Category Archives: Parenting Advice

Control Your Anger, Don’t Let it Control You

Parenting can be very challenging, even more so if you are a single father or single mother. Children are a great blessing and as a parent you have the opportunity to not repeat the wrongs that may have been done to you as a child. Perhaps your past is filled with unresolved hurt and anger but that doesn’t mean you have to continue to let it fill you with anger and control you.

Working through the sufferings you have gone through and choosing to control your anger is important to help keep your anger in check. At some point we all have probably experienced anger that has paralyzed us and made us say or do things that we regret. Imagine how that would look to a small child that looks up to you and loves you. It would be a terrifying experience for your child if you were to take your anger out on them.

Identify problems from your past and look at current situations that are causing your anger. Maybe you are experiencing relationship issues, you are stressed about work, you are lonely, overwhelmed, or maybe depressed and things are piling up. You don’t want your child seeing you angry all the time or that is all they will know and remember. You must find ways to deal with your anger and to express it in a healthy way.

When parenting, it is important to pick your battles. Accidents and nuisances don’t warrant the energy and agony it takes to get angry. Remember, “Don’t fret the small stuff.” Most of us as parents will get angry from time to time – children do their best to test our limits but if you feel yourself losing control and anger getting the best of you then put yourself in a time out, go for a walk, take some deep breaths and do whatever it takes to get a grip on yourself before addressing the situation with your children.

Get additional information on how to deal with anger.

Building Self Esteem in Children

Your child’s self esteem is their mental foundation, from a very young age well into their adult years. Building self esteem in children is critical to how they grow up and experience life.

A child that is self confident will grow up feeling secure and happy. They will be well adjusted and successful in the things they do because they will be more equipped to solve problems that come their way.

A child’s self esteem will thrive under a loving, nurturing parents care. It is also important to parent by example; you can’t tell your kids to do one thing while you do the opposite. They pick up on that sort of thing and it can be confusing to them and as they get older they may rebel.

Parent’s often expect perfection out of their children but if you truly want to build self esteem in your children you need to let them know that there is no such thing. You need to accept them for who they are and you need to help them do the same. Teach your child that nobody is perfect, this includes you. Everyone makes mistakes and there are consequences but the way we deal with our mistakes is what really matters. Show them how to learn and grow from their mistakes so they can apply these lessons to their lives later down the road.

When building self esteem in children it is important to help your child discover their talents and abilities – they all have them. Encourage them to grow in these areas and provide outlets for them to improve. Praise your child for the good things that they do. So often children don’t get the encouragement they need to press forward. They become discouraged and feel like they can’t succeed because they don’t get the support they need.

With our busy lives it is hard to spend quality time with our children. But you must make the time to do this. It can be doing the dishes together, going to a movie, playing sports, grabbing a bite to eat, or spending time talking to one another. Look for ways to work in quality time with your children because it will go a long ways when building their self esteem.

How to Discipline a Child

With all the controversy about disciplining a child it can be difficult to know what the right thing to do is. Some people think that a swat on the butt should never be used while others feel it is necessary. There are also those that believe it depends on the child’s temperament. Some children react to a time-out while others need a firmer approach.

Nevertheless, positive discipline is important when it comes to correcting your children. Even though how to discipline a child may not be so clear there is one key factor that leads to success and that is consistency. When you want to teach your children right from wrong you need to be consistent and you must also parent by example. When you consistently discipline for rules broken you keep small misdeeds and bad behaviors from later becoming bigger and worse.

Consistency teaches your child there are defined consequences for their poor behavior. If you don’t follow-up your words with actions then you are partly to blame for their behavior. Whether you are a single parent or you have a partner it is critical to be consistent or else the wrong message will be sent.

Positive discipline is about being strong and standing firm, even when doing so is extremely difficult or exhausting. It is hard to come home after a long day at work only to deal with your children when they are testing the limits. There are certain absolutes in this world; death, taxes, and children “pushing the envelope.” By being consistent and standing firm you are showing them that they are responsible for their actions.

What is Child Discipline

The answer to, “What is Child Discipline?” has become very vague over the years. It is a topic that has been given a lot of attention from a wide range of interested fields, such as parents, religion, behavior analysis, social workers, and so on. Because the values, beliefs and customs vary so widely along with the age and temperament of the child, methods of child discipline drastically vary.

Generally, Child discipline is referred to as a set of rules, rewards and punishments administered to teach self control, increase desirable behaviors and decrease undesirable behaviors in children.

While the purpose of child discipline is to develop and embed desirable social habits in children, the ultimate goal is to foster sound judgment and morals so the child will develop and maintain self discipline throughout the rest of his or her life.

Is it agreed that disciplining children is critical in teaching them to understand that there are consequences for their actions. It also reinforces our love for them and that we care what happens to them. Rules are there for a reason and it is typically to protect.

Puberty, Fitting In and Teen Drug Use

During the early teen years the most powerful influence on your child is that of “fitting in.” Teens are experiencing life in a whole new way. In some ways, the onset of puberty is like a “rebirth.” Your child is looking to shed the past and find their own identity. This can mean letting go of old friendships with teachers and other adults. They are also looking for a new ways to do things; they are taking new experiences and information to form new decisions and new goals in life.

When your children enter into junior high they are at a point where they begin to deal with abstractions and the future. They understand that what they do and do not do have consequences and how their behavior affects others. Many teens have a poor self-image; they are not sure whether they are growing and changing adequately, they are often in conflict with adults, they are not sure where they are headed, and they tend to see themselves as not “okay.”

We have all been there and the teen years can be very stressful. Many of us have made poor choices during that time and we need to remember while at the same time provide emotional support and be a good adult role model.

Because of the changes your teen is experiencing and their need to fit in, many are pressured into doing things they shouldn’t such as drug use, smoking, or drinking alcohol. In fact, those teens that use drugs, alcohol, or tobacco typically will do so before leaving the ninth grade.

What You Can Do to Help

It is no secret that many teens use drugs, alcohol or smoke because their friends are doing it. However, there are things that you can do to help prevent them from ever starting.

  • Counteract peer influence with parent influence – Reinforce your no-use policy and your expectations of your children. They need to clearly understand that drinking, using drugs, or smoking is unacceptable behavior and illegal.
  • Get to know your teen’s friends and their parents – If you know the type of kids that your children are hanging out with and their parents you can get a better idea of what is going on in their lives. Share your expectations with their parents and work together to develop a set of rules that apply to curfews, parties, and other social activities.
  • Know where your teens are – You should know your child’s whereabouts and, in general, what they are doing.

How to Get Involved in Your Childs Life at School

Parents have a critical role to play in their child’s life at school. With work and so many single parents raising children on their own getting involved has its challenges. Nevertheless, getting involved in your child’s life at school will have countless benefits.

Why Should You Get Involved?

Studies have shown that when parents are involved in their child’s life at school they:

  • Get higher grades, test scores, and graduation rates.
  • Have better school attendance.
  • Have lower rates of suspension.
  • Have higher self-esteem.
  • Are more motivated.
  • Aren’t as likely to use drugs and alcohol.
  • Have fewer instances of violent behavior.

How to Get Involved in Your Child’s Life at School

  • While back-to-school nights and PTA meetings may be the last on your list to do after a busy day at work, showing up at these and other school events shows your child that you care about his education. It will also open doors for you to talk with other parents and teachers.
  • Technology offers the ability to stay connected with your child’s school via the internet and e-mail. In addition to printed newsletters, many schools have websites that will keep you informed about what is going on at school.
  • Talk to your child’s teacher about how you can contribute to school events. There are may different things you can do to help out.
  • Join the PTA.
  • Connect with other parents. Parenting isn’t easy, but it’s more manageable if you have a network of others who are going through the same things you are.

Helping Your Child Say No to Drugs

When your children start school they are going to be exposed to various pressures, one of which will come from their peers to try drugs and alcohol. Talking to your children about drugs and alcohol is important and they need to know how to react when faced with the decision to use.

Children 10 to 12 years old love to learn new facts, especially strange ones and they want to know and understand how and why things work the way they do. Friends become very important to them, whether that is a single friend or a group of friends. The friends your children make will play a major role in what they become interested in.

During this age parents should increase efforts of drug prevention because your child’s self-image is determined, in part, by the desire to be accepted by their peers. As a result they may not know how to make the right decision or they may simply make the wrong decision in order to fit in.

These elementary school years are important to decisions about the use of drugs and alcohol. The greatest risk of starting to use tobacco typically comes in the sixth and seventh grades. Research shows that the earlier children start using alcohol or drugs the more likely they will have real trouble later in life. Helping your child say no to drugs pivots largely on educating them and giving them the resources to make informed decisions.

Your child will need a clear no-use message, factual information, and strong motivation to resist pressures to try alcohol and drugs and to reinforce the determination to remain drug free.

Information to help your children say no to drugs and alcohol should include things such as:

  • Ways to identify specific drugs.
  • The short-term and long-term effects and consequences.
  • How drugs affect different parts of the body.
  • The consequences of how drugs and alcohol will affect family relationships.

Suggested activities for parents to help their child say no to drugs:

  • Give your child your undivided attention and talk on a regular basis. Go somewhere casual where you both can relax.
  • Encourage your child to participate in healthy fun activities that provide them with the opportunity to make new friends and have fun. Sports, scouts, religious programs, etc.
  • Practice ways to say no to drugs with your child and how to recognize situations that may lead them into trouble.
  • Make friends with the parents of your child’s friends so you can reinforce one another’s efforts in teaching good personal and social habits.

Helping Children with Their Homework

As a parent we want to see our children succeed and we start preparing them for success at a very young age. The first day they walk into that Kindergarten class we are filled with excitement and anticipation of all the great things our children are going to learn.

Just because you have handed your child over to the “professionals” to help with their education it is still very critical that you stay involved. When they are just starting out it is important to help them with their homework daily and as they get older they will need less and less help nevertheless they will still need you to be involved to some extent.

Helping your child with their homework may sound easy but it is easier said than done, especially when you or your child would rather be watching TV or playing. As parents we need to work through this, helping your child with their homework can teach them the most critical lesson of all – that learning is valuable, interesting, and fun.

When you get involved in your child’s homework you encourage good study habits and model a positive attitude towards learning. You don’t have to know it all and the process will help both you and your child at problem solving.

6 Tips for Helping Children with Homework

Inspire Your Child to Learn – This is a lot of fun for the whole family. Take your child to the library, historical sites, and museums. Read aloud to your child and encourage him to ask questions. Model a passion for learning… your child will follow.

Know Your Child’s Learning Style – We all have a different learning style and you should learn what your child’s is. Some learn from reading and using language while others learn by looking at pictures. Consider that your child may have a mixed learning style. The better you know their learning style the easier it will be to help them learn.

Talk to Teachers – Each year you should attend school orientation to see what they will be teaching your child. If they don’t have one then meet with their teacher to discuss. This will give you an idea of how much homework will be expected.

Set a Homework Schedule – Help your child choose a regular time for doing homework every night. Also make sure that he has a quiet place to work with plenty of light and few distractions.

Keep Track of Homework – Just like we have to track our work tasks we should track our child’s. Using a white board comes in handy and it can be used to show your child how to divide up his workload and manage his time wisely.

Lend a Helping Hand – You can help your child with their homework by not telling them the answers but guiding them to the answer and ways to find the solution. Help them study by quizzing them on a subject the day before a quiz.

As a parent it is critical to be involved in your child’s education. It does take time and effort and we need to make sure that we help our children succeed by setting time each day to help them with their homework.

Words of Encouragement for Children

Words of encouragement go a long way with your children. Just like we need to hear them so do they. As parents we should encourage our children daily. Here are some key words of encouragement for children.

To Congratulate Them on a Job Well Done

  • Thank you for using such wonderful manners.
  • What an improvement.
  • Way to go.
  • You have really made good progress.
  • Well done!
  • That was a good try.
  • That is fantastic!
  • You did a good job.
  • I am so proud of you.
  • That part is excellent.
  • I knew you could do it.
  • I couldn’t of done that without your help.
  • You are really creative.
  • Way to go!

To Help Them Feel Good About Themselves

  • I love you.
  • You look wonderful.
  • You’re a great sport.
  • I enjoy spending time with you.
  • I’m glad you called.
  • What a great idea.
  • You’re exactly right.
  • I appreciate your kindness.
  • You make me smile.
  • You are so thoughtful.
  • I’m glad you are my child.
  • We make a great team.
  • I had a wonderful time.
  • That’s awesome!
  • You’re a good friend.

To Support Them When They Feel Down

  • How do you feel?
  • If you are worried about something, let’s discuss it.
  • Do you want to talk about it?
  • Can I get you anything?
  • You can talk to me anytime.
  • Tell me about it.
  • What can I do to help?
  • I’m sorry you’re hurting.
  • Do you need help?
  • Are you all right?
  • I care about you.
  • Just do your best.
  • We’ll work it out together.
  • I love you.

Community Service as a Family

As great parents, it is your goal to support and direct your children toward a healthy productive future. By setting good examples and doing things together as a family you can help develop and mold your children into well rounded children. By participating in community service and volunteering you can not only spend quality time together but set a good example as well.

Children of all ages can get involved in the community. Children of parents that spend lots of quality time with them are much less likely to do drugs than children whose parents do not. Getting active in the community through volunteering and community service is a fantastic way for families to work together and it offers a positive learning experience for everyone. Children learn selflessness and develop a greater appreciation for what they have and for the caring people in their lives.

Volunteering with the Homeless

  • Adopt a family or individual and provide them with basic needs. Maybe some soap, toothpaste, and deodorant. If you children are receiving an allowance encourage them to give to this effort. Donate your children’s toy, book, and clothes that they have outgrown to children in families less fortunate.
  • Serve at the local soup kitchen, food bank, or food pantry. They are always looking for people to help out throughout the year, just not on the holidays.
  • Organize a neighborhood food and clothing drive. Ask for donations from friends, neighbors, and relatives. The kids can help sort the items to be distributed.

Volunteering with Seniors

It is a well know fact that volunteering at a nursing home is a great way to put a smile on a person’s face. Reading to residents is a blessing, some may have poor eyesight, which makes it even more helpful but one thing is for certain they love the company. Nursing homes typically have “event nights” and if you have musical talent, or any talent for that matter, be part of the entertainment.

If you have elderly people in your neighborhood take the time to get to know them and help them out around their home. Help them with their grocery shopping, walk their dog, or bake them a batch of cookies. The better you get to know them the better you can help with their needs.

There are so many different volunteering opportunities for the family. Check for community events that are taking place like giving a local playground a facelift or an annual leaf raking day, or painting a person’s home. There are just so many things you can do to not only bring your family together while teaching the gift of help but bring a smile to someone’s face

Optimism Leads to Success

Have you ever been around people that are always pessimistic? They just seem to drain the energy out of a room and have nothing good to say. “The glass is half empty” is their motto and they really don’t have much to look forward to from day to day. Now compare that to the person with just the opposite motto of “The glass being half full.” These people are a joy to be around and they attract success, friends, and opportunities. Which type of person would you want to be around? An even more important question is, “Which type do you want your children to be?”

Raising optimistic children should be near the top of our list as parents. It isn’t about seeing things through rose colored glasses where we see things to be more pleasant than they really are or we aren’t realistic about what is really going on around us. It is just the opposite, children that can build on their experiences, see themselves for who they really are and set goals to be better, try harder, learn something new, reach a new level of success, etc because they have a positive outlook on life. It is about raising children that see a barrier and instead of letting the barrier prevent them from moving forward they come up with ways to overcome.

Children with a positive attitude will live healthier lives filled with ups and downs, however, with their “get’er done attitude” they will experience greater levels of joy and success than those that let life push them around. Optimistic children will tend to make wiser decisions, have healthier relationships, avoid drugs and alcohol, and will have self-confidence.

How to Raise Optimistic Children

In this day and age it can be difficult raising optimistic children; each day with the nightly news we are reminded of society’s shortfalls and the problems throughout the world. As parents we need to put these things behind us and teach our children by example. Teach them that it is possible to be realistic and optimistic at the same time – that these things compliment one another. So many people simply don’t see it this way, if you are an optimist then you are not a realist. By the time most of us become parents we have been through one trial after another and it can be difficult changing our attitudes towards life but think of the great people that have that have changed our world. Jesus Christ, George Washington, Albert Einstein, Davinci, Bach, Martin Luther King, Da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Issac Newton, and many more all had dreams and visions. They were optimistic! Children that are positive and optimistic are our futures leaders, great explorers, inventors, artists, and our pride and joy.

Raising optimistic children has to start at home. They have to see how you, as their parents, handle daily life and what you do with the “lemons” that roll your way.

Tips for Being Optimistic and Raising Optimists

  • Realize the world is not out to get you
  • The past doesn’t have to define you
  • You don’t have to be a victim of your circumstances
  • Use positive affirmations to start seeing things in a new light
  • Life is short so make the best of it
  • Give of your time by helping others – people who give are happier people
  • Don’t give up – no matter if you seem to run into road block after road block, keep on trying