12 Great Reminders for Moms

I shared a bit about some resolutions on Tuesday during my audio blog.  It is never too late to incorporate changes into your parenting routine, so I thought I would share some great ‘reminders’ for the New Year.

We all have the same struggles – we nag our kids too much, over-react when they mess up and we regret not spending enough time with them.  We are all in that boat – at one time or another!  Don’t be too hard on yourself, guilt gets you no where.  Not only is parenting the world’s hardest job but children aren’t born with owner’s manuals so we tend to rely on trial and error a great deal.  Even I have bad days {remember my facebook post last week, ARG!}

It is always good to re-evaluate and make changes to our behavior.  Remember, we cannot control our kids, but we can certainly control our own actions.  Making small changes really does make a difference to the big picture.  Be realistic and choose one or two to add to your list of “work-ons” for 2013.

Be consistent with your discipline

This is a biggie – but your determination and effort pays off!  Set consistent limits and boundaries, even for adolescents, and be willing to negotiate and give a little ground. When children refuse to cooperate or break the rules, act calmly and reasonably rather than resort to severe measures to ‘teach them a lesson’.

Avoid nagging, yelling and constantly reminding children to cooperate

Sometimes it is better to keep quiet than nag or remind children to do their chores, behave or just be reasonable human beings. It is no coincidence that parents who nag frequently complain of ‘deaf’ children. There is usually nothing wrong with children’s hearing. They simply listen to what they want to hear.  It is also a surprise to realize we train our children to “not listen.”

Focus on children’s positive behaviors

If you find yourself continually pointing out your children’s misbehavior and getting nowhere then try to ignore the inappropriate as much as possible. Instead, get into the habit of ‘catching kids being good’. Like adults, children respond to favorable comments and are likely to adopt behaviors that gain them attention.

Encourage children persistently

It has been estimated that children hear 17 negative comments at home for every piece of praise or encouragement. Exposure to continuous criticism and negative comments can have disastrous effects on children’s self esteem. If you are not an encouraging person then linking your positive comments to something you normally do such as saying good night to your children. Then you will know that you have encouraged them at least once each day. That’s a good start.

Spend more time together as a family

In an era of working parents and busy children, finding time for everyone to be home together is increasingly difficult. Be specific with this goal or it will end up on the scrap heap of broken goals. Aim to have at least five shared mealtimes each week or spend one weekend a month devoted purely to family purposes.

Give yourself a regular break

Don’t be a slave to your family. Taking time out to do something just for yourself is a necessity rather than a luxury. Revise your household routine, solicit the help of your spouse, children or employ a baby-sitter to provide you with some time-off.  You need to re-fuel your tank in order to keep going!

Plan some time to be with your spouse

Whether it is a romantic weekend away or just meeting for coffee together once a week make sure you have an opportunity to spend time with your partner – and don’t talk about the kids.

Control the television set

If the television is continually on in your house then it is time to establish some tight limits for viewing. Ten hours per week is a reasonable guideline for children of most ages. Have a television-free night and let children sample other forms of entertainment.

Check your children’s computer usage

Computers are rapidly replacing the television as the electronic baby-sitter in many families. To be fair, computers have more educational potential than the television but children predominantly use them for games, unless they receive assistance and direction from parents. Pull up a chair and join in rather than leave children to their own devices whenever they hit a computer.

Avoid giving into temper tantrums

Do you give in when your toddler throws himself on his back in the supermarket and thrashes about like a crab? Do you throw your hands up in despair if your teenager stomps off to her bedroom slamming the door behind her when she doesn’t get her own way?  Tantrums are a potent form of emotional blackmail designed to coerce parents to give in to children’s demands. Next time your child throws a curve ball at you, remove yourself and refuse to give in to such tactics.

Avoid the ‘good’ parent syndrome

Good parents protect children from many of life’s difficulties and rob them of opportunities to develop independence and responsibility. They take forgotten lunches to school, pay fines for their children’s overdue library books and believe that chores are for parents rather than children. If this sounds familiar let children take more responsibility for their own actions in the coming year.

Keep misbehavior in perspective

You probably think at times that your children or teenagers are the world’s worst or that no one else acts up like them. Think again. If your child misbehaves the chances are that he or she is no trailblazer. Many others mess up too. That is little comfort, however, if you have to put up with difficult kids day in and day out. Regardless of how hard things become try to focus on their positive behaviors and work hard to maintain your relationship even if it appears that the effort is all one way. Your persistence will pay off in the long run.

What is at the top of your list to work on?

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