Tag Archives: what is good parenting

Top Ten Ways Single Parent Families Can be Fun

Single parent familiesSingle parent families are common these days, but often they are more difficult to manage than two parent families, especially after separation, and especially if the separation has been a nasty one.

 

Many single parents unwittingly use their children as pawns in a tug-or-war between the two parents, and this causes a lot of friction not only between the adults, but also among the children.  Often the relationship between family members is tense and trust is reduced because of this, but it does not have to be this way.

 

Single Parent Families can be fun, and here’s our Top Ten Ways to Achieve This…

 

1. Don’t Attack your Ex

Attacking your ex actually hurts your children, so try to speak well of the ex-partner as much as you can.  If they speak ill of you, then try to refrain from telling your kids horrible things about the ex, because over time they will figure out who is the honest one and who is throwing mud!

2. Make Time for your Children

Spending time with them at whatever is important to them is the ultimate act of love that they will understand. Make time to spend with them, even if it costs you time and money, because it says “I love you and you are important to me!”

3. Be Slow to Start Dating Again

Dating after a break up is tricky enough, let alone if children are involved.  Your children feel isolated and threatened by another person coming on the scene, especially if they have kids too.  Be slow to start dating again, and make wise decision with regards who is coming into your life, and your children’s lives!

4. Do Something Crazy!

Why be the boring parent?  Your single parent family should be a place of love, peace and fun, so do something crazy.  Make cupcakes, have a mud fight, grab some popcorn and have a movie night.  Be a little more relaxed and a little bit crazier and your kids will love it!

5. Have a Games Night

Games nights are not only fun but they build relationship.  In times past we might have suggested playing Monopoly or Twister (and they are still great), but in the 21st century, why not ask your kids to set up a family LAN party, or play the X-Box or Wii together?

6. Keep Your Place the Fun One

If your children go between your home and your ex’s, make sure yours is the fun one, and it can be fun even with chores, rules and consequences.  Minimize screaming, and try fun things like letting them decorate their room

7. Apply Rules and Consequences without Emotions

If you lose your temper, you lose!  Never yell, scream or emotionally attack your children.  You have rules, you have consequences, and one follows the other without yelling, debates or arguments.  Stick to the consequences but do so without the drama!

8. Hit You Tube!

One really great night you can have with your kids is sharing videos you have found on You Tube.  Funny ads, crazy clips, music videos, whatever you like.  The night will go quickly and the fun will flow!

9. Jammin’ in the Car

You have to drive places together, so why not put the radio or CD on and sing all trip.  Even if your voice is terrible, it is especially fun with young kids.  My kids were convinced that my car ran on music when they were young!

10. No One Else Has to Understand

Don’t worry about what others may think.  The most important thing is that single parent families like yours are loving and safe, not tense and dramatic.  Others may think you have lost your mind doing crazy things with the kids, but you know your family is worth it!

 

So make yours one of the most loving, most fun and safest single parent families on earth by applying these tips and other ideas.

Top Ten Bad Parenting Habits to Avoid (Part 3)

Bad ParentingHere is the conclusion of your series on Bad Parenting

It has been a fun, tongue in cheek look at bad parenting, but you can learn a lot from looking at how NOT to parent your child.  If you missed the previous installments, click here to Start at the first article.

8. The Screaming Match

Bad parenting most often results in a screaming match. For both parent and child, frustration and stress on the relationship are often expressed by emotions, and the most common emotion is yelling.

Screaming at your child, standing over them or poking your finger at them is rude, demeaning and closes communication with them. It lowers their respect for you and even if you scream but they fall silent, damage is being done which can last a lifetime.

Emotions are part of living in a family, and if you’ve had a particularly stressful day it’s not uncommon to feel like you want to scream. However, if you lose your temper you lose the plot, so take a breath, count to 10 and walk away until you are in control of your emotions.

Once you are calm enough, sit with your child and discuss the issue, focusing on them not on the problem. Allow them to express their emotions, but take a break if they are getting worked up. If you can calmly express the reasons for your decision without it becoming a screaming match then you have achieved a major victory.

Remember, the words you say cannot be retrieved, so take time aside to think and speak rationally and carefully to your child.

9. Criticizing Your Child

Experts tell us that criticism and verbal abuse can, like physical abuse, have a slow and negative affect on the development of children. In older kids it can cause low self-esteem and depression, and leave your kids feeling humiliated and betrayed as they grow up, oftentimes unable to maintain healthy relationships in later life.

Comparisons between siblings are some of the most damaging forms of criticism for developing children. It causes resentment between the kids and a feeling of favouritism which can negatively affect both children.

Public putdowns and shaming them in front of others can be equally as damaging. No one likes to be made to feel like a failure, so emphasizing that failure never causes good and always hurts a child.

Kids fail just like we all do at times. Instead of making negative comments in front of friends, and instead of comparing your children’s strengths and weaknesses, concentrate on building your child up, both publicly and privately.

Try to identify your child’s strengths and qualities that make sure that they feel great about these strengths. If you need to blow off steam about your child’s failings, do it alone to a trusted friend and make sure that they cannot hear you!

10. Too Much of a Good Thing

Most parents want to bless their children, but some feel that giving them everything they want is quite often not a good idea at all.

In our modern world there is a constant flow of new gadgets and fashions that every kid wants, especially as they hit the teenage years. Many parents give their children everything they ask for, and rather than their respect and love they receive venomous anger if they refuse to buy an expensive or inappropriate gadget.

Also, there is a constant stream of activities that your child can be involved in, and if you are not careful every afternoon and evening could be filled with things that your child wants to do, from tennis lessons to Karate, from guitar lessons to dance classes. Over-scheduling is a clear and present danger for the modern parent, and while the child might enjoy these activities, eventually they can give rise to tiredness, depression, headaches and declining grades.

Bad parenting gives children everything they want and finishes with miserable kids, but good parenting will choose selected activities and fashions and grant only these requests. Once again, parenting in the right way is a balancing act and wisdom and experience are your our allies.

As long as mankind has existed bad parenting has also existed. It is not an easy business trying to raise children and help them develop into successful adults, but it is among the most satisfying things you will ever do in life.

If you apply these principles and avoid these bad parenting habits, you can not only see your children mature as wonderful as successful adults, but you can also enjoy the journey with them year by year.

Parenting for Dummies: A Not-So-Dumb Top Ten

A Not so dumb guide to parentingParenting for dummies is probably a bit condescending as a title, but the purpose of this article is to strip away the mystique of being a parent.  In its purest form, parenting should be pretty straight forward, but the truth is that, in the heat of the battle with our kids, it becomes almost overwhelming!

Hence the term, “for dummies”.  I want to strip away the smoke and mirrors and get back to the basics of how you can be a great parent, in a way that anyone, including a first time novice, should be able to apply.

So here is our not-so-dumb Top Ten of Parenting for Dummies (and also smart people like you!)

1. Set Limits

Parenting starts with setting sensible limits, and attaching sensible consequences to them.  Boundaries should be put in place and this will be dependent on the age of the children.  Pick your battles, and don’t put rules in place for things that are trivial, save it for the important ones.  So have a rule in place for staying out beyond curfew, but avoid making a Federal Case of the child not brushing their teeth.

2. Set Consequences

Consequences need to make sense and be proportional.  For example a perfect consequence for staying out late would be grounding the child. Don’t set a consequence that just frustrates the child, or that is perceived as unfair or inappropriate, such as spanking a child for hitting another child.  Do not threaten consequences you will not or cannot keep to, so avoid saying things like, “If you do that again I will kill you!”

3. Follow Through

If you set a consequence, follow through every single time, or you will consider yourself a real dummy in the long run!  Even if you don’t want to, even if it inconveniences you, follow through anyway because this teaches kids that the consequences to certain actions are a sure thing and they don’t change depending on the parent’s mood.

4. Provide Structure and Routine

Children love and need structure, so parenting for dummies insists on providing routine and structure, especially when the kids are young.  Get into the habit of doing the same thing routinely, because there is great security in this for your children.  Being chaotic in your household will see you struggle, so remember that one of the great premises of parenting for dummies is that routine and structure are your friend, not your enemy!

5. Teach Them Respect

Respect is important.  Your children need to respect you and your authority as a parent, other adults especially those closest to them, and social authorities like teachers, pastors, the Police and Armed Forces.  They must also be taught to respect those with disabilities, and to always be kind and honorable towards them.

6. Teach Them Self-Discipline

As they grow, children need to take responsibility for their actions, as do the parents.  You should not be b laming others all the time for your misfortune, because this teaches the same to your kids.  If you mess up, take responsibility, say you are sorry and move on.  Also, teach your children that there are no valid excuses to not doing certain things like homework and the dishes, there are only certain consequences, most of which are unpleasant!

7. Always Speak Positive Words

Always say positive things to your child, no matter how frustrating they get.  Never speak in anger and never lose your temper.  If you are getting close, walk away and calm down before you talk to them.  Make sure you never label them with their action, so your son would not be a naughty boy but a good boy who did something naughty.

8. Invest Time

Nothing says “I love you” more to your children than spending time with them.  Play games, take them out somewhere they like, sit and read with them, and I would also advise that during dinner the TV is turned off and conversation replaces it!

9. Keep the Dreams Alive

Every child has dreams, and your job as a parent is to encourage and promote those dreams.  However, make the child choose one or at most two dreams to pursue, because each one requires an investment in time and also money.  So, they might want to play football, or surf, or dance, or do karate, or design computer games, but they cannot do all of them at once.  Let them choose, then let them pursue their dreams.

10. Love Unconditionally

Kids need to know that they are loved, no matter what they might do.  Unconditional love does not depend on your mood, or on how tired you are, or on what their actions have been.  Tell them you love them whether they get an A or a F in Maths, and whether you have had a tough day or a great day.

Apply these Top Ten Tips and watch your family dynamic change and improve.  If you have this list and do what it says, you won’t need to think about parenting for dummies, you’ll be teaching others the secret to your family success!

Top Ten Tips on How to Parent after a Breakup

how to parentIf you have children and have experienced a break up you may be wondering how to parent after the event.  Breakups are frequently messy and emotional affairs, and it is often hard to be there for your kids in their hour of need, especially when you are hurting so badly yourself.

Learning how to parent through a breakup can soften the blow of the separation for your children, and surprisingly even for yourself.

So here’s out Top Ten of coping with your breakup, and how to parent your children through it!

1. Speak to Each Child Individually

While you can talk to all of them together, put some special time aside for each one individually.

2. Take into Account their Ages

Obviously younger children will have less of an understanding of what a breakup is about compared to teenagers.  Try to convey the truth of what has happening in the simplest way possible, and ensure they understand.

3. Let the Know the Breakup is Not Their Fault

Kids naturally blame themselves for a breakdown in the family and wonder what they could have done to prevent it.  Make sure they understand that this is between you and your ex, and they may have had a bearing on your decision, but certainly were not the root cause of the breakup.

4. Tell Them they are Unconditionally Loved by Both Parents

Children need to know that they are unconditionally loved, no matter what they do, what they say and no matter what the state of the relationship between the parents.  Convey that your love for them and your partner’s love for them is not dependent on the parental relationship, and although clearly this will affect the way the parent child relationship works, it does not change how much they are loved.

5. Tell Them that They will be Informed of All Important Decisions

Kids need to know that they are in the loop, so don’t try and hide things thinking that you are protecting them.  Keep them informed, even of the tough things, but do it gently and respectfully.

6. Remind Them that they are Your Joy, and You are Listening

Tell them how much you delight in them, and that you are willing to listen to them.  Learning how to parent through a breakup is going to be something that develops, so listen and care for them, and even if their opinions cannot change anything, at least they feel heard.

7. Never Bad-mouth the Ex to the Kids

It is so tempting in the heat of the moment to say bad things about your ex-partner in an effort to blame them for the relationship breakdown.  Avoid this at all costs, because mud thrown is ground lost.  If you think they are a jerk, tell your closest friend maybe, but speaking badly of the ex places the child in a horrible position, a pawn between two fighting parents.

8. Let them Know they Can’t Change your Decision and Bring the Relationship Back

As much as you love your children, you are still responsible for making decisions about your life and your relationships. Kids may think that if they change the relationship could be restored, so make it clear that your decision is independent to anything a child might say or do.

9. Try to Keep Parenting with the Ex-partner

Breakups are never pretty, but try to keep civility and an open channel in the relationship for the children.  Share your concerns and the needs of the children, and encourage your ex to learn how to parent with you, not undermine everything you do.  Explain to them that the kids come first, and they should not be used as a pawn in an adult relationship game.

10. Tell Them you Need their Courage and Help

Let your children know that in this difficult time you need their help and support as much as they need yours, and that together you can work to create a new life.  Encourage your children’s courage to help and face the future.

Learning how to parent during and after a breakup is a process, and every situation is individual.  Despite your pain or anger at the breakup, you can still learn how to parent effectively and create a new life for yourself and your children without your former partner.

Top Ten Bad Parenting Habits to Avoid (Part 2)

Bad ParentingThis is the second article in our Bad Parenting series!

If you missed the previous article, the first 4 points in our Top Ten, Click here to read it now.

4. Love if, Love Because

If you really want to show your children bad parenting, try offering them conditional love.  This is a love for them that appears only when they are good or have done something to please you, and it disappears when they have done something to displease you.  So if they are naughty they feel unloved.  It they fail, they feel unloved.  If they are good or well behaved they feel loved.  You get the drift?

What you really want to give them is unconditional love, and take every opportunity to show them this unconditional love.  This is a love that exists regardless of what they do or say.  They cannot be bad enough to lose it.  They can’t act out or swear at you or even hit you enough to stop this love from being demonstrated.  It is unconditional, and it is yours to give!

Even when you discipline, it must be done in this unconditional love.  They are punished, for example sent to their room.  But when you place them there, say you love them, hug them, but still be strong enough to follow through with the penalty.  Afterwards, hug them and love them to pieces!

Many adults bear the scars of never being good enough for their parents, and it often stays with them their whole life, and affects how they relate to others and even their own children.  The cure is unconditional love, so give it and do so liberally!

 5. Always Letting Kids Have their Own way

Most children are master negotiators, and they tend to start this very early in their development. If you are in a public place, they will recognize that they had a strong negotiating tool in their behavior, and they will often use this to get their own way.

There are times when, despite your child’s behavior, you must remain firm and strong. They may pout, they may scream or they may even hit, but if you give in to them all the time you will be creating a rod for your own back in the long term.

Your children need to understand that if they ask for something and you say, “No”, this means no, not ask 100 times more. If the short answer is no, the long answer needs to be, “Absolutely no!” regardless of how much pressure they try to place you under.

6. Failing to Follow Through

One of the most frequent example of bad parenting isn’t failing to follow through. When you set limits for your child, you need to recognize that at some point they will test those limits, and this is when you need to follow through with the penalty for their behavior.

Many parents set limits for their children but think that, rather than punishing their kids, it is easier to avoid a fight or the child’s attempt to punish the parents by giving in. Yet failing to enforce the consequences of bad behavior makes your child see you as easily manipulated and unreliable.

Consistency is an important part of good parenting, and threatening consequences for bad behavior is useless unless you follow through on the threat. So if you tell a child that they will not get a treat, you must not give in to them by giving them to treat despite their behaviour. If you do this, you are reinforcing bad behavior and ruining their respect for your authority.

We should mention that it is foolishness to attach an unrealistic consequence to a child’s action. If you are not prepared to follow through with the consequences, don’t threaten the child with it. Saying to a child, “If you do that again I will kill you,” is bad parenting at its worst.

 7. Being a Slave

Many parents feel like they are becoming slaves to their children, especially as the children grow up into the teenage years. Sometimes moms find that it is easier to do a child’s chores for them rather than put up with the fights and the frustration of constant delaying tactics.

From an early age children should learn that they can be trusted with small tasks, such as cleaning their toys away or folding napkins. These small actions give children a sense of responsibility and also build self-esteem, making them feel like they have a place of importance within the family.

Chores are not punishment; They are part of being in the family. So don’t feel guilty about asking your child to do chores.  Also, don’t allow your child to procrastinate and never enter into a screaming match with them, because both of these are counterproductive for their development and your sanity.

Instead, attach a consequence for failing to do a chore, and make sure you follow through with it.

There’s more to come, so to continue reading about Bad Habits to avoid, click here Now!

 

Being a Good Parent as a Single

being a good parentBeing a good parent as a single mom or dad is possible and achievable.  It is certainly a harder ask than attempting this as part of a couple, but many would argue rightly that parenting alone is better than parenting with the wrong partner, or in an abusive relationship.

Being a Good Parent takes more than Just Love!

As a single parent I am sure that you love your children, but being a good parent is far more than that. In my charity running a home for young mothers, I have seen loads of girls who love their kids but cannot parent them properly, even to the point where the government removes them and places them in foster care.  Lots of love, sure, but no parenting skills!

Beyond loving your children being a good parent means making some tough choices and providing real leadership in the home, even as a single parent.  It means learning our Top 10 parenting skills, and applying them consistently. And consistently is the key word!

As a single parent you may not have someone with which to share the parenting load, discuss the situations you face or be there for you when you need help or a break.  If you lack a partner, I urge you to find someone else who can help, such as your mother, a close friend or an organization like the one I run, which is called Lily House.

You may feel that you would like to stand on your own, but trust me, even if you don’t work full or part time, you still can benefit from support.  If you don’t have someone close to you, you can pay for things like child care or after school support.

Sometimes being a good parent is about asking for help rather than continuing to do what you are doing and facing failure or collapse. It’s about being strong for your children and being a leader, rather than having them control you and your reactions.  It’s about acting with your kids instead of reacting. Good parenting is about good decisions you can make in the easy times that you stick to when the pressure is on.

Learning how to parent is very achievable for single moms and dads.  The pressure may be on to compromise, especially if you share custody, because chances are your ex is not going to parent in the same style as you do.  Nevertheless, if you do the right things in the long run your children will thank you for it.

Is Being a Good Parent about Being a Policeman?

Sometimes yes, you will have to make unpopular decision, and when your ex gets to have the fun times and you get to do the disciplining, is can be a difficult position.

That’s when you need to show unconditional love, as well as firm rules, and it may be the right time to talk to your ex about coordinating your efforts for the good of your child.  If bringing up your child degrades into a game of ‘who can give the biggest bribe’, then your child might think they are winning, but they will ultimately lose.

Read our Top 10 parenting skills and apply them with genuine love.  You will discover than being a good parent is more than just love, and that even as a single parent, you can do this successfully for your child.

Parenting Skills 101 for Dummies

101 slikks for parentingParenting skills 101 refers to the basics of being parents, and you might think that most people know the basics.  However, in the heat of the moment even the basic knowledge we have about good parenting can go out the window, so whether you are a new or experienced parent, going over the basics is always going to be a good idea!

With this in mind, here’s a Top Ten that you will do well to go over once again.

The Top 10 Parenting Skills 101

 

1.    Provide Unconditional Love
Loving your children is easy when they are good and a bit harder when they are disobedient, stubborn or badly behaved.  Yet if the kids know your affection is independent of their failings they will feel secure and strangely, their behavior will often improve.
2.    Be a Leader
Children don’t need you to be a friend or a buddy, and they certainly don’t need to parent you!  What they need from you, especially early in life, is for you to lead, direct and guide them, so step up to the mark and be a true, decisive yet loving leader for your children.
3.    Provide Structure
You might be a free spirit, and you might want that for your children, but kids need and even crave structure.  They need to know what is right and what is wrong, so set this out clearly for them and let them learn from their mistakes.  Our society functions on rules, and they need to learn them to be a part of our society. In the same way that you need road rules to drive effectively, so you need life rules to live effectively. Within that structure their freedom will blossom.
4.    Teach Them Consequences
Children need to know that whatever they do, good or bad, there are consequences.  Many troubled teenagers fail to grasp that cause and effect are part of life and there are always consequences for our mistakes!  Failure to grasp this leads to lawlessness, defiance and self-pity (how can this happen to me!), so wise parents make their kids learn about the consequences of their actions before they commit the act.
5.    Teach Them Self-Discipline
Discipline is not an evil word, it’s an effective time of training that can help your kids learn.  A successful life will always involve discipline.  Just ask any elite sportsman or successful businessman!  As children, they cannot be expected to discipline themselves so you must apply that discipline when they are young, so they can learn to discipline themselves as they grow older.
6.    Teach Them to Take Responsibility
The blame game is common among people today and well-meaning counselors, courts and social workers inadvertently add to this.  Yes our upbringing, the way we were parented and life experiences can affect us deeply, but there comes a point when we must take responsibility for our actions, and you can start to teach children this early in life.
7.    R.E.S.P.E.C.T!  
Aretha Franklin sang it first, but it still applies. We should be teaching a child respect, both for themselves, their body and their mind, and especially for others.  Authorities should be respected, elders should be respected and especially, you as a parent must be respected.
8.    Use Kind Words
Many parents speak harshly with their children, and this should not be the case.  You should encourage and build your child up, in their successes and especially their failures.
9.    Bribes or Rewards
So many parents fail Parenting class 101 because they constantly try to bribe their children to improve behavior.  Rewards for obedience, effort and respect need to be carefully considered, so that the real reward is a job well done not the physical bribe. Buying the latest in fashion or technology is not always appropriate, and giving the child a reward after they ‘eventually’ do what you want is counterproductive.
10.    Care for Others
You don’t need to teach a child to put themselves first or be selfish, they figure that out themselves.  You do need to teach them care for others.  They need to be taught how to share, how to love the unlovely and how to have humility, self-control, patience, kindness and consideration for others.

Good parenting starts with love, unconditional love, the type of love that does not change with the obedience of the child.

Master this Top Ten and you will surely have mastered Parenting Skills 101!

 

What is Good Parenting?

Parenting is Good for Single ParentsWhat is good parenting and how does someone become a good at being a parent? Anyone who has children will have asked themselves this question at some time, and it is perhaps especially important for singles, because they have to learn to fulfill two roles in the lives of their children.

Although this is a very complex subject, I would like to offer 2 simple methods you can apply to improve your skills in this area and become outstanding, even if you are single!

So exactly what is good parenting?

Being a good parent is far more than having a compliant, well-behaved child, but for many parents this appears to be the goal of their parenting. This is a very myopic view, and it is usually motivated by social concerns or a selfish desire on the part of the parent.  It goes far beyond this and helps develop their character as they prepare them for adult life.

In years gone by many favored the use of harsh discipline with a child, and the goal was to produce a kid who was ‘seen and not heard’. I believe that this is a mistake, but many do this because they were subjected to this treatment themselves when they were young.  Many adults also compare their seemingly well-behaved children with other kids who are misbehaving and it makes them feel better, but are those kids able to change their effective behaviour to ultimately make them successful in life?

Today many carry the scars of over discipline when they were young, and many are still haunted by the fact that they felt loved when they were obedient, but unloved if they made mistakes.

Some even go the other way, failing to apply any discipline or control over their children because they suffered at the hands of overbearing parents.

The thing is that good parenting starts with unconditional love, the type that does not change with whatever the child is doing or whatever rules are in play.

It is then backed up with firm and stable limits for the child, with unchanging and always applied consequences that they must learn if they step outside of the limits. In this way you can set limits for your children and protect them, and you can also guide the development of life skills they need… But consistency is the key! The consequences for disobedience must be explained to the child beforehand, and followed through with every single time until they learn that is it better for them to listen to you!

Yet no matter what mistakes they have made or what they have done, and no matter what the consequences for bad behavior, they must always know that they are loved unconditionally.

These are parental skills that you can offer your children, no matter how you were brought up yourself.  You can offer them whether you are married or single, employed or staying at home.

So the simplest answer to the question what is good parenting is twofold, unconditional love and unrelenting consequences!

Top Ten Bad Parenting Habits to Avoid (Part 1)

How to Avoid Parenting BadlyBad Parenting is a common problem in our society and the proliferation of single parents and co-parenting is only making the situation more difficult for single parents. While no one sets out to be a bad mom or dad, many are finishing in this position by default because they are unsure of how and when to discipline their children.

Children do not come with a handbook, so for most young parents, being positive parents and avoiding inconsistent or bad  behaviors becomes a matter of trial and error. Yet often our good intentions and desires can sabotage the way in which we parent our children, with many of us choosing to be a popular parents rather than good ones!

In the day-to-day running of things it is easy to fall into habits that are not beneficial to our children without knowing it. Here’s a list of the top 10 habits that you can break in the next seven days.

So Here’s my Top 10 Bad Parenting Habits to Learn to Avoid

 1. Being a Friend Rather than a Parent

We all love to be loved, and we want to be loved by our kids. However, more than a friend your child needs you to be a parent, and many times these roles are mutually exclusive.

You need to be a leader, teacher, provider and a disciplinarian. If you have limited time to spend with your them in a day, it is not easy to be all of these things plus a friend. But good parents take charge, no matter what the kids might say, despite their expertise in making you feel guilty and like they do not love you if they do not get their own way.

When you are a parent instead of a friend to your child, your child will grow with respect for your authority, and they will have confidence and feel safe around you. When they are confident and safe than it is much easier to be a friend to them as well.

 2. Not Listening

Failing to listen is a classic example of parenting badly. Listening to them makes them feel special and helps them to work through their problems to obtain solutions. Instead of telling them what to do or offering advice, pay attention to your child’s feelings and emotions, learn about their challenges and dreams, then encourage them to find their own solution to their problem. If they cannot settle on the direction ahead, list the alternatives and offer your advice at this point rather than at the beginning.

 3. Failing to Set Limits

It is not true that your child must explore everything in life… good parenting recognizes that limits are not negatives.

When our kids are toddlers we put physical limits in place to protect them from dangerous situations. When place them in a playpen, we make sure that there is a strong offense around our yard so that they cannot play on the road. Yet as they grow older, some adults feel that limits will limit their child’s development, yet studies have shown that the opposite is the case.

Kids raised without limits often are fearful of exploring, and will sometimes even purposely misbehave in an attempt to find some sort of limit.

Make sure that the limits you set for your kids are appropriate for their age and development, and pick your battles. For example, it is more important to teach a toddler not to fight if they don’t get their own way rather than teaching them to sit still for a two-hour presentation.

As kids grow and mature the limits that you set for them need to change as well. As they grow older they need to be able to make their own decisions, and feel the consequences of those decisions, whether good or bad. Above all, let them know you love them, and that this love is unconditional regardless of their stupid decisions!

The limits you place around your child need to be moved slowly and any stretching needs to be accompanied by a frank and honest discussion of the consequences. You need to be wise and careful about how you move these limits and make sure that your child is ready for the movement, but if they request something it does not mean that you have to comply. You wouldn’t offering your car keys to your seven-year-old would you?

Loads more to come in our 3 part series on Parenting Badly series.  Click here to read part 2 now!