Behaviors to avoid
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Effective parenting starts when your kids are very young. Children learn at an early age, what gets attention – and which parent is the weak link in the couple.
A former client, whose child was an adult when she brought him to my office, said that ‘he was always a problem.’ She continued to tell me that when he was 3 yrs old he demanded that she take the groceries out of the car or he wouldn't get in. She put them in the trunk – but he still wouldn't stop screaming. She drove home with the child on her lap - and then he was quiet.
Guess who won that round?
If you can't control a child at three. It's much harder to change his behavior later - and this boy was typical. As he became older he was out of control: smoking pot, dropping out of school, becoming a compulsive gambler and as much as they try, he refuses to move out of the home. He steals. He lies. But they give in to his demands, hoping he’ll change.
It won’t happen. The parents are the ones who have to change.
It’s much easier to stand firm with a little kid. Older children get into larger problems and have a longer history of manipulating you.
The topic of the month of April in Powerful Living - Effective Parenting.
No child is born ‘bad’, they're simply responding to the environment.
NOT effective parenting techniques
Nervous adults produce nervous kids. These parents are over- protective and prevent the child from living a normal life.
These parents can’t deal with crying, temper tantrums, etc. They're always trying to appease the child.
Yelling, insulting, demeaning, physical punishment etc. is used as a tactic to get the child to obey. It only lowers their self esteem and builds resentment.
Parenting based on power and control builds fear. “I’m the boss. Do it my way or else.” The child will shut down.
Not connecting – either emotionally or physically. Paying the child off with gifts etc. to show your love.
These parents are too involved in their child's life. They control everything and make the child dependent on them.
If, you’re occasionally guilty of these behaviors, don’t worry. The problem arises when these behaviors become a parenting style.
Effective parenting tips
1) Don’t nag or set unnecessary limits. Choose your battles.
2) Don’t use power and control. This teaches the child to manipulate to get what they want.
3) Laugh. Use humor to diffuse situations – but don't ridicule.
4) Both parents should be united.
5) Don’t give mixed messages.
6) Don’t over-react. Give logical consequences.
7) Don’t delay consequences (till the other parent comes home etc.)
8) Acknowledge the good, not only the bad
9) Provide a quiet space for time out
10) Don’t argue – keep calm but be firm
Q & A
My daughter is turning 21 and lives at home with me and my husband (not her father). When she goes out with friends, she "parties hard" and I'm very concerned about her binge drinking. She says, "Oh mom, I'm just having fun. I'm not going to do this forever!" But, no-one sets out to be an alcoholic! She got a DUI recently and I'm devastated. THANK GOD no-one was hurt. I told her that I was FED UP and that she must quit drinking or move out. At the time she was very remorseful and agreed.
What I can do or say to make her WANT to quit. My husband has not approved of her behavior for a LONG time and he's DONE with her BS. This puts a strain on the marriage. I'm at my wits end.
No one can get a drinker to stop drinking. She has to do this herself. The problem with binge drinkers is that they don't believe that they have a problem because they're not always drinking. But the DUI may be a wake-up call.
Show her this self-test. It's geared to teens but your daughter is still young enough. The should help break her denial.
Before you kick her out of the house, demand that she gets help. Find an addiction counselor who can give her relapse prevention strategies. Recovery coaching, by phone or on the Internet, is another alternative. My younger clients are very receptive to this. We can even see each other on the computer.
She should also get a job and pay back the fine. Don't make it easy. She must suffer the consequences of her behavior and take responsibility.
Binge drinking is very common with young people--on weekends, after exams, whenever..... Not all of them become alcoholics, but it's dangerous, sometimes resulting in alcohol poisoning and death. So demand that she gets help.
Here are more treatment options
New on the site
Self-help books are now on the site. You can order them new or used. The 'bible' of codependency is 'Codependent No More' by Melanie Beatie. This one's there as well.
Take a look
Food, drugs, alcohol, gambling, codependency, sex and relationship problems? The answer can be
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The break-up. How to get over it. That’s the topic for next month. Talk to you then.
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