1.   Patience. While patience is sometimes the hardest thing to have when dealing with that mischievous child, it is one of the most important tools in parenting. Children model, feed off of, and react to situations based on our reactions and emotions; as well as our ability to maintain self-control when things are going awry. If you maintain patience and keep calm while your child is at his/her lowest—it may take a minute, but with perseverance your child will calm down faster than if you were to become impatient and start to lose your cool. If your patience slips then both of you begin feeding off of each other’s negative energy and all you have is two frustrated people and the situation is harder to remedy. Remaining patient and calm, allows your child a sense of security. “I am totally, unhappy right now, but everything will be okay because mom and dad got this.” Your patience is key to lowering the stress level of both you and your child. One way to remain calm is to focus on the situation at hand, and the emotions your child is experiencing. It is important to remove yourself from your emotions as best you can—this will help you stay calm. Remember: children communicate through their behavior, as they do not possess the maturity and skills to articulate their feelings verbally. So focus on what the behavior is telling you; ie. I am hungry, tired, sad, mad, etc. Not only will you have an easier time maintaining patience, but you will ensure a calmer environment for all involved.

2.   Praise. One of the most underused tools in parenting today is praise. Ironically enough, it’s because many parents are afraid of abusing it. They are concerned praise will lose its value and turn their child into a conceited individual. Honestly, is there such a thing as praising a child too much? In reality, no. It is mostly the “timing and placement” that matters. Any parenting tool that is not used with a purpose and in moderation will lose its value and efficiency.For example, if in every five minutes you are saying, “I like the way you are sitting quietly, I like the way you are eating with your fork,” and you are jumping from one praise to another, praise becomes less treasured. In addition, if you are constantly praising your child, you are unconsciously training them to rely on and need external approval of how they are behaving or what they have accomplished. While external rewards are important, intrinsic rewards like self-pride are equally important. Sometimes it’s essential for the incentive to be the accomplishment of a task.That being said, your praise is very vital and valuable to your children; time it right, and it is one of the simplest yet prized parenting tools. For example, if your child has a bad habit of interrupting you while you are on phone, and they do so not once, but multiple time during a conversation. Then one day, when you’re about to hang up, you realize something is/was different, your child is playing quietly and has not interrupted your conversation once! This is your praise ‘prime time.’You need to hang up the phone and without fanfare overkill, go to your child and say something like the following, “I love the way you are playing quietly by yourself, and I also think it’s super that you did not interrupt mommy once while she was on the phone. Thank you!”If you want your child to behave in a certain way then consider behaving the way you want your child to, as he/she will model themselves off of you and your behavior. In addition, you can catch them behaving the way you want, let them know you notice this, and are proud of them to encourage similar behavior in the future. 

3.  Positivity. As stated earlier, our children model, react to, and feed off our emotions and reactions to situations that they face. So the more positive you are in your reactions and approaches to situations or tasks you overlook, the more positive your child will be. For instance, if your child tries to pour himself a glass of milk and spills, do not forget that the child was attempting to do something good, and that all learning begins with mistakes. The use of positive reinforcement (rather than yelling), will encourage your child to see these experiences as lessons and opportunities to grow and learn from. You could say, “No big deal, don’t cry over spilt milk, that was a good try.” The more positive you stay, the more you are teaching them the important values of ‘nothing is a mistake if you learn from it,’ as well as ‘don’t sweat the small stuff.’ While it may seem that I am stating the obvious, the more you see the metaphorical glass as ‘half full’ and are grateful for what you have, the more likely your children are to see the world and their experience in it, from that same perspective.

For more Positive Parenting Practices perspectives and tips visit my website @ www.possiblilitiesareinfinite.com There you can sign up for my Infinite Loop and have my blogs arrive right to your inbox! For even more tips, positive perspective and support join my social media parenting village; my Facebook group: Positive Parenting Practices with Sharon Birn.

© Sharon Birn; Possibilities R Infinite August 12 ,2015