Positive Parenting Tips for Summer
For 180 days a year, school counselors work with students on how to express their feelings in appropriate ways, how to deal with their anger and how to cope with stressful situations. But what happens when school is not in session, especially during the extended summer break? As a parent, you are the most influential person in your children's lives, and how you work through family issues can have a positive influence on behavior throughout the family as well as the school. Following are some parenting tips to work on throughout the summer months.
Sibling conflicts: Stay on the sidelines of sibling arguments (unless there is bloodshed) and help your children learn to appropriately express their negative feelings. At my school, students learn to use the "magic sentence." The sentence includes phrases such as "I feel...because,""I want you to..." and "I am willing to..." Example: "I feel angry because you called me a name and I want you to stop. I am willing to stop calling you names."
Using the magic sentence requires practice and parental guidance. It may feel contrived at first, but if your children and you get into the habit of thinking and stating your feelings rather than acting out, you'll find it opens up the lines of communication and decreases outbursts.
Encourage your children to listen to other people's magic sentences and then repeat back to them what they understand they heard. If they think they heard, "You said you don't want me calling you a frog face - even though you really are one. And you want me to stop, but I won't until you do," then they may have to listen (or repeat it again) until they get it right.
Discipline: Children develop security, increased self-esteem and have fewer behavioral problems when in an environment that provides consistency, rules, consequences, praise and positive acclamations. Consistency means your behavior as a parent is absolutely predictable; this is key. To a child this means, "Every time I throw a fit in the store, Mom or Dad will leave the store" If you give in once, it's like a slot machine that pays off. Winning once is addicting. If the slot never paid, no one would ever put money in.
Reprinted with the permission of the American School Counselor Association. © Copyright 2006-2008 American School Counselor Association. All Rights Reserved.
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