This week we have all been thinking about the new year. For parents who are looking for a better way to deal with their growing children it seems time to suggest some New Year’s resolutions. Here are seven that are, in my mind, very important.
1. Listen. Really listen to your child. This means keeping quiet yourself, getting into receive as opposed to transmit, and asking yourself “What is this youngster saying?” In the process you will learn something.
2. Think. Don’t come from emotion alone. Review options. Consider what you have heard and really think. This will prevent rash and sometimes harmful action.
3. Eliminate. Do away with editorial soliloquies, sermons and rants. When you speak, make what you say clear, concise and non-accusatory. Avoid labels and inadvertently calling your child harmful names. They will believe you if you say those names often enough.
4. Assume. Practice positive assumptions. Eventually your youngster will take your assumptions to heart. “You are an honest person.” “I know in your heart you want to do the right thing.” “You are faithful and will always try.” You get the idea.
5. Reduce. Lower the volume. No yelling is needed to make your point. If you yell constantly, do not be surprised if your child pays no attention to you. It often helps to take a deep breath and relax before speaking.
6. Enlarge. Make your definition of discipline what it should be. The word means to be a pupil, to learn. Get off the “punishment” bandwagon and ask what will work to make your youngster chose wise behavior. Deal with the important things that matter in the future of the child. Practice logical consequences. Learn and learn some more.
7. Model. Do not expect your child to practice what has not been observed. Do the right thing yourself.
Meanwhile, happy new year!