Top 10 Tips
Top 10 Tips For Parents
When your child wants to show you something, stop what you are doing and pay attention to your child. It is important to spend frequent, small amounts of time with your child doing things that you both enjoy.
Give your child lots of physical affection – children often like hugs, cuddles, and holding hands.
Talk to your child about things he/she is interested in and share aspects of your day with your child.
Give your child lots of descriptive praise when they do something that you would like to see more of, e.g., “Thank you for doing what I asked straight away”.
Children are more likely to misbehave when they are bored so provide lots of engaging indoor and outdoor activities for your child, e.g., playdough, colouring in, cardboard boxes, dress ups, playhouses, etc.
Teach your child new skills by first showing the skill yourself, then giving your child opportunities to learn the new skill. For example, speak politely to each other in the home. Then, prompt your child to speak politely (e.g., say “please” or “thank you”), and praise your child for their efforts.
Set clear limits on your child’s behaviour. Sit down and have a family discussion on the rules in the home. Let your child know what the consequences will be if they break the rules.
If your child misbehaves, stay calm and give them a clear instruction to stop misbehaving and tell them what you would like them to do instead (e.g., “Stop fighting; play nicely with each other.” Praise your child if they stop. If they do not stop, follow through with an appropriate consequence.
Have realistic expectations. All children misbehave at times and it is inevitable that you will have some discipline hassles. Trying to be the perfect parent can set you up for frustration and disappointment.
Look after yourself. It is difficult to be a calm, relaxed parent if you are stressed, anxious, or depressed. Try to find time every week to let yourself unwind or do something that you enjoy.
Top 10 Tips For Parents With Teenagers
Be the kind of adult you want your kids to become. Actively decide to lead by example. Really think about what you do and say (and how you say it) every day.
Save your energy for important issues. Try to avoid knee-jerk or instinctive reactions, especially if you often disagree. Rather than react immediately, pause to think about whether the issue is important in the long term, and about other ways to respond.
Remember their brains are easily switched to ‘high alert’. Avoid triggering your teenager’s automatic ‘fight or flight’ response when you want to talk to them. Ask them if it’s a good time to talk; sit down; use a calm, gentle voice; find out more about their feelings.
Timing is everything. Only talk about problem issues when everyone’s calm and relaxed, not busy, stressed or in a hurry. Schedule a meeting, and agree beforehand that as a family, you will calmly explore issues so you can all get along better.
Learn a new language. Break the habit of speaking to your teenager as you did when they were younger. Try chatting with them more like you would with a work colleague or acquaintance. Share ideas, offer choices, negotiate; value their contribution.
Teach risk-evaluation skills. Prompt your teenager to think about potentially risky situations ahead of time, and to consider the likely outcomes of various choices. Rather than lay down the law, ask ‘what if…’ questions and help them to come up with possible options and action plans.
Stay in touch. Have regular positive conversations about day-to-day activities so you know what your teenager is doing, and keep up to date with new technology. Ask them to show you what they’re interested in and how it works.
Involve them in making decisions. Allow for change as they become older. Help them take on new responsibilities. Be flexible and let them have a say wherever possible. Hold family meetings so they can contribute ideas and have their opinions heard and valued.
Turn the ‘need for novelty’ and peer group acceptance into a positive. Help your teenager find supervised group activities they enjoy. Regular activity – even if it’s not sport – and good eating and sleep patterns are vital for physical and mental health. Limit screen time appropriately.
Be a safe sounding board. Teenagers’ emotions are often intense, and they’re struggling to find their place in the world. Encourage them to discuss new ideas and values at home, without rejection or ridicule. Help them figure out problems and possibilities.