Ladies & Gentlemen: How to Grow Them at Home
Expect the Best
Assume that your child will succeed and do well; look at misdeeds or failures as the exception. Focus on typical behaviors – i.e., good grades in school, at home on time, doing chores – rather than dwelling on things that did not go well or pointing out how disappointed you are in something.
Treat your children with fairness and honesty. Ask their opinion and follow their advice when possible. Avoid dictating to them; give them an opportunity to make choices whenever possible. Never lie to a child, not matter how diffi cult the truth may seem. Do not violate children’s confi dence by teasing or belittling them. Only in the most extreme situations should you intrude on their privacy by going through their personal belongings or reading their letters, journals or emails.
Assume a Reasonable Explanation
When your child gets into trouble, use it as an opportunity to talk about problem-solving skills. Give him a chance to explain the situation. Discuss the behavior and the reasoning that led up to it. Without accusation, take him step by step through the incident and explore his emotions, problemsolving skills, alternative behaviors, and the consequences. The main focus should be his actions, not the incident.
It is an eternal truth that children act their age. They are learning how to live life. It is during these formative years we are most instrumental in redirecting their behavior into adaptive and positive channels. Children make many mistakes, many times. It is important we share our moral and social values with them and lovingly tolerate their deviations without condemnation. Criticize the deed, not the doer.
Be as You Want Them to Be
Children learn by example. They will respond to stress, frustration and anger in one of two ways: externalizing or internalizing. Externalizing behaviors are abusive tactics such as yelling, crying, teasing, name-calling, temper tantrums and aggression. Internalizing behaviors include withdrawal, isolation, pouting and being silent.
Teach your child how to react positively when life is unfair, things don’t go his way, or he is disappointed. A child is often a mirror of the adults around him.