Swanson Center helps parents recognize that it is one of the most important and most rewarding experiences in life. It can also be the most challenging. Many parents wish their children came with manuals explaining step by step what parenting techniques will always work. Each child born is a unique individual and there are no easy answers. They are principles that many parents find helpful.

Consistency and follow through are important elements in any parenting plan. Be consistent in what the rules, consequences and rewards are for specific behaviors. When giving a consequence follow through and do what you say you are going to do. Make sure the consequence fits the behavior. If your child is disruptive in a store, taking away a favorite toy will not do much to change the behavior. Telling the child because they cannot follow the rules in the store he/she needs to go home but he/she can try again at a later time is a more logical consequence.

Set reasonable expectations. Make sure expectations are appropriate for your child’s age and abilities. Teach and model the expectation to your child. Make sure your child understands the expectation. Ask your child to describe in their own words what he/she is expected to do. Ask your child to show you they can do the task. Teach the child what he/she is to do rather than tell what they should not do.

When you talk to your child try to get at eye level with him/her. Have your child look at you; make sure you look at your child. Make sure the tone of your voice fits the situation. Be firm but not angry when correcting behavior and friendly when encouraging or complimenting your child. Be clear and specific in your communication.

Take notice when you child exhibits a positive behavior. Show approval for the behavior, describe the positive behavior, give a reason the behavior id positive, and on occasion give your child a positive consequence.“Great job! You finished your homework before turning on the TV. Getting your homework done right away gives you more time to do fun things.”

Establish family routines and traditions. They make families stronger and give your child a sense of belonging. Traditions make your family unique and special. Develop a parenting plan yearly. Establish what skills and characteristics you want to develop in your child over the next year. Hold family meetings where issues can be discussed and fun activities can be planned.

Enjoy your children; they are very special gifts!

For more information, visit www.SwansonCenter.org

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