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Posts Tagged ‘being a better parent’

“I don’t know what to do with my teenage daughter,” one of my young mom friends told me the other day.”My daughter is so different from me! She loves lace and frilly things, and I’m just not that way.”

“I published a parenting column years and years ago on that subject,” I told her. “When my daughter was in her twenties, it helped me a lot to re-read it. I’d ask myself, ‘Do I still believe this?’ And I did. Maybe you’d like to read it.”

She wanted it, so I emailed it, and she told me later that it helped her. Maybe some other mother will find it useful, too. So here it is:

Letting Daughters Grow

When our daughter Jessica was about 11 she went through an annoying phase in which she seemed to be putting me down all the time. “I like to be on time,” she’d say, “but you’re always late.”  Or, “You’re always forgetting things, Mom. I’m not absent minded like you are.”

I felt defensive and irritated by the barrage of apparently critical remarks until the day it dawned on me that Jessica was observing, not criticizing. She was looking at me closely, then looking at herself, and then trying to figure out which of us was which. (more…)

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How to be a better parent in June:

On Sundays…Keep in mind that rules without a loving relationship breed rebellion.

On Mondays… Remember to look directly into your children’s  eyes when you encourage, compliment, or give “I love you” messages. Many parents unconsciously recognize the power of direct eye contact during negative encounters with their children. “Look at me,” they say before beginning to scold or give instructions. This is OK as long as parents use direct eye contact for positive encounters as well. Otherwise, children will begin to avoid making eye contact, which will hurt their ability to relate to others.

On Tuesdays… Don’t quit reading aloud to older children who can read independently. The books you read to them will build their vocabulary and enjoyment of literature. So read a chapter or two of a longer book aloud every night, and take a rousing adventure along on a family camping trip.

On Wednesdays…Keep in mind that a parent’s attitude is the most important factor in giving minor first aid. You need to be matter of fact about the pain without dismissing it. By providing a bit of warm nurturing along with a calm approach, you help children develop calmness and patience toward life’s inevitable emergencies. Warm soapy water, kisses and bandages are the standard, tried and true remedy for minor cuts and scrapes.

On Thursdays… When children do poorly on chores, “Criticize the job, not the worker,” says organization expert Bonnie McCullough.

On Fridays… Remember that perfectionism destroys creativity. So be generous with supplies and matter of fact about mistakes. For example, never restrict a child to one piece of paper. Children need to make many drawings at one sitting to improve their skills. Having to produce perfection on the first piece of paper blocks creativity.

On Saturdays…Keep in mind that children’s spiritual needs may sometimes be difficult for adults to recognize because they are so intertwined with youngsters’ physical and emotional needs. So be sensitive to the possibility that your child’s distress may be spiritual, but that he or she may not know helpful words to express the need.

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