Parenting tips

Raising kids is one of the toughest and most fulfilling jobs in the parenting tips — and the one for which you might feel the least prepared. Here are nine child-rearing tips that can help you feel more fulfilled as a parent.

Kids start developing their sense of self as babies when they see themselves through their parents’ eyes. Your tone of voice, your body language, and your every expression are absorbed by your kids. Your words and actions as a parent affect their developing self-esteem more than anything else. By contrast, belittling comments or comparing a child unfavorably with another will make kids feel worthless. Avoid making loaded statements or using words as weapons. Comments like “What a stupid thing to do!

You act more like a baby than your little brother! Choose your words carefully and be compassionate. Let your kids know that everyone makes mistakes and that you still love them, even when you don’t love their behavior. Have you ever stopped to think about how many times you react negatively to your kids in a given day? You may find yourself criticizing far more often than complimenting. How would you feel about a boss who treated you with that much negative guidance, even if it was well intentioned? The more effective approach is to catch kids doing something right: “You made your bed without being asked — that’s terrific!

I was watching you play with your sister and you were very patient. These statements will do more to encourage good behavior over the long run than repeated scoldings. Make a point of finding something to praise every day. Be generous with rewards — your love, hugs, and compliments can work wonders and are often reward enough.

Soon you will find you are “growing” more of the behavior you would like to see. Discipline is necessary in every household. The goal of discipline is to help kids choose acceptable behaviors and learn self-control. They may test the limits you establish for them, but they need those limits to grow into responsible adults.

Establishing house rules helps kids understand your expectations and develop self-control. Some rules might include: no TV until homework is done, and no hitting, name-calling, or hurtful teasing allowed. You might want to have a system in place: one warning, followed by consequences such as a “time out” or loss of privileges. A common mistake parents make is failure to follow through with the consequences. You can’t discipline kids for talking back one day and ignore it the next. Being consistent teaches what you expect.

It’s often difficult for parents and kids to get together for a family meal, let alone spend quality time together. But there is probably nothing kids would like more. Get up 10 minutes earlier in the morning so you can eat breakfast with your child or leave the dishes in the sink and take a walk after dinner. Kids who aren’t getting the attention they want from their parents often act out or misbehave because they’re sure to be noticed that way.