1. ==== ====The #1 Ultimate Empowerment Toolkit for Parentshttp://94e532zp417v0y6bnoneyjqgfm.hop.clickbank.net/?tid=PARENT==== ====Parenting is the most difficult and most important job we ever do. Unfortunately, despite thedegree of difficulty and importance of the work, no one teaches us how to do it. Fortunately, thereare many child raising experts who can help. I will mention a few experts; whose work I believe isvaluable, throughout this article and I encourage readers to find experts whose work they like.&bull;Parents must be healthy, physically and psychologically. When parents feel comfortable withwho they are they are free to give their children true, deep, unconditional love. Parenting is notabout the parents, no child has ever asked to be born. A childs very existence is the responsibilityof the parents, and it is the parents responsibility to raise their children using healthy parentingskills. Parents must be able to understand why children behave as they do and not take a childs(from 1 day old to 18 years) behaviors personally. Jean Piaget made wonderful progress in theunderstanding of child development. A childs behaviors are not about the parent, and its theparents responsibility to help children learn how to manage their thoughts, feelings and behaviors,so they can grow up to be healthy members of society. This takes tremendous self-awarenessfrom parents. Self awareness leads to awareness and understanding of others.&bull;Unconditional love involves praising children as much and often as possible. This does notmean unrealistic praise, because children intuitively know when they have not earned praise. Itdoes mean age appropriate praise. So, when an infant focuses on someones face and smiles atthe person, praise is appropriate, because the infant is just beginning to learn how to interact. It isappropriate to praise babies when they take their first steps, because walking is a skill they needto learn. Praising a toddler for making scribbles on a piece of paper is appropriate, because thetoddler is just learning how to do this. Victor Lowenfeld defined the stages of art developmentchildren go through. Praising toddlers for eating a few bites of healthy food, before they get asweet is appropriate, because although babies crave sugar, it is important for them to learn how toeat healthy food. Praising a three-year-old for learning to use the potty is appropriate. The humanbrain is not fully formed until we are in our early 20s. Praising children, appropriately andaccording to their stage of growth, is important throughout childhood. This builds their self esteemand happier children reduce the stress of parenting.&bull;Playing with children is another way to give them unconditional love. The more you enjoyplaying with your children the less stressful your job will be. Playing with your children is bondingwith them, which parents and children need. Indeed, there is a book titled; "Play; How it Shapesthe Brain, Opens the Imagination and Invigorates the Soul," by Stuart Brown and ChristopherVaughn. One of the chapters is titled "Parenthood is Childs play." Doing some research aboutplay with children will help you use approaches to playing with them that are age-appropriate.Learning about age-appropriate play is an investment in your relationship with your children whichwill help you feel less stressed. It is also important to play with children using a variety of areas ofplay so they may become well-rounded adults. If you like using art supplies, it is best to start using
2. those supplies with children, early, during their formative years, because they will grow intoenjoying that sort of activity. The same is true with physical activity. If that is something you wantyour children to learn to enjoy, the earlier you begin to teach them how to enjoy physical activity,the better. Play is not something that can be forced. If you want your children to enjoy swimming,dont try to force them to do it. If they dont seem to enjoy doing it now, but see that you enjoydoing it (by example) they may take it up later in life. Music is another area of play that can bringgreat pleasure to most people. However, if it is forced on children they might rebel against it andnever get to enjoy it. Parenting is a balancing act!&bull;Sharing the responsibility of parenting with at least one other person should reduce thestress of parenting. Preferably, both parents are involved, and both are physically andpsychologically healthy and mature. When two parents are involved it is important for them todiscuss parenting techniques to learn what they can agree on, and where they disagree and needto negotiate. Children are brilliant at splitting parents, if they know their parents disagree aboutsomething. For instance, if one parent does not believe it is important for children to eat theirvegetables before they get their desert, the children will do their best to get that parent to makedecisions over the other parent. That can cause dissension between the parents, and anunhealthy, stressful situation is set up. When parents are in extreme disagreement with eachother, about how to raise children, the stress in the family increases tremendously. Parents mustlearn how to work with one another.&bull;Rules, limits and boundaries are everywhere in society. Freedom is not free. To have somesemblance of order in society, we need rules, limits and boundaries. Raising children withoutrules, limits or boundaries sets them up to fail in a society where rules, limits and boundaries arenecessary and in use. Because it is against our laws to assault another person, children need tolearn how to treat others with respect. It is imperative for parents to discuss with each other whatrules, limits and boundaries they want to use. This can begin with parents writing out a list of whatthey value in life and what they want their children to value in life. Do you value sharing withothers? Then you will want to teach your children how to share. Do you value the earth? You willwant to teach your children how to live without polluting too much. Do you value kindness? Youwill want to teach your children how to be kind. These are just a few of the various areas thatparents need to discuss and come to some sort of agreement about. Do you value independence?Then your children need to learn how to take care of their belongings and space, beginning in theirtoddler years. Putting toys away at the end of playtime is a valuable self care skill that toddlers cando and completing that helps them feel self confident.&bull;Learning positive discipline techniques is also important for parenting that reduces stress.Many good books about positive behavioral disciplining techniques have been written. My favoritetechnique is called "extinction." During the formative years, extinction is done by ignoringbehaviors you do not want to continue. Give a behavior that you dont like, less attention, and it willeventually dissipate. This can be hard for many people, and I have had more luck with thattechnique than with any other. Another positive technique is to talk about the behavior that youdont like, instead of the child. For instance, if a child is standing next to you, in the house and isbouncing a ball, it is preferable to say something like, "Bouncing balls is done outside" instead of"You are annoying me!" In the first statement, the parent is talking about the behavior and makinga clear rule. In the second statement, the child is held responsible for the parents feeling. Ifparents try to make children responsible for their feelings, children will feel overburdened,defensive and become rebellious. Parents raise the level of stress in the home when they hold
3. children responsible for their own feelings. Children cannot be made responsible for parentsfeelings. Parenting is not about the parents. Haim Ginott wrote about a variety of approaches inthree books, "Between Parent and Child" "Between Teacher and Child" and "Between Parent andTeenager." All three of these books have contributed greatly to positive parenting skills.&bull;The broken record technique is another positive assertive parenting skill. This involves calm,firm repetition of your boundary. Using the example from above, if the child resists the "balls arefor bouncing outside" rule, the parent calmly, steadfastly repeats, "Balls are for bouncing outside,"over and over until the child complies. If a parent can remain calm and firm, the stress level doesnot have to go up. Parents can outlast children in sort of battle of wills, because parents are,hopefully, more mature.&bull;Never talk negatively about children to others in front of them. One way to understand whythis rule is important is to imagine you are with two friends. One of your friends turns to the otherone and begins to talk negatively about you, as if you were not there. How would you feel? Weneed to treat children the way we would like others to treat us. Talking negatively about children toother people in front of the children is shaming the children. If we need to discuss childrensdifficult behaviors, we can do so in a different room. When we treat children as well as we wouldlike to be treated, we teach them positive social skills. We can teach children how to use, "Please"and "Thank-you" as soon as they begin to learn how to talk. The most important way to teachchildren how to be polite is by doing the same for them. When a toddler gives you something,always say "thank you". You are showing the child appreciation for the generous and thoughtfulbehavior of giving. If you treat that behavior as if the child is being giving and what they have givenyou is a gift, the child is learning how to be giving and how to say, "Thank-you." It is alwaysimportant for us to treat our children with the utmost of respect, that is how they learn they areworthy of respect and to treat others with respect. Talking about children negatively in front ofthem is disrespectful. Hitting children is disrespectful. When parents behave this way towardchildren, they are increasing the stress of parenting.&bull;Pick and choose your battles. This concept is important to understand. The more you fightagainst, or criticize your children (you are the leader of the parent/child relationship, so you havethe power to decide whether or not to criticize/fight) the more stressful parenting is. Therefore, itmakes sense to decide what behaviors are worth fighting to change, what behaviors are worthencouraging or discouraging, and what behaviors are worth leaving alone. When a parent stops tothink about it, many behaviors can be left alone. Fortunately, the ability to do this connects with thepositive, behavioral, extinguishing technique listed above. So, if you decide that a behavior is notworth the fight, and choose to leave it alone, it will probably diminish. Because it is important toencourage children to eat a healthy diet, get enough sleep, share with each other, learn how toresolve conflicts with each other, and go to school; these behaviors are probably worth fighting for.Smaller behaviors that can be left alone might include behaviors that the parent just findsannoying. If a parent finds the behavior annoying, he/she should try to cope with it, instead ofcriticizing the child. For instance, it is normal for children to make noises. When children makenoises it is a sign that everything is okay. Another example; when a child rolls her eyes after beingcorrected. All human beings, including children, have a right to all their feelings. When a parentscolds or corrects a child, the child will have a feeling in response. Its important to allow the childto have that feeling. That is especially true if the child follows the parents direction. If she followedthe parents direction, the parent can allow the child to have her feelings and not take it personally.Pick and choose your battles. Relax and allow some things to slide.
4. &bull;Be consistent and persistent. Children need structure. When children know that a parent isgoing to consistently follow a schedule and certain rules, they know what to expect next. Thisgives them the freedom to be creative within the structure created by the parent. They know whatto expect, so they can relax and enjoy whatever they are doing. A persistent parent is able tostand by his or her rules firmly. A persistent parent does not allow herself to get frustrated if shehas to tell children to do something 3, 5, 10, 20 or more times. This is when a parent can use thebroken record technique. A persistent parent does not give in, unless there is a very good reasonto do so. Children feel safer when they are with parents who are genuinely, calmly in charge.Parents who are consistent and persistent create a safe haven for their children. Parents who arein charge do not lose their temper or hit their children. When a parent loses his temper, he hasraised the stress level for everyone. When a parent feels that angry and frustrated, he needs totake a time out for himself. Dr. Ross Greene is an expert who has developed many goodapproaches to problem solving with children.The most important method for reducing the stress of parenting is through loving your childrenunconditionally. It is a childs job to grow up and become independent. It is normal for children toresist doing what their parents ask. If parents can be calm, persistent and firm about their mostimportant requests, most children will comply, eventually. Children, who are receivingunconditional love, do not want their parents disapproval. At the same time, they want to beindependent. Parenting is a balancing act. The more a parent learns to understand children, theeasier the job will be. Parents need to read as much as possible about child development.Understanding children is easier with the help of experts. When parents know how normalchildrens behaviors are, they can relax and accept the behaviors that bother them more easily,despite feeling frustrated by those behaviors. Parents can then take care of their own feelings andthe stress of parenting is reduced. It is well worth any parents time to do some research to findexperts they agree with. I believe that we have an inherent desire to be "good enough" parents.Most of us want be good parents and do as good a job, or better than the job our own parents did.That is a very healthy desire. It is well worth taking the time to learn more about it and to confrontourselves, when we are behaving out of feeling stressed, and change for the better.Anne is a Board Certified Registered art therapist and Licensed Professional Counselor. Anne hasbeen studying human development and relationships for over 45 years. She has been successfullyworking with families, in various capacities, for over 20 years. Her private practice is in the Mt. Airysection of Philadelphia PA. She specializes in helping people recover from various types oftrauma, difficult changes and loss. Anne has an unusual ability to connect with children andadolescents, along with their parents. Parenting is the most important job we ever do, yet no oneshows us how to do it or gives us the support we need. Anne has successfully coached manyparents through a variety of critical stages in their childrens lives. Annes greatest joy is helpingpeople understand themselves and each other.http://www.annescreativetherapy.com