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Parenting Plans – Cultivating Morals & Character in Your Child

PARENTING PLANS…

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… help you to create a vision that guides your decisions and behavior as you raise your child. This is essential to a healthy parent-child relationship. Have you taken the time to think about the values you want to cultivate and the family experiences you want to create? In this article, I’ll ask you to look deep into your heart and think about what it really means to be a parent, what your child needs from you and how you can provide it. I’ll also ask you to consider your own needs, as a parent and as an individual who seeks meaning and purpose in his or her life. By reading this and following my recommendations, you’ll be ready to create your own parenting plan and learn what it really takes to raise a child to maturity and what a delightful journey it is.

First, let’s explore the components of a healthy family

In a healthy family, parenting is a top priority. Discipline is fair, consistent and designed to teach, rather than blame, punish or humiliate. Parents establish firm limits, but allow children freedom of expression within boundaries that are in place not to keep children down, but to keep them safe. Expression of feelings is encouraged. Even negative emotions are okay. The family is a safe haven where the child can relax and be himself.

Parenting plans must respect each person’s individuality

Although each person is a member of this tribe which is your family, individual needs must be encouraged and respected. We’ll also explore what makes up a good parenting plan in this article.

Parents acknowledge that while togetherness is important, everyone has the need for solitude. Time for self-care is also essentially, especially for hard-working parents. Parents need to take time for themselves, so they can fill the cup that gives them the energy to take care of others.

Good parenting plans focus on togetherness and shared experiences, but also allow time for solitude and self-care.

Parents create rituals that make sense within the family and create deep and lasting bonds.

Focus on personal growth

Even as parents are raising their children to become mature adults, they realize that they need to work on their weaknesses and tendencies that are detrimental to a healthy, loving family (such as a tendency to overreact, to lash out when stressed, to drink to relieve tension, to avoid intimacy through workaholism, etc.)

Parenting Plans

Spend quality time with your children each day, but never be fooled into thinking that participating in an occasional fun activity is enough. You must also be there for the daily struggles and problems. This is what I refer to as quantity time.

Do activities together: preparing meals, cleaning the kitchen, riding bikes, walking the dog. Make your drive time to and from school, one-on-one time for sharing feelings, dreams and struggles.

Use what’s happening in the moment to teach self-discipline and cultivate awareness, compassion and a sense of diplomacy.

Create family rituals that have a sense of meaning and foster deep bonds. Don’t just blindly follow traditions. Use them to create your own.

Use the parenting plans on this page as a starting point for your own vision. If you have ideas to contribute, please use the box below. Be part of a caring community of parents around the world who weave their own thread into the tapestry of humanity by consciously raising their children.

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Am I ‘Too Tough’ When I Discipline My Kids?

lable kidsI’ve noticed that the more sternly I speak to my kids — for example, after they’ve run into the street without looking  the more distraught they get. How can I make sure they understand the seriousness of certain situations without making them feel worse?
– Zoe

As the saying goes, “Desperate times call for desperate measures.” When your child’s safety is at risk — whether he’s run into the street, reached for an open flame, or gotten dangerously close to a pool — yelling, screaming, or crying out is a perfectly normal (and necessary!) response. After all, at that moment, you would do anything possible to get your child’s attention and get him out of harm’s way.

After an episode like this, it’s natural for kids to cry — and for you to want to apologize. But the truth is, your kids are likely crying in response to the fear and urgency in your voice, not because you’ve been “too stern.” At times like these, it’s OK to comfort them without apologizing. Give your child a hug and say something like, “I know you’re upset. But what you did was dangerous and I was scared that you were going to get hurt. You must never do that again.” Punishing kids after an event like this is usually not necessary, since they’ve probably learned their lesson.

On the other hand, there are times when being too stern — like yelling regularly for minor offenses — can backfire. Kids can become immune to parents’ overblown reactions and fail to take them seriously. If you feel yourself getting into this habit, take a deep breath before responding to your child’s behavior and ask yourself, “Am I about to overreact?” If so, walk away for a few minutes and come back when you’ve calmed down.

In general, when it comes to disciplining kids, it’s best to speak with a low, firm voice and to keep your focus on the behavior, not the child. It’s also helpful to use natural consequences whenever possible. That means if your child has thrown a toy, ask her to pick it up. If she’s taken something from her sibling, ask her to return it. If she chooses not to comply, an age-appropriate timeout or other consequence should follow, despite tearful pleas. Consistency is the key to effective discipline, and giving in to a child’s tears may inadvertently reinforce negative behavior.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: July 2010

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Developing Your Child’s Self-Esteem

thankful kidsHealthy self-esteem is like a child’s armor against the challenges of the world. Kids who know their strengths and weaknesses and feel good about themselves seem to have an easier time handling conflicts and resisting negative pressures. They tend to smile more readily and enjoy life. These kids are realistic and generally optimistic. In contrast, kids with low self-esteem can find challenges to be sources of major anxiety and frustration. Those who think poorly of themselves have a hard time finding solutions to problems. If given to self-critical thoughts such as “I’m no good” or “I can’t do anything right,” they may become passive, withdrawn, or depressed. Faced with a new challenge, their immediate response might be “I can’t.”

What Is Self-Esteem?

Self-esteem is similar to self-worth (how much a person values himself or herself). This can change from day to day or from year to year, but overall self-esteem tends to develop from infancy and keep going until we are adults. Self-esteem also can be defined as feeling capable while also feeling loved. A child who is happy with an achievement but does not feel loved may eventually experience low self-esteem. Likewise, a child who feels loved but is hesitant about his or her own abilities can also develop low self-esteem. Healthy self-esteem comes when a good balance is maintained. Patterns of self-esteem start very early in life. The concept of success following effort and persistence starts early. Once people reach adulthood, it’s harder to make changes to how they see and define themselves. So, it’s wise to think about developing and promoting self-esteem during childhood. As kids try, fail, try again, fail again, and then finally succeed, they develop ideas about their own capabilities. At the same time, they’re creating a self-concept based on interactions with other people. This is why parental involvement is key to helping kids form accurate, healthy self-perceptions. Parents and caregivers can promote healthy self-esteem by showing encouragement and enjoyment in many areas. Avoid focusing on one specific area; for example, success on a spelling test, which can lead to kids feeling that they’re only as valuable as their test scores.

Signs of Unhealthy and Healthy Self-Esteem

Self-esteem fluctuates as kids grow. It’s frequently changed and fine-tuned, because it is affected by a child’s experiences and new perceptions. So it helps to be aware of the signs of both healthy and unhealthy self-esteem. Kids with low self-esteem may not want to try new things and may speak negatively about themselves: “I’m stupid,” “I’ll never learn how to do this,” or “What’s the point? Nobody cares about me anyway.” They may exhibit a low tolerance for frustration, giving up easily or waiting for somebody else to take over. They tend to be overly critical of and easily disappointed in themselves. Kids with low self-esteem see temporary setbacks as permanent, intolerable conditions, and a sense of pessimism prevails. This can place kids at risk for stress and mental health problems, as well as real difficulties solving different kinds of problems and challenges they encounter. Kids with healthy self-esteem tend to enjoy interacting with others. They’re comfortable in social settings and enjoys group activities as well as independent pursuits. When challenges arise, they can work toward finding solutions and voice discontent without belittling themselves or others. For example, rather than saying, “I’m an idiot,” a child with healthy self-esteem says, “I don’t understand this.” They know their strengths and weaknesses, and accept them. A sense of optimism prevails. — How Parents Can Help How can a parent help to foster healthy self-esteem in a child? These tips can make a big difference:

  • Be careful what you say. Kids can be sensitive to parents’ and others’ words. Remember to praise your child not only for a job well done, but also for effort. But be truthful. For example, if your child doesn’t make the soccer team, avoid saying something like, “Well, next time you’ll work harder and make it.” Instead, try “Well, you didn’t make the team, but I’m really proud of the effort you put into it.” Reward effort and completion instead of outcome.Sometimes, a child’s skill level is just not there — so helping kids overcome disappointments can really help them learn what they’re good at and what they’re not so good at. As adults, it’s OK to say “I can’t carry a tune” or “I couldn’t kick a ball to save my life,” so use warmth and humor to help your kids learn about themselves and to appreciate what makes them unique.
  • Be a positive role model. If you’re excessively harsh on yourself, pessimistic, or unrealistic about your abilities and limitations, your kids might eventually mirror you. Nurture your own self-esteem and they’ll have a great role model.
  • Identify and redirect inaccurate beliefs. It’s important for parents to identify kids’ irrational beliefs about themselves, whether they’re about perfection, attractiveness, ability, or anything else. Helping kids set more accurate standards and be more realistic in evaluating themselves will help them have a healthy self-concept.Inaccurate perceptions of self can take root and become reality to kids. For example, a child who does very well in school but struggles with math may say, “I can’t do math. I’m a bad student.” Not only is this a false generalization, it’s also a belief that can set a child up for failure. Encourage kids to see a situation in a more objective way. A helpful response might be: “You are a good student. You do great in school. Math is a subject that you need to spend more time on. We’ll work on it together.”
  • Be spontaneous and affectionate. Your love will help boost your child’s self-esteem. Give hugs and tell kids you’re proud of them when you can see them putting effort toward something or trying something at which they previously failed. Put notes in your child’s lunchbox with messages like “I think you’re terrific!”Give praise often and honestly, but without overdoing it. Having an inflated sense of self can lead kids and teens to put others down or feel that they’re better than everyone else, which can be socially isolating.
  • Give positive, accurate feedback. Comments like “You always work yourself up into such a frenzy!” will make kids feel like they have no control over their outbursts. A better statement is, “I can see you were very angry with your brother, but it was nice that you were able to talk about it instead of yelling or hitting.” This acknowledges a child’s feelings, rewards the choice made, and encourages the child to make the right choice again next time.
  • Create a safe, loving home environment. Kids who don’t feel safe or are abused at home are at greatest risk for developing poor self-esteem. A child who is exposed to parents who fight and argue repeatedly may feel they have no control over their environment and become helpless or depressed.Also watch for signs of abuse by others, problems in school, trouble with peers, and other factors that may affect kids’ self-esteem. Encourage your kids to talk to you or other trusted adults about solving problems that are too big to solve by themselves.
  • Help kids become involved in constructive experiences.Activities that encourage cooperation rather than competition are especially helpful in fostering self-esteem. For example, mentoring programs in which an older child helps a younger one learn to read can do wonders for both kids. Volunteering and contributing to your local community can have positive effects on self-esteem for everyone involved.

When promoting healthy self-esteem, it’s important to not have too much or too little but “just enough.” Make sure your kids don’t end up feeling that if they’re average or normal at something, it’s the same as not being good or special.

Finding Professional Help

If you suspect your child has low self-esteem, consider getting professional help. Child and adolescent therapists and counselors can help identify coping strategies to help deal with problems at school or home in ways that help kids feel better about themselves. Therapy can help kids learn to view themselves and the world more realistically and help with problem-solving. Developing the confidence to understand when you can deal with a problem and when to ask for help is vital to positive self esteem. Taking responsibility and pride in who you are is a sure sign of healthy self-esteem and the greatest gift parents can give to their child.

Reviewed by: Michelle New, PhD

Date reviewed: March 2012

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Basic Steps of Instructing Young Children

  1. Come near to your childboy angry
  2. Sit on eye-level
  3. Get his/her attention before saying something (e.g. call name)
  4. Use positive words (do instead of don’t)
  5. Make your facial expression match your verbal expression
  6. Use body movement to clarify the message/instruction (e.g. pointing).

When the Child does not respond:

  • Call his/her name again (a bit firmer without screaming)
  • Repeat the instruction (a bit firmer without screaming)

When the Child does not do as you say:

  • State the consequence (e.g. if you don’t put the toys in the cupboard, I will put them in my room and you won’t be able to get them out when you want).
  • Give another chance by repeating the instruction.

When the Child does not do as you say:

  • Perform consequence

Note: Young children naturally explore boundaries. So it’s normal for children to at times challenge them. Setting reasonable consequences and carrying them out however teaches them that you’re serious about your rules/boundaries and will eventually lead them to abide by them.

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How to make Children Love to Learn

HWAs parents would hope for the best for our children. There are various tips that are very effective so that children love to learn which makes a pleasant atmosphere. According to the results of research on how the brain controls the memory in the brain would be very easy to receive and record information that goes if it is in a pleasant atmosphere. children who may feel that learning is something that is fun to have a sense of want to know the great, and greatly affect the success of learning in the future.

Learn how to identify the type of child is the type of auditory, visual or kinesthetic. Break at intervals of 15 minutes rest is far more effective than learning continuously without any break. Results showed that children are able to fully concentrate a maximum of 20 minutes. more than that then the child will begin to decrease the power of concentration. Basically the child has an instinct to learn everything that is around. Children will be the spirit and enthusiasm in learning if the content of the material being studied children according to child development.

Study with periods of rest are very effective in comparison with continuously without any lag time of rest.

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