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Problems with Homework

lead_960From time to time you may have concerns about homework. Meet with teachers early in the school year and ask them to let you know if difficulties arise.

Some problems which may arise are:

  • the homework can regularly be too hard or too easy
  • your child refuses to do assignments despite encouragement
  • your child has problems completing assignments on time
  • you would like your child to do homework missed through illness
  • neither your child nor you understand the homework
  • Read more …

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6 Small Ways to Make Each of Your Kids Feel Special

Found: Simple but powerful ways to ensure all of your children feel like a VIP.

Read more …

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The Four Styles of Parenting

iStock mom holding son_NewDevelopmental psychologists have long been interested in how parents impact child development. However, finding actual cause-and-effect links between specific actions of parents and later behavior of children is very difficult. Some children raised in dramatically different environments can later grow up to have remarkably similar personalities. Conversely, children who share a home and are raised in the same environment can grow up to have astonishingly different personalities.

Despite these challenges, researchers have uncovered convincing links between parenting styles and the effects these styles have on children. During the early 1960s, psychologist Diana Baumrind conducted a study on more than 100 preschool-age children (Baumrind, 1967). Using naturalistic observation, parental interviews and other research methods, she identified four important dimensions of parenting:

  • Disciplinary strategies
  • Warmth and nurturance
  • Communication styles
  • Expectations of maturity and control

Based on these dimensions, Baumrind suggested that the majority of parents display one of three different parenting styles.

The Four Parenting Styles

(1) Authoritarian Parenting
In this style of parenting, children are expected to follow the strict rules established by the parents. Failure to follow such rules usually results in punishment. Authoritarian parents fail to explain the reasoning behind these rules. If asked to explain, the parent might simply reply, “Because I said so.” These parents have high demands, but are not responsive to their children. According to Baumrind, these parents “are obedience- and status-oriented, and expect their orders to be obeyed without explanation” (1991).

(2) Authoritative Parenting
Like authoritarian parents, those with an authoritative parenting style establish rules and guidelines that their children are expected to follow. However, this parenting style is much more democratic. Authoritative parents are responsive to their children and willing to listen to questions. When children fail to meet the expectations, these parents are more nurturing and forgiving rather than punishing. Baumrind suggests that these parents “monitor and impart clear standards for their children’s conduct. They are assertive, but not intrusive and restrictive. Their disciplinary methods are supportive, rather than punitive. They want their children to be assertive as well as socially responsible, and self-regulated as well as cooperative” (1991).

(3) Permissive Parenting
Permissive parents, sometimes referred to as indulgent parents, have very few demands to make of their children. These parents rarely discipline their children because they have relatively low expectations of maturity and self-control. According to Baumrind, permissive parents “are more responsive than they are demanding. They are nontraditional and lenient, do not require mature behavior, allow considerable self-regulation, and avoid confrontation” (1991). Permissive parents are generally nurturing and communicative with their children, often taking on the status of a friend more than that of a parent.

(4) Uninvolved Parenting
An uninvolved parenting style is characterized by few demands, low responsiveness and little communication. While these parents fulfill the child’s basic needs, they are generally detached from their child’s life. In extreme cases, these parents may even reject or neglect the needs of their children.

The Impact of Parenting Styles

What effect do these parenting styles have on child development outcomes? In addition to Baumrind’s initial study of 100 preschool children, researchers have conducted numerous other studies that have led to a number of conclusions about the impact of parenting styles on children.

  • Authoritarian parenting styles generally lead to children who are obedient and proficient, but they rank lower in happiness, social competence and self-esteem.
  • Authoritative parenting styles tend to result in children who are happy, capable and successful (Maccoby, 1992).
  • Permissive parenting often results in children who rank low in happiness and self-regulation. These children are more likely to experience problems with authority and tend to perform poorly in school.
  • Uninvolved parenting styles rank lowest across all life domains. These children tend to lack self-control, have low self-esteem and are less competent than their peers.

Why is it that authoritative parenting provides such advantages over other styles? “First, when children perceive their parents’ requests as fair and reasonable, they are more likely to comply with the requests,” explain authors Hockenbury and Hockenbury in their text Psychology. “Second, the children are more likely to internalize (or accept as their own) the reasons for behaving in a certain way and thus to achieve greater self-control.”

Why Do Parenting Styles Differ?

After learning about the impact of parenting styles on child development, you may wonder why all parents simply don’t utilize an authoritative parenting style. After all, this parenting style is the most likely to produce happy, confident, and capable children. What are some reasons why parenting styles might vary? Some potential causes of these differences include culture, personality, family size, parental background, socioeconomic status, educational level, and religion.

Of course, the parenting styles of individual parents also combine to create a unique blend in each and every family. For example, the mother may display an authoritative style while the father favors a more permissive approach. In order to create a cohesive approach to parenting, it is essential that parents learn to cooperate as they combine various elements of their unique parenting styles.

Limitations and Criticisms

There are, however, some important limitations of parenting style research that should be noted. Links between parenting styles and behavior are based upon correlational research, which is helpful for finding relationships between variables but cannot establish definitive cause-and-effect relationships. While there is evidence that a particular parenting style is linked to a certain pattern of behavior, other important variables such as a child’s temperament can also play a major role.

Researchers have also noted that the correlations between parenting styles and behaviors are sometimes weak at best. In many cases, the expected child outcomes do not materialize; parents with authoritative styles will have children who are defiant or who engage in delinquent behavior, while parents with permissive styles will have children who are self-confident and academically successful.

“There is no universally “best” style of parenting,” writes author Douglas Bernstein in his book Essentials of Psychology. “So authoritative parenting, which is so consistently linked with positive outcomes in European American families, is not related to better school performance among African American or Asian American youngsters.”

The Bottom Line: Parenting styles are associated with different child outcomes and the authoritative style is generally linked to positive behaviors such as strong self-esteem and self-competence. However, other important factors including culture, children’s perceptions of parental treatment, and social influences also play an important role in children’s behavior.

By Kendra Cherry,
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Principles of Conscious Parenting

conscious parentingConscious Parenting is not a set of rules for parents to follow, but a set of beliefs about what children need to develop and thrive.

I’m going to ask you to step outside the traditional box of parental thinking and re-frame everything you thought you knew about how kids learn and what they need to grow into mature, responsible adults!

This is where you will learn to engage and connect with your children using emotionally intelligent discipline rather than punitive methods.

This does not require you to abandon all of your parenting practices, just to be mindful as you shift your thinking about what kids need and start to decode what’s really going on behind the behavior.

Give your child the benefit of the doubt and a different experience than YOU had.

Choose to give your child quality feedback about how to respond to the world. Through our experiences, we collect, sort, and file away our emotional memories as reference points. How we learn to respond or react to life is driven by the patterns that are set-up in early childhood.

This foundation is built upon memory after memory – shaping our abilities, perspective and outlook. Everything can be completely changed – mood, behaviors, empathy, abilities, cognitive processing and even our immune function – by altering what we experience within the context of our primary relationships.

Conscious parenting deepens your child’s basic trust in the world and secures your influence as something to be regarded as reliable and safe.

Fill the hearts and minds of your children with acceptance, understanding, and confidence. Try these three conscious parenting tips to start building a more influential relationship with your child.

  • CHECK YOUR LANGUAGE
    – is it sarcastic, cruel, degrading, impatient, callous or otherwise disconnecting in tone or attitude – verbally or non-verbally?
  • CHECK YOUR EXPECTATIONS
    – is your request developmentally appropriate? Can you control the environment to meet your needs w/out your child’s help?
  • CHECK YOUR SELF-REGULATION
    – is your manner calm and confident? Are your limits set with kindness regardless of how your child reacts? Can you remain non-argumentative in the face of an upset child?

HELP IS HERE

I want to help you shift from a traditional (power-based) view of parenting to a conscious (relational) view, so you can bring the focus back to building stronger bonds between you and your kids. A secure attachment is built with timely responses to a child’s needs and by using empathy to resolve conflict.

When you make it a priority to create a safe place for the expression of ALL feelings and needs – you will create change in your home.

This does not mean that you allow unsafe or inappropriate behaviors or that you ignore setting limits. It means that you have faith that age-appropriate cooperation will come with time and maturity and by developing an emotional connection with your child.

Empathetic understanding, tolerance and the validation of needs, along with consistent modeling of self-regulation and mindful practices will nurture your child’s growth in positive ways.

More videos >> TeachthroughLove

Your influence will be stronger with a loving, non-judgmental approach to discipline than with fear-based, conditional techniques aimed at seeking at short-term compliance or unwavering obedience.

It is time to understand how punishment disconnects us from our children and emphasizes conditional love. It is time to recognize that solutions and acceptance can’t always occur in the exact moment of conflict because they require reflection.

Moving to a place of reflection takes time.

It takes a certain brain state which is unavailable in times of stress or fear and totally unavailable if the skills are lacking because of experience or stage.

First, we need to process and regulate our emotions.

Regulation is the key to successful problem-solving. The state of regulation is not present during an emotional meltdown because our stress response system takes over the body’s major functions.

It takes a mature brain, unconditional support, and lots of repetition for the lessons about proper behavior, good decision making and other higher-order skills to sink in and cement into positive behavioral patterns in our children.

Development of the most complex brain skills happens slowly and unfolds uniquely, over time, for each child.

Here are some general tips recommended by the work of speaker and author, Alfie Kohn’s, and his books on unconditional parenting and education.

13 PRINCIPLES OF CONSCIOUS PARENTING

by Alfie Kohn

  1. Be reflective.
  2. Reconsider your requests.
  3. Stay focused on your long-term goals.
  4. Put your relationship first.
  5. Change how you see not just how you act.
  6. R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
  7. Be authentic.
  8. Talk less, ask more.
  9. Be mindful of your child’s age.
  10. Attribute to children the best possible motive consistent with the facts.
  11. Don’t stick to no’s unnecessarily.
  12. Don’t be rigid.
  13. Don’t be in a hurry.

If you are ready to start your conscious parenting path, click here to start by learning the five BIGGEST communication mistakes parents make (and what to say instead).

I love hearing from you, so leave me a comment below. Share your stories, let me know what conscious parenting tips work for you or post your challenges and find support.

And if you benefited from this article, consider sharing it with a friend!

Related article: Conscious Parenting: Return to Unconditional Parenting

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10 Things to Do to Stop Yelling at Your Kids


Constantly screaming and yelling at your kids is abusive, useless and stupid (if it was useful, you wouldn’t have to do it more than once). Most parents scream because they are frustrated; their buttons have been pushed and they feel like they don’t have any other options. However, the minute you lose it, you lose all the power.

You would think that screaming would make your kids fear you. It doesn’t.  As a matter of fact, it does just the opposite.  Kids lose respect for you when you start screaming and yelling because you’ve lost control. They know that the yelling will pass, or they become so frustrated and angry that after a while, they become immune to it and don’t take you seriously.

Now, just as all kids misbehave, disobey, talk back, ignore chores and fight with siblings, all parents are going to holler every now and then. However, you need to pay close attention to how you’re yelling. Blaming and shaming – “You’re a loser,” “You’re useless,” “You’re the reason I’m upset” – are very destructive, especially if the child is being told that he or she is responsible for the parent’s problem. According to The American Journal of Psychiatry, emotional abuse is the most significant predictor of mental health, even more than sexual or physical abuse.

dont_yell_at_your_kids_blog

Here are 10 things you can do to stop yelling at your kids:

  1. Set clear boundaries. 
    Kids are not psychic – you have to make the rules clear.  If the rules aren’t clear, kids have trouble following them.  You may assume that your child heard and remembers something you said to them in passing, but they may not. So, you need to be really clear. Instead of saying, “Don’t come in the house with wet shoes,” say, “When you come in the house, I want you to take your shoes off and leave them by the front door – whether they are wet or not. That way, we won’t bring the trash and germs from outside into the house.” Now that’s clear.  Or, if you want your child to pick up their room, physically go in there and show them what you mean (when I was a kid, throwing everything into my closet and closing the door was my idea of cleaning my room).
  2. Set simple consequences. 
    Many parents threaten consequences and then don’t follow through on them.  However, empty threats don’t work.
  3. Speak to your child on his or her level.
    Bend down so that you’re eye-to-eye.  Getting face-to-face makes it easier for them to hear you, listen to you and pay attention.
  4. Be sure your child understands what you are asking.
    After you’ve instructed your child to do something, have them repeat it back to you. That way, you’ll know if they’ve actually heard it.
  5. Respond every time a rule is broken.
    Be consistent. Each and every time a rule is broken, calmly impose the consequence.
  6. Remind your child of the rule only ONE time. 
    Your child gets one reminder. After that, they get a consequence.
  7. Immediately deliver the consequence.
  8. Ask someone to remind you when you’re yelling.
    Pick someone who knows you well (a spouse, parent, friend, etc.) and ask them to give you a signal when they see you yelling.
  9. Respond kindly when your child yells at you.
    Instead of shouting back when your child is screaming at you, just calmly say, “I know you’re mad at me right now, but please talk to me like I’m someone you love.” That stops everyone in their tracks.
  10. Take a “parent” time-out.
    Sometimes even parents need a time-out. It doesn’t mean you have to go sit in the corner, it just means that you need to take a break. Take a shower. Have a cup of tea or a glass of wine. Revisit the situation later when you’re not feeling so angry. In fact, walking out of the room inspires fear far more than yelling does.