Genuinely recognizing and praising desirable behavior – It’s important for the praise to be specific and genuine. Instead of, “You are just awesome!”, it’s more effective to quietly say something just so the child you are talking to can hear, “I noticed that you put your bowl and spoon in the dishwasher. That helps make a cleaner space for everyone. I like that.”
Having positive expectations of my children – Have you ever noticed that the thing you dread often happens. A lot can change in parenting, just be expecting things to be OK. It’s an attitude shift that actually generates positive results.
Keeping cool when things get rough – It’s so easy to be swept up with the emotion of the moment. Anger. Frustration. Irritation. Whatever it may be. But it’s so much more effective to have faith that a tough moment that you will get through, and learn from, and grow with. The right perspective lets you keep calm instead of getting swept up in the passing emotion. And that calmness is a powerful tool.
That said, I will be the first to admit that it’s hard to do it in real life, all the time. The good news is your kids give you plenty of opportunities to get it right the next time.
Some of my favorite parenting reads out there are:
- How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk
- Siblings Without Rivalry
- Duct Tape Parenting
- Transforming the Difficult Child: A Nurtured Heart Approach … BTW – I don’t like the idea of labeling a child as “difficult” (see point #2 above about having the positive expectations). However, the book is written very well and has many helpful things to offer. Also, in theory, this book is for very “intense” children (read: kids with behavioral challenges). BUT I find it has useful stuff for any parent and any child. Because all children have moments of intensity.