask the teen to help and give choices you can live with.
  • An approachable parent is a parent that a teen will come to for support when there is a problem. To ensure you are an approachable parent, make sure you are someone the teen can trust. Accept the teen as they are and be non-judgmental. Be willing to listen and help when there is a problem.