As parents, we expect our children to follow the rules, but what about us? According to Parenting with Dignity author Mac Bledsoe (yes, all-star footballer Drew Bledsoe’s dad) has developed a 5-point plan for raising responsible, independent kids. Parents can use five simple tools to change their children’s behavior. One of the greatest mistakes parents can make is parenting without a plan. Another important consideration is to use these techniques as a preventative measure, before there is a problem. Here are five rules for parents that can be part of your proaction, rather than reaction.
- Tell Your Kids What You Want Them to Do! – They should know what you expect of them. Often times, we tell our kids what we don’t want them to do (i.e. don’t talk to strangers!), but should really be telling them what we want them to do. Explain the desired behaviors you wish to see from them.
- Criticize the Performance, Not the Person—To appropriately change behavior, criticism may be necessary. Criticize their behavior, but not your child.
- Don’t Assume they learned it: Repeat it!—Repetition is essential to learning. When teaching your child, you may have to repeat the information a few times. Hide your impatience and don’t get angry. Just because you know the information, doesn’t mean your child has learned it on the first go-around. If your child is having difficulty learning something, try tackling it from another angle until he does understand.
- What They Say to Themselves is What Counts—Self-motivation is critical, and might be the only motivation that continues to propel your child forward when you are not around. In order for your child to develop positive statements to themselves and to make the behaviors you expect from them to become the behaviors they expect from themselves, than you need to model these behaviors.
- Send a Constant Message of LOVE—It’s not just something you say, but rather something you do. Children learn to love based on how they are loved. By unconditionally loving your child, send them love when they most need to hear it, which might also be the time you feel least able to say it.
Adapted by Cortney Gumbleton from Parenting with Dignity by Mac Bledsoe, Alpha Books.