Monday, October 8, 2012

Ten Rules of Parenting: A.K.A. Common Sense

Since our daughters are 20 and 22, I feel I can offer these tips in hindsight. They worked for us.

1.       If your child asks for something still in the future, i.e. “Can we go to the zoo on Saturday?” Don’t say yes or no. Say, “We’ll see.” That way, if something comes up that makes it impossible to go, you won’t be seen as breaking a promise. Children hate when we break promises to them.

2.       If your child asks to sleep over at a friend’s house, don’t give in if they phone home in the middle of the night, asking to come home. Say, “You’re fine. Go back to sleep. I’ll see you in the morning.” If they really aren’t ready for a night away, they’ll think twice before they ask again, and you can remind them of this call the next time they ask.

3.       Allow children to accompany you to the grocery store, preferably only one child at a time, so they’ll feel it’s a privilege. Make sure they understand in advance that if they start begging or whining for things, they won’t come with you again. Mean what you say.

4.       If your child throws a temper tantrum in a store, go home immediately. Let them know they will not be allowed to come to the store/mall/restaurant with you in future if they act like that.

5.       If your child is prone to whining when they ask for things, say, “Whining is an automatic No to whatever you were going to ask. Ask again properly.” Be consistent.

6.       Don’t allow children to interrupt adults who are talking, unless it’s an emergency. Teach them to wait for a break in the conversation to say, “Excuse me.”

7.       If children are arguing over food, i.e. cake, say, “One slices, the other chooses.” Once they’ve decided which one does which, you can bet the first one will slice two evenly sliced pieces.

8.       If your child doesn’t like what’s for dinner, ask, “How old are you?” “Seven.” “Okay, seven more bites.” This backfired on my husband. The kids would ask, “How old are you?” “Forty-seven.” “Okay, forty-seven more bites.”

9.       If they don’t like their dinner, say, “This is not a restaurant.” Worked in my house.

10.   If your child won’t stay in his bed at bedtime, tell him he doesn’t have to sleep, but he does have to stay in his room.

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