Parent Resources: The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective Parents
By Jim Brackin
Despite the thousands of books written on the subject, kids don't
come with a 'how to' manual. As with all relationships, creating a
strong bond takes time and effort. Being a Mom or Dad is a tough,
demanding and time consuming job, but there are certain habits that
seem to make the job a little easier.
1. Give your love, unconditionally
Demonstrate that you love your children every day, whatever their
age. In fact it's probably more important to do this at the times
when they least deserve it. . It's not just what you say it what you
do that counts. A simple smile or hug at least three times a day
goes a long way toward developing and strengthening a relationship.
2. Understand their personality
Many websites provide help based on personality profiles. Just
Google keywords like 'personality profiling UK' and your find sites
like personaliteye.com which offers a free report titled "What sort
of parent are you?" The report tells you if your children are likely
to see you as a 'boring ogre or relaxed and fun' and more
importantly what to do about it! It's useful because the personality
based report highlights your unique strengths and weaknesses as a
parent. The report also gives tips on how to improve your
communication skills to strengthen your relationship with your
3. Spend time together
You have probably heard the saying "To develop their children
parents should spend half as much money and twice as much time". So
spend time and interact with your children, ask them for their help
and when possible eat together as a family. Remember, with children
there is no real quality time. There is just time and preferably
lots of it.
4. Have defined rules and stick to them
Stability and certainty are important for any developing child. They
should know where the boundaries are and the consequences of going
beyond them. Typically a 'three strikes' policy works the best.
First remind the child of the rules. Secondly remind the child of
the rule and reinforce the consequence of breaking it. And if that
doesn't stop the behavior then take the necessary action. This
helps the child to understand that they are responsible for the
consequences of their actions.
5. Be yourself
Let your children see that you are human. Children learn many of
their core behaviors before they reach seven years old. So it's
important for them to see you how you react in different situations.
Show them that it is OK to laugh and cry, to be serious and silly or
angry and sad. If you make mistakes share them, remember you don't
have to have all of the answers.
6. Have special children days
As parents we enjoy trips, visits and special events, so why not
create the same thing for your children? Set aside a day where they
can decide exactly what the family should do. Whether it is a trip
to a playground, catching a movie or a day gardening, let them make
the choices and decisions. You'll often find that it is often these
family times that are the most memorable.
7. Respect their choices
You don't have to like or agree with their choices, but you do have
to respect them. Children have a strong need for independence and
autonomy at a young age. As parents we should encourage those
decision-making skills by giving our respect and support.
Most parents gain their experience 'on the job' and
by the time they have it, it's not longer of much use. So perhaps
using some of the highly effective habits will help you gain the
experience whilst you are still able to use it. Enjoy the journey.
Jim Brackin contributes tips, help and advice on
and therapy, to variety of magazines like Cosmopolitan, Real,
Spirit and Destiny and Women's Own. He is the body language expert
for Sky News in the UK.