Thursday, October 1, 2009

3 Ways to Be a Loving Parent

Interesting read from

1. Practice Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement encourages good behavior and discourages bad behavior while building self-esteem and confidence in children. How you communicate with your child partially shapes how he sees himself. Children who receive only criticism from their parents can develop negative self-images. On the other hand, children who consistently receive positive reinforcement become more self-assured. Reinforce good behavior consistently, even when it's expected. If your daughter did her chores without being asked, tell her how proud you are that she acted responsibly. Reward large accomplishments, such as making the honor roll. Don't, however, reward your children for ordinary achievements.

Disciplining a child can teach the difference between right from wrong, one of the most loving things you can do. Positive reinforcement can modify bad behavior by expressing your awareness of the child's feelings and desires, setting clear limits, looking for ways to compromise and allowing the child to express dissatisfaction. When condemning bad behavior, focus on the behavior, not on the child. Start a reprimand with reinforcement, and then follow by criticizing the act. For example, you could say, "You are a smart boy, but you acted irresponsibly when you didn't do your homework."

2. Listen Actively

Listening intently to your child is an act of love. Children who know that their parents care about their thoughts and feelings feel more secure and valued. However, listening actively requires more than just sitting quietly while your kids talk. Reflect what your kids say back to them, ask relevant questions and show empathy to indicate that you are really listening.

Help your child come up with their own solutions. Encouraging your kids to brainstorm different options to resolve their problems shows that you are engaged in what they care about while teaching critical problem-solving skills and independent thinking. Resisting the urge to tell a child what to do and helping him discover it on his own pays dividends in the end.

3. Learn How to Apologize

Children usually learn best by example. To teach your kid how to take responsibility for her actions, it's important to apologize to her whenever you are wrong. Kids need to learn that no one is perfect, not even their parents. Apologizing to your kids shows them that you are fallible and teaches lessons about forgiveness. A good apology should clarify what you did wrong, express remorse without making excuses and ask for forgiveness. Apologies show children that you love them and value their feelings towards you.

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