A funny, story-filled back-to-basics, functional approach to parenting. This simple and clear advice will inspire parents to think about what they are teaching their children by what they say, what they do, and by what they are not doing.
Parental Wimp Syndrome
Are you having a difficult time getting your children to behave appropriately?
Do your young children have temper tantrums?
Do you find yourself yelling all the time just to get your children to pay attention?
Are other people suggesting that you should have your children tested for ADD/ADHD?
If you answer YES to some of the above questions, you may suffer from Parental Wimp Syndrome. This book is for you!
Top-Ten List for Effective Parenting
By Thomas J. Zirpoli, Ph.D.
Number 1: Provide Appropriate Supervision.
Children who know that their parents know where they are and what they are doing are less likely to get into trouble than children who know that their behavior is not monitored by their parents. Indeed, parental supervision is one of the most important factors used by researchers to predict future behavioral problems in children. For example, it has been demonstrated that the lack of parental supervision is a major contributor and predictor of delinquency in adolescents.
Advice to Parents: Always let your children know that you care about where they are, whom they are with, and what they are doing. Never be afraid to ask. And when young children are playing with friends, check on them. Let your children know that you care enough to want to know.
Number 2: Provide Appropriate Structure and Routines.
Contrary to popular myth, structure and routines do not stifle children's creativity. In fact, structure provides children with the security to be creative and learn within a safe environment. Rules, guidelines and daily routines help children develop organization in their lives and an understanding of what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Routines add predictability to a child's busy schedule, and are essential to appropriate behaviors at transition times such as getting up in the morning, bedtime, and so on.
Advice for Parents: Provide children with rules regarding acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Talk to your children about your expectations regarding their behavior. Establish daily routines for such activities as getting up in the morning, doing homework, eating meals, and going to bed. Give children jobs and responsibilities.
Number 3: Model Appropriate Behavior.
Parents are the most important model for children and parents must model the behavior they want to see in their children. So, if parents want their children to say "Please" and "Thank you," they must set the example. If parents want their children to say "I am sorry," they must provide the model. Also, if parents do not want their children to be aggressive when expressing anger, they must learn to express their feelings in non-aggressive ways. Parents provide their children with important models when they deal with anger, hurt, pain, and disappointment in an appropriate, socially acceptable manner.
Advice to Parents: Think about the models of behavior you provide for your children on a daily basis. Think about what your children are learning from your behavior? If necessary, provide more appropriate models.
Number 4: Reinforce Appropriate Behavior.
Whoever started the rumor that children should learn to behave appropriately because "it-is-the-right-thing-to-do" should be sentenced to life with a boss who never has an encouraging word. Even grown-ups need to hear that they are doing a good job. Isn't it nice when the kids say something like "Gee mom, this is great dinner!" The bottom line is that everyone needs to feel appreciated.
Advice to Parents: As the saying goes, "Catch them being good" and let your children know that you notice the good things they do. Thank them for doing good things, helping you, doing homework, and so on. Don't force children to resort to inappropriate behavior in order to get your attention. Remember, you can't say too many nice things to your children.
Number 5: Provide Predictable and Consistent Discipline.
Once parents understand the importance of rules and guidelines, it is time to decide what to do when the rules are not followed. The bottom line is this: DO SOMETHING! If parents establish a rule and do not have a consequence for breaking the rule, their children will learn that their parents don't mean what they say and don't say what they mean. In the future, they will learn that it is not important to listen to their parents. In other words, they will learn to be noncompliant.
Advice to Parents: Say what you mean and mean what you say. Praise children for following the rules and making good choices. Have a consequence for breaking the rules and other inappropriate behaviors. Effective consequences may include a time-out for young children and loss of privileges for older children. Effective consequences don't have to be harsh or long-term, just consistent. You don't have to yell when giving a consequence and you don't have to lecture. But, be consistent.
Number 6: Maintain Regular Contact With Child's Teachers.
When parents maintain regular contact with their children's teachers, their children are more likely to perform better in school. When parents talk to teachers, children get the message that parents care about their school work, that their school work is being monitored by their parents, and that their parents and teachers are working together. Parents cannot expect their children to be concerned about school if parents are not concerned enough to become involved
Advice to Parents: Attend parent-teacher conferences through your child's senior year of high school. Respond to notes sent home by teachers. Don't be afraid to visit the school or call a child's teacher. Let teachers know that you care and want to support their efforts to teach your children. Use e-mail to maintain contact with teachers.
Number 7: Avoid Looking for Biological Causes of Behavior.
Very little research links typical, everyday, inappropriate behavior, such as tantrums, noncompliance, and aggression, to biological causes. The fact is, most of these behaviors are learned and appropriate behaviors can be learned in their place. Medications, while sometimes necessary, do not change the child's environment and conditions under which the inappropriate behavior was learned. Medications do not teach new behaviors, parents teach new behaviors.
Advice to Parents: When confronted with behavior problems, evaluate your own behavior and ask what you can do to change the child's behavior. For example, is the child having temper tantrums because sometimes you give in to his demands? Is the child noncompliant because sometimes you do not follow up on your requests? Also, avoid physicians who are quick to prescribe medications for behavior. Medications should be a last resort, not a quick fix for common behavior problems or inconsistent parenting.
Number 8: Be a Parent, Not a Friend.
Too many parents think that they need to be a good "friend" to their children. The most important thing children need in life is effective parenting, not another friend. Someday, if parents are very lucky, their children will grow up, look back on their childhood and appreciate the fact that they had good parents. Children will have lots of friends during their lives, but only two parents.
Advice to Parents: Listen to your children and they will talk to you. If you jump on them every time they approach you, they will stop talking to you. Let your children know that you value their opinion. Allow children to have and make choices, but-remember-- you are the parent and you limit the choices.
Number 9: Tell Your Children You Love Them.
Children need to know that they are loved and that their parents will love them regardless of the stupid mistakes that they are likely to make. While parents may not like their behavior, it is important for children to know that they are loved.
Advice to Parents: Tell your children you love them each and every day. Get into the habit when they are young and it will be easier when they are older. But, it is never too late to start. Show them that you care about the things that are important to them. Encourage their extra-curricula activities and hobbies. Remember, your child does not have to love what you love. Rather, they should find and, with your support, develop their own talents and interests. Always speak to your children with respect and dignity and love.
Number 10: Have Fun!
Children sense parents' mood and their behavior frequently reflects their parents' frame of mind. When parents are happy and having fun, their children are usually happy and having fun. When parents are worried, their children are likely to be worried and anxious. And when parents are in a foul mood, aren't their children usually moody and restless?
Advice to Parents: Ask yourself: Are you having fun with your children? If not, why not? Are you spending too much time at work? Are you spending too much time at home thinking about work instead of playing with your children? As someone once said, a dying person never wishes he/she spent more time at the office. Be a strong parent and you will enjoy your children.