Friday, November 13, 2009

Raising Respectful and Happy Kids

    I have read a wonderful book "Raising Respectful kids in a Rude World" by Gary McKay, Joyce McKay, Daniel Eckstein and Steven Maybell and wanted to share few things that I learned from it.

    Raising kids is not an easy job. Every question they ask , every action they do, may puzzle even the most knowledgeable and best parent. The older my kids get, the more difficult I find it for myself. More often, I am trying to recall my childhood memories and think of what my parents told or did. (I think that I have greatest parents and loved they way they raised me).Sometimes, I think of myself as a child and think of how I would react about some issues. But sometimes none of that works because, first of all, I am not a boy-and I have two boys, and I just never faced some brutal male fights or conversations. Second is that the time and place that my kids are growing in are absolutely different from mine. I had read tons of books, and never felt like any of them answered my questions. Either the problems described in them didn't exist in our life, or people who wrote the books didn't have kids of their own. The "Raising Respectful kids in a Rude World" have tons of practical advices and examples. Here are few things that I highlighted for myself and wanted to share them with you.

 -Those who misunderstand equality also misunderstand rights. They believe equality means,  " I have the right to do whatever  I want." The misconception leads to insensitive and uncivil behavior. Don't forget about your kids rights.
-Rudeness can be prevented only to the extent that parents practice mutual respect and equality in all areas of family life.
-PARENTING ROLES: -The "Boss"-a parent who gives orders.
                                        - The "Doormat"-a parent who gives in.
                                        -The " Servant"-a parent who gives special service.
Many parents alternate between roles, but most of us have predominant one.
-Some kids of bossy parents become afraid of their parents. As they grow up, this fear can be transferred to any authority figure and hamper their development. "Connie, a charming 15- year old, was the delight of her parents. She always did what they asked. That's why they were so shocked when they found out she was pregnant. It turned out she'd chosen a boyfriend who liked to tell her what to do, and she followed his wishes."
-Limits without any freedom do not teach kids how to function in a world where they are expected to make decisions.
-" 12-year -old Vicki, an only child, was raised with an abundance of love from her parents who never wanted her to be unhappy. They did everything they could to please her. Whenever she felt challenged by any task, her parents were there to help her or do it for her. Vicki had a hard  time making friends, as they would not always give in to her. As she grew older, she felt more overwhelmed with responsibilities at school and frequently acted helpless.Whenever her parents decided not to give in to her wishes, Vicki would sulk and pout, and if her parents persisted, call them name and throw a temper tantrum."
-It's a important to let children do for themselves what they are capable of doing. Even young children can learn to do things for themselves.
-Giving choices and letting children learn from the consequences of heir choices, helps kids learn responsibility for themselves and their responsibility to others.
-Parents can use choices to help children learn responsibilities toward others. "Elizabeth, 15, is in her room playing music. The volume is very high.Mom knocks on the door loudly, so as to be heard over the music volume. Elizabeth comes to the door."Elizabeth", Mom says, "the volume of the music is disturbing us. Please turn it down, use your earphones, or turn it off;you decide"
-" Eight -year -old Jake liked to show off when Mom and Dad had company. Dad told Jake his boss was coming to dinner and that he'd appreciate it if Jake would be on his best behavior. "If you decide to clown around, I 'll ask you to go to your room and stay there until you are ready to cooperate."That evening, Jake began to show off. Dad excused himself and calmly took  Jake by his hand and led him to his room. Dad told Jake he could come back when he was ready to cooperate. Jake came out of his room , he cooperated for the rest of the evening. When the company left, Dad thanked Jake for his cooperation."
-"Susan -5 and Debbie-3 are sisters. Usually when they play together, they argue and take toys from each other, and at least one of them ends up crying. One day, Mom sees them playing nicely together. She comments, "I see you are playing nicely. You two look like you are really enjoying yourselves!" Encourage are quick to catch the child being good.
-You can use this creativity in a positive way. You can set up situations where kids are encouraged to use their strengths. "11-year -old John was by no means the perfect child, but he did have some talents. he was good at math. Mom acknowledged his skill and asked if he would help he balance the checkbook."
-Listen and respect your kids ideas and realize that if your child or teen doesn't agree with you, it doesn't mean the kid is wrong.
-Parents build self-esteem by *Accepting the child or teen*Having positive and realistic expectations*Focusing on the positive*Recognizing contributions*Focusing on effort and improvement*Recognizing and understanding the child's feelings *Having faith and confidence* Letting the child do what the child or teen is capable of doing* Giving choices and letting the child learn from the consequences*Instilling the courage to be imperfect*Teaching kids to care about others, to have good-manners, to help -out.
-If kids participate only in ares where they are immediately successful, their lives will be very narrow and they will not experience the joy and satisfaction that comes from well-rounded life.
- Examples of PRAISE vs Examples of ENCOURAGEMENT
" I am so proud of that great report card."- "I hope you are proud of yourself for learning so much and doing so well in school this period."
 "What a good boy you have been all day!"- "I appreciate how cooperative you have been all day!"
"Mommy is so happy that you've cleaned your room"- "I bet it feels good to have your room back in order!"
"I am so thrilled being your parent when you play as well as you did today" -" I am so glad you are in my life."
 -Encouragement can be given for accomplishment, but it also focuses on effort and improvement, and unlike praise, can be given when a child doesn't achieve.
-When you say " I am so proud of you"-is actually discouraging. Why? Because the parents pride is based on deeds. Can you be just as proud of your children because they are worthwhile even when they fail? Instead say: " I will bet you are proud of yourself!"
-Encouraging words: " I really enjoyed our time together today";"You seem to enjoy (name of activity"; "You gave it your best, and that's all you can do."; "You worked really hard on it."; "You are improving (tell how)";"Thanks for helping me. It made my job easier.";" You have a talent... Would you help me with?"; "I know you can do it.";
-Don't give encouragement with one hand and take with another: "I know you can handle it.... So you better get busy! "
-Use alternative messages. : " You get off the computer right now. I don't have to tell you again!" use " When you stay on the computer so long, I feel frustrated because we agreed to a time limit."
-I -Messages is great technique. Messages such as, " You always.." " You never.." "You should..."-are examples of " YOU -Messages" Instead try to emphasize to I and Me. " I am disappointed when you leave your toys on the floor";" I can't sleep when the TV is so loud"; " I feel frustrated when...."
- Use Open questions.A closed question usually requires a limited "yes" or "no". Open questions start with who, what, when, where, how and why.
-Rewards and punishments make the parents responsible for kids behavior. Choices within limits help kids take responsibility. The problem with rewards-they tend to escalate. A candy bar may motivate the 5-year -old, but the reward could become a car when the child is old enough.
-Reminding takes the responsibility for remembering away from kids. It's as if they need a personal secretary to follow them around and act as their memory. Do not "If you do it one ore time...";" How many times I told you...";

Personally, I believe, that the parent should be a happy person, with a a great sense of humor and appreciation for the world and share those feelings with their kids.

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