Parenting
By Hazel Field Melmed, LCSW

Parenting is probably the most important and difficult task we will ever take on. Most people have had little to no training for the challenge. Let us examine a few parenting issues involved as the new school year begins. 

Parenting is probably the most important and difficult task we will ever take on. Most people have had little to no training for the challenge. Let us examine a few parenting issues involved as the new school year begins.

Communications:

* Using short, open ended questions encourages children to talk, e.g. What do you think school is going to be like? What was the most fun for you today? What was hard for you today? Who did you play with at recess? Etc.

  • Make sure you talk to kids at their level, using words they understand. Bend down and make sure you have their attention.
  • Prepare kids for new schedules or activities by talking about what is coming up.
  • Listen to children: Make sure they have your undivided attention. Stop watching T.V. or talking on the phone.

Negotiation:

T.V. time, chores, homework all need to be negotiated.
* Give kids choices so that they feel empowered by making a choice.

  • Make sure that the choice is one that is appropriate and manageable by both parent and child.
  • Consequences should be set up for failure to comply. They should be immediate, short and motivating.
  • The goal is win/win, so both child and parent feel good.
  • Make sure that all accomplishments are acknowledged.
  • Compliment kids, with a hug, high five or a wink – even if the job is not done exactly to your standards. There is nothing like success to make kids feel motivated and good about themselves.

Often parents (usually moms) take on most chores. Parents have the tendency to become the “alarm clock” and must dress kids, make beds, prepare breakfast and lunches, etc. This approach is usually easiest and most efficient when trying to get things done.

Unfortunately, this usually leads to exhausted, overwhelmed adults, who may become frustrated, resentful and short-tempered. The children in these situations miss the opportunity to take on chores and responsibilities that make them feel helpful, accomplished, trusted and part of the family team.

The above should help you show children that you love them and are interested and supportive of them. Remember: what you do is what counts – you are their role model.

Wishing you much joy and fun with this most important and challenging task.

Hazel Field Melmed, LCSW is a psychotherapist in Private Practice at Maria Droste Counseling Center.

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