Keep Parenting Positive

Parenting has been called the toughest job you’ll ever love, and it’s true that it is hard work. But there’s lots of research showing that focusing on the positive with your kids can make parenting more rewarding and enjoyable for you, and make your kids more likely to succeed. Here are some tips:

Tips for . . .

  • parents with children ages birth to 5
    • Say yes to young children more than you say no.
    • If you need to help your child change a behavior, offer an appealing alternative rather than just a reprimand.
    • Praise young children as they master new skills, such as using the toilet. Comfort them when they feel frustrated and let them progress at their own rate without pressure.
    • parents with children ages 6 to 9
    • Ask your children every day about the “good things and bad things” that happened. Talk about what troubles them, and celebrate (through a hug, smile, or high-five) the things that make them happy.
    • During school conferences and similar conversations with other adults, emphasize your children’s strengths and abilities.
    • Set aside time together for fun family activities for no particular reason.
    • parents with children ages 10 to 15
    • Tell your children how proud you are of them. Be sure to let them know you enjoy their company.
    • When setting boundaries, focus on what you expect rather than what you don’t want. It’s a simple switch, for example, from saying that you don’t want homework left until the last minute, to explaining that you expect it to be completed before your kids move on to other after-school activities.
    • parents with children ages 16 to 18
    • Invite another adult to go with you (or in your place if you can’t attend) to one of your child’s performances, competitions, or other activities. Be open about your enthusiasm for your kids’ interests.
    • When you feel stuck and as though you’re not getting through to your teen, try something new. For example, if you’re frustrated about a behavior, try sending a humorous e-mail or text message about it.
  • Spend time with your kids and their friends, even the friends you don’t like very much. Get to know what makes them laugh, what music they like, what makes them tick.

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