With the hot dry summer coming to an end and the beginning of school just around the corner, the focus in many families turns once again to the kids and their education. Getting all those costly school supplies is only part of the challenge parents face. The bigger frustration for most parents is the never ending challenge to get their kids to listen! Homework and chores are not on the top of the priority list for most kids. It can be like pulling teeth to get any sort of cooperation even on a good day. Here are some positive parenting tips that are sure to help.

1. Assume Control - Don’t yell, force or manipulate your child into doing what you want them to do. This will only hurt their self esteem and teach them poor ways to solve their problems. Instead, give simply direction using a frank business-like tone. “Where are you supposed to be? Go there.” “What are supposed to be doing? Go do it now. I’ll check in with you in 10 minutes.”  Then simply stare at the child with a neutral expression until they finally go. Never argue, negotiate, lecture or explain yourself. You are the parent and you call the shots. End of story.

2. Disconnect - Cut off communication as soon as the child becomes abusive, obnoxious, or disrespectful. Stop the show, stop the car, or leave the mall. Simply say, “Don’t talk to me that way, it’s disrespectful.” Then turn and walk away. When you disconnect rather than engage a child you take away their power. Children only have as much power as you give them.

3. Empowering Consequences - Use consequences that empower children in a positive way. Here are three options:

    a) Age appropriate goal setting. Set an achievable goal for the child that you want them to attain and use the child’s “currency” as an incentive. “When you can play nicely with your sister for 20 min, then you can play a game on your tablet.” “When you can get the next chapter of your math homework done, you can call a friend to come over.” Achieving goals makes kids feel competent which is a vital part of self esteem development. 

    b) Natural Consequences. Let children experience the natural consequences of their actions. Rather than fight with your child to eat their dinner, you simply let the child go hungry. Later, when the child comes looking for a snack you say, “I’d love to give you a snack, but snacks are for kids who finish their dinner. Would you like to finish your dinner?” Now the child has a simple choice to make. Eat or go hungry. You don’t need to argue with them. Just wait them out. 

    c) Restorative Consequences. Here the goal is to have the child fix, restore or make up for something they did wrong. If they hurt someone's feelings, they need to apologize. If they break a toy they need to save some money to replace it. If they waste 30 min of homework time fooling around, they owe back 30 min of free time. 

Good parenting is hard work. It’s not for the lazy. It must be purposeful, strategic and implemented with compassion and patience. Parents need to model the attitudes and behaviour they want from their kids. It’s a 24/7 job to shape a child into a mature, responsible, productive adult. But when it’s done you can be proud of them and proud of yourself for a job well done.

Do you have more questions? Email your questions and comments to info@pacificfamilylife.com. We love offering advice, so check back often for new tips and articles!

Posted August 21, 2015

Back-to-School Parenting Tips


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