Effective parenting is an approach to raising children that requires your attention, time and skills. When you effectively parent your children you’re giving them the tools they need to thrive on their own. As your children’s role model, you provide valuable information through your own behavior and habits. Your children will use this information to make their own decisions, good or bad, which could have a significant impact on the remainder of their life.
Make Time to Be with Your Child
Children thrive on attention, especially the attention of their parents. Many times, children misbehave in response to the lack of attention they no longer get it home. To a child, being noticed for doing something bad can fill the void of inattention much quicker than doing something good.
Unfortunately, today’s hectic lifestyles create a rat race for many families where it is often challenging for children and parents to come together at mealtime or any time. However, there are 24 hours in every day with plenty of opportunities to make time to be with the family. Getting up from bed just 10 minutes earlier to share breakfast together or taking a short walk after an evening meal can be invaluable attention to a child.
Consider scheduling a special night one evening every week as family time spent together. Allow the children to make the decisions on how each special night will be spent. For example, in our family of 5 we have "movie night" every Friday night. The children really look forward to winding down the week together and it’s an inexpensive way to connect without spending money.
Parents often recognize that their adolescent children don’t tend to require as much of their undivided attention as they were when they were young. However, this often provides fewer opportunities for the teenager and parent to come together. Focused attention is just as necessary in older children as with younger. Consider playing games together attending concerts or participating in any event where the teenager will communicate with you.
Discipline is a crucial component to a well-run household. In fact, discipline is used as a necessary tool to ensure that children use appropriate behavior and self-control as they develop socially and emotionally at various stages of growth. However, part of the growing process often involves testing the limits established by their parents. By understanding these limits, children can mature into a responsible adult.
Effective parenting requires that both mom and dad establish house rules that every child understands. House rules will help them develop self-control to meet the expectations of the family. Discipline is different from punishment in that it teaches a behavior instead of punishing inappropriate conduct.
House rules involve what must be done (wash the dishes, make your bed, etc.) and what is never done (name-calling, hitting, etc.). Any failure to do what must be done and never done must have an established set of consequences that could include a loss of privileges or "timeout." For discipline to work properly, the consequences must be consistent between both parents and carried through.
While many parents get hung up on the idea of modifying the child’s behavior, effective parenting is more about giving your child attention and discipline. The rewards of doing something right should be your love and care just as much as the rewards of learning how to do better next time.