Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Parenting Ideas

by Tiffany Noll LPC-Intern
(Supervised by Sarah Kinsworthy, Ph.D., LPC-S, RPT)
Speaking as a fellow parent, it is our responsibility to raise our children to become reasonably responsible, productive and positive members of society. And unfortunately there is no book or manual on how to do this; we just have to figure it out as we go. So how do we develop rules, discipline, and communication to feel as though we have done our best to grow our children into the people we think they should be? This is by no means an all inclusive book or manual on how to be the perfect or ideal parent, but here are some tips that may help guide you in the right direction.
Children need clear, specific and consistent rules and boundaries. Though we feel our children hate to follow the rules and resist against them, deep down our children crave them. But how is it that what they show us on the outside is so different from what they feel on the inside? It’s because rules and boundaries provide structure, they teach about responsibility, respect, and independence. They teach our children the foundation of what their entire lives will revolve around. Without rules children can feel a sense of chaos and unpredictability. But be careful to not go overboard with the number and extensive details of the rules; make as few rules as possible and be clear and concise. Choose associated consequences that you will be willing or able to enforce. Without follow through and consistency, children are likely to learn that rules don’t have to be followed because nothing bad will happen. This is creating a false sense of reality. In the world outside of the home, there are rules that have to be followed and consequences given to those who break them. Take the time to clearly explain expectations, rules and associated consequences, and have them repeat in their own words to ensure understanding. If you find it to be appropriate, even include your children in the rule making process. They may be more likely to want to abide by the rules if they can be a part of the decision making process.

Although this may seem more difficult as your child gets older, take the time to encourage communication between your child and yourself. The positive communication between a parent and child helps them build self esteem and feelings of encouragement, understanding and acceptance. Show interest in your child’s interests and experiences, even when they are different than your own. When you allow and participate in conversation with your child about their lives, you are encouraging them to learn more about themselves and lessons from their own experiences. In listening to our children talk, we often want to give advice, criticism or directions on how we would handle particular situations, but try to avoid this as much as possible. Ask them what they think, problem solve with them, show them some respect. They are their own person, and they have their own ideas. Our children will only learn to solve problems by having their own experiences, making their own mistakes and learning from their own lessons. As parents, we often want to protect our children by teaching them from our own experiences and lessons, but the best and only way they will learn is to experience it themselves. Encourage and allow your children to have their own interests and ideas, and encourage them to keep open communication with you about these things. This shows your children than you are interested in them, accept them for who they are, and that they are unique and important individuals.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Summer is Coming! Yikes!

Summer will be here in just a couple of weeks.  While it feels good to have a more relaxed time for everyone; as a parent, the implications of children not being in school can sneak up on you.  When your children are out of school, what are you going to do with them?  The immediate temptation can be to put them in as many activities as you can afford and keep them nonstop busy.  However, that may not be the best way to go for children and their parents.  Sometimes it is best to come up with a balance of child activities and family activities for the summer.  Relaxation as well as activity make for a good combination for summer.
                  Ideas for Summer Time Activities:
1.     Summer camps involving art, sports, dance or whatever activity your child is most interested in.

2.     Visiting museums as a family – The Childrens Museum, The Fine Arts Museum, the Health Museum, the Natural Science Museum including the Butterfly area.

3.     Family trip to a waterpark - Splashtown, Splashway Water Park in Sheridan, TX (low cost),  Discovery Green – water playground.

4.     Reading books together with children