14 Positive Parenting Tips
- Pop Open a BookReading to young children helps them learn. Read to your child every day once he or she reaches 6 months of age. When children can read on their own, take books with you in the car so they can read while traveling.
- Know When to Say "No"Strike a balance. Establish clear and reasonable boundaries. Children are more likely to abuse drugs in homes where there is too much or too little discipline.
- Maintain Healthy BoundariesSet clear rules with clear consequences. Don't give warnings—just apply the consequence. Otherwise, kids will try to see what they can get away with. Praise children when they do the right thing. Positive reinforcement is one of the best ways to enforce rules.
- Be a Good Role ModelChildren who have strong role models early in life will grow into successful adults, studies show. Teach children positive problem-solving strategies and model them yourself. And don't swear, smoke, or abuse drugs, or your kids might imitate you.
- Let Your Child DecideAllow your child to make decisions—and mistakes. Mistakes are a normal part of life and learning. Let your child know that he or she can learn from mistakes. As long as the consequences of a bad decision won't hurt anyone, don't feel that you need to step in.
- Don't Use Junk Food as a RewardGiving goodies for good deeds actually encourages unhealthy eating. Present healthy foods to kids as tasty, delicious choices.
- Stock Up on HealthHave healthy, easy-to-eat foods on hand. Kids choose foods that are ready to eat. Load your fridge with pre-cut veggies in single-serving bags that they can grab on the go.
- Lyrics LowdownTune in to what they are listening. You may be worried that your kids are listening to inappropriate music or watching bad movies. For kids who have healthy, balanced lives, music isn't usually dangerous. If you're concerned, discuss it with them—without criticizing. And watch out for behavior changes, such as social isolation, anorexia, or moodiness, which may signal a bigger problem like depression.
- Encourage Healthy FriendshipsIf your child has fallen in with the wrong crowd, you have reason to be concerned. But forbidding your child to see these friends isn't the best idea. Set consequences if your child adopts the bad behavior you've seen in these friends. If your child's friends don't smoke or do drugs, your child is less likely to experiment. So encourage your child to spend time with friends who match your family's values. Arrange structured activities, such as sleepovers, bowling or watching a sporting event.
- Ask Questions, Set LimitsStay involved. Ask teens what they're doing, where they are, and who they're with. Practice active listening, even if you're uncomfortable with what you hear. Set appropriate limits for them, while still giving them space to grow.
- Learn the Warning SignsKnow a moody teenager? Who doesn't. It's normal for teens to feel angry, alone, or confused. But the following signs could signal a bigger problem that may require outside help:
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Eating disorder
- Skipping school
- Trouble with law enforcement
- Open CommunicationTalking with teens can be tough. Listen to their point of view and let them finish their point before you respond. Don't appear angry or defensive, or your kids will tune out. Don't put down their opinion: Let them know it's OK to disagree.
- Make Room for Self-ExpressionAllow some rebellion. Remember when you grew your hair long and your parents hated it? Some rebellion is normal in the teen years. Give your teens a little leeway with clothes and hairstyle—they're usually just trying to express themselves.
- Give Love and PraiseThe number one thing you can do to help your teenagers cope with these tough years: let them know you love them. Teens respond best to positive feedback, so praise good behavior. Teens with low self-esteem or family problems are more likely to engage in risky behaviors, to have unprotected sex and develop drug or alcohol issues.
14 Positive Parenting Tips