PARENTING SKILLS FOR INFANTS I

Parenting Abilities

7 mejores para bebés presents you this interesting article about some of the several Parenting Abilities, that all new parents must apply to the complete and healthy development of their children.

Actively Listening to your Child

Communicating with our children can be a difficult task at times.  We feel like they’re not listening to us; they feel like we’re not listening to them.  Good listening and communications skills are essential to successful parenting.  Your child’s feelings, views and opinions have worth, and you should make sure you take the time to sit down and listen openly and discuss them honestly.

It seems to be a natural tendency to react rather than to respond.  We pass judgment based on our own feelings and experiences.  However, responding means being receptive to our child’s feelings and emotions and allowing them to express themselves openly and honestly without fear of repercussion from us. 

By reacting, we send our child the message that their feelings and opinions are invalid.  But by responding and asking questions about why the child feels that way, it opens a dialog that allows them to discuss their feelings further, and allows you a better understanding of where they’re coming from. 

Responding also gives you an opportunity to work out a solution or a plan of action with your child that perhaps they would not have come up with on their own.  Your child will also appreciate the fact that maybe you do indeed understand how they feel. 

It’s crucial in these situations to give your child your full and undivided attention.  Put down your newspaper, stop doing dishes, or turn off the television so you can hear the full situation and make eye contact with your child.   Keep calm, be inquisitive, and afterwards offer potential solutions to the problem. 

Don’t discourage your child from feeling upset, angry, or frustrated.  Our initial instinct may be to say or do something to steer our child away from it, but this can be a detrimental tactic.  Again, listen to your child, ask questions to find out why they are feeling that way, and then offer potential solutions to alleviate the bad feeling.

Just as we do, our children have feelings and experience difficult situations.  By actively listening and participating with our child as they talk about it, it demonstrates to them that we do care, we want to help and we have similar experiences of our own that they can draw from.  Remember, respond – don’t react. 

Listening is one of the main parenting abilities to apply.

«Because» Just Isn’t the Answer

Children are inquisitive by nature.  When they are younger, it’s usually because they want to better understand something.  When they are older, it’s because they want to better understand why you think something is important and why they should also feel the same way.  Regardless of their age, it’s imperative that when setting forth the rules and expectations in your home, your child understands there is no room for questioning the rules you set forth and the consequences of breaking the rules. 

Younger children usually do not understand a lengthy explanation of why it’s important that they be home from their friend’s home at a certain time or why they aren’t allowed to play ball in the house.  But the one thing they do strive to do most of the time is to make their parents proud and happy. 

So when a young child asks «Why?» or «Why not?» when they are told they can’t play with something or someone or why they have to obey a rule you’ve set forth, simply explain to them that «because it makes me happy when you follow the house rules and do what I have asked of you.» 

You should avoid using the term, «Because I said so,» as that only adds to the child’s frustration and confusion. This is one important parenting abilities.

Older children, adolescents and teenagers alike will probably require more from your explanation.  When they question «Why?» or «Why not?» it’s best to directly, honestly and clearly state your reasoning.  «I asked you to be home by 10 p.m. because we have to be at the dentist’s office first thing in the morning for your check-up and we can’t be late.»  It is also a great opportunity for you to reiterate the consequences of breaking the rule.  «If you are not home by 10 p.m., you’ll be grounded from going to your friend’s house for a week.» Be consistent, be firm, and be clear. 

Though your child may challenge you by asking your reasoning why a rule has been put in place, it also shows their growth as an individual thinker.  So try not to get angry or frustrated when they do so; realize it’s their way of understanding their world around them. 

Building You Child’s Self Esteem

It’s often been said that children learn what they live.  So if you’re looking for a place to start helping your child build positive self esteem and self value, then you should show them your positive sense of self and strong self esteem.  Be positive when you speak about yourself and highlight your strengths. This will teach your child that it’s okay to be proud of their talents, skills and abilities. 

Your child also benefits greatly from honest and positive praise.  Find something about them to praise each day.  You could even give your child a task you know they can complete and then praise them for a job well done after they’re finished. Show your child that positive acts merit positive praise. 

When your child’s feeling sad, angry or depressed, communicate openly, honestly and patiently with them. Listen to them without judging or criticizing.  They may not fully understand why they feel the way they do, so the opportunity to communicate with you about it may be what’s needed to help them sort through a difficult situation.  Suggest positive behaviors and options as solutions, and make sure to leave that door of communication open so they know the next time they feel badly, they can come to you for help and know that you won’t judge or punish them for how they’re feeling.

Teach your child the importance of setting goals and developing a plan to meet that goal and complete that task.  Small projects are the best to start off with in the beginning.  Ensure that it’s an appropriate task for your child, and not too complex.  Don’t only give praise at the end of the project, but praise their accomplishments during the project as well.

Most importantly, tell your child «I love you» each and every day – many times throughout the day, in fact.  When they’ve behaved badly, remind yourself that it’s not them you don’t like, only their behavior. 

Tuck short, sweet notes in their lunchboxes or coat pockets, or even send them a card in the mail.  Soon, they’ll learn to say «I love you» just as easily and honestly in return. Work hard on these parenting abilities

Celebrate your Child’s Uniqueness

Just like a snowflake or a fingerprint, every child is unique in their own special way. Every child has a unique way of feeling, thinking, and interacting with others. Some children are shy, while others are outgoing; active while others are calm; fretful while others are easy-going. As a loving and nurturing parent, it’s your job to encourage them to embrace their uniqueness and celebrate their individual qualities. 

Allow your child to express themselves through their interests.  They may find a creative outlet in theatre, dancing or art, or they may be exceptionally talented in the sciences.  Encourage them to embrace what they like to do, what interests them, and what makes them happy.  Help them realize that they don’t need to worry about being ‘like everyone else.’

Teach your child to make positive choices, and praise them for good deeds, behaviors and positive traits they possess.  Encourage them to become actively involved in their community, and introduce them to activities that promote a sense of cooperation and accomplishment. 

Be firm yet fair when handing down discipline for misdeeds or misbehaviors, and make certain the rules and consequences for breaking the rules are clearly defined.  Show a cooperative, loving and united front with your spouse when it comes to discipline.

Accept and celebrate your child’s uniqueness. Remember that your child is an individual. Allow your child to have his or her own personal preferences and feelings, which may be different from your own.

And finally, encourage your child to be true to themselves by doing the same.  Show your child how to make positive choices with the choices you make, and that nobody is perfect and you too make mistakes.  Show your child that mistakes can be a great learning experience, and that they should not be ashamed or embarrassed about making them.  .

Chart your Child’s Accomplishments with a Chore Chart             

It can be very frustrating to ask your child over and over again to complete their chores without them ever getting done.  If this describes your house to a tee, consider designing a chore chart.

Chores might include taking out the garbage, doing the dishes, cleaning their room, yard work or putting laundry in the laundry room. Each chore has to be done just once or twice a week. Anything more is unrealistic. After your child completes each chore, they can put a check mark on the chore chart.

At the end of each week, it’s very inspiring for both parent and child to look at the chore chart and easily see that each designated job was completed.  Just like our ‘to do’ lists, your child will find great satisfaction in being able to check off each chore as it’s completed and take pride knowing they accomplished a set task or list of tasks. 

Once you’ve sat down with your child and discussed and designed a chore chart, it’s time to discuss the rewards for accomplishing each task listed.  Perhaps at your home you decide you will give a set sum for each task accomplished. 

If you should decide to grant your child some sort of monetary allowance, make sure it’s age appropriate and granted on a regular basis. A good rule of thumb is 50 cents per year of age.  So your 8 year old child would earn $4.00 per week if each chore on the list has been completed.  If it has not been, they do not receive their allowance.

This is a great opportunity for you to teach your children the value of both earning and saving money, and also giving back.  Perhaps the child can divide their allowance into thirds: 1/3 to spend, 1/3 to save, and 1/3 to use to help those less fortunate than themselves. 

You might also want to consider designing a ‘bank book’ for each portion of the allowance and tuck each into three separate coffee cans or money jars, and that way you and your child will be able to keep track of how much has been saved, how much has been spent, and how much of their allowance has gone to help someone else. 

Should you decide to use non-monetary incentives as chores payment, be sure you set clear parameters for your child.  Be sure they understand that two hours each weekend of their favorite video game or going to see a movie with mom or dad is only earned by completing the chore list successfully each week.  You might want to consider writing these on a slip of paper as ‘currency’ for the child to keep in their ‘privilege bank’ and they can cash it in with you when they’d like. 

Regardless of the method you choose, keep in mind this can be a valuable tool for both you and your child.  

Self Esteem is one of the most important and sometimes difficult parenting abilities to improve.

Chores Can Help your Child Learn about Teamwork and a Strong Work Ethic

Chores can help develop a sense of responsibility and self worth in your child.  It should be understood by all family members they are expected and necessary to a household running successfully and efficiently.  They can help create a sense of unity and family and is a great place for your child to learn about teamwork.  Parents should take special care to handle the delegation of chores to children so they don’t become a source of frustration or create arguments.

Allow your child to have an active say in the delegation of chores.  Give them choices.  We all have household chores that we don’t like to do, but if it’s a chore the child enjoys doing then there’s less likelihood it will create a battle in the end.  The child will most likely appreciate having the chance to be heard and having a choice.

It’s imperative that you set parameters early on for the successful completion of a chore.  They may not perform up to snuff when they first start performing the chore, but show them where improvement is needed and praise them for a strong effort. 

Also make sure the child understands there will be repercussions if they only put forth a minimal effort. Ensure the child understands the need for the chore’s effective and efficient completion. Set consequences for substandard completion as a team. 

Make sure they see that if they don’t perform their chores, it affects the other members of the team. Spouses must work together and be a strong example for their children by completing their own chores each day.  And don’t allow a child to undermine your authority by battling with you over a designated chore.  Stand your ground and don’t give in, and emphasize the consequence and negative effect an uncompleted chore has on the family. 

And keep an open mind when a child wants to discuss their thoughts or express their opinions about chores.  Make sure the conversation stays positive and on target.

Clear Expectations Make Discipline Easier

Sometimes it can be very challenging to communicate anything with your child.  Setting clear expectations regarding what’s acceptable behavior and what isn’t imperative to successfully teaching your child right from wrong.  If the parameters are muddled or the child learns that in one situation the rules hold true yet in another situation the same rule does not, it makes for confusion and frustration on both sides. 

Sit down with your child well in advance and line out the expectations and consequences of misbehaving or a misdeed.  Make it clear that in no uncertain terms is there any room for negotiation at the time of the infraction, and that should such a behavior occur you intend to be firm in your discipline. 

Rules regarding your child’s safety, health or well-being should have no room for negotiation when being set or enforced.  Other rules can be openly and honestly discussed with your child and an agreed upon action should be forged that both parents and child can agree upon.  If necessary, make a contract between parent and child.  Lay it all out in black and white, in language your child can clearly understand. 

For younger children, you might want to develop a good behavior chart within the contract, and for each week that goes by without any infractions being noted, a favorite or special activity might be earned.  The connection between good deeds and special time with mom and/or dad might be just the currency they understand.

But all children need to understand that disciplining them is your way of teaching them what’s acceptable behavior and what isn’t.  It may seem as though children fight rules and regulations, but they truly know that such parameters are meant for their well-being, health, safety, and enable them to grow into a mature person capable of making wise decisions.  

So clear expectations is a parenting abilities to work on.

Connect with Your Child but Don’t Overdo it

We all want to connect and be involved with our child.  Children of involved parents generally feel more confident, assured and have a higher level of self esteem.  They excel in school and do well in extracurricular activities and with their hobbies. 

But is there such a thing as too much involvement? It’s imperative when you’re becoming involved with your school-aged child’s activities and academics that you recognize the line of what being too involved can be. 

Remember, you’re becoming involved in your child’s life.  It’s important that you don’t intrude too much upon it.  Children need their space and privacy and they need to be able to develop their own skills, talents and abilities.  In our eagerness to help our child succeed, it’s tempting to want to step in and start doing things for them because you feel they are doing it incorrectly or inadequately.  But remember, you had to learn too, and this is their chance to learn on their own. 

Be there to encourage and support your child, and offer praise at a job well done.  But also remember to step back and allow your child to learn from their own mistakes, and to develop their own way of doing things. We all know from our own life experiences that there’s always more than just one way to do something, and just because your child is doing it differently than you would doesn’t make it wrong.  Who knows, it could present a terrific opportunity for you to learn from your child as well. 

In addition, try not to become too overbearing or nosy when it comes to their social life.  Be available for them should they need to talk and encourage them to share their troubles with you so you can help them sort through a problem.  But if they say they don’t want to talk about it or they just need some time to figure things out for themselves, respect that need by letting them know you’re available whenever they need you.  This is an important part of growing up and allowing a child to figure his own way through things is an integral part of that process. 

You will need to work hard to develop this parenting abilities.

Consistency is Key to Successful Discipline

Consistency is key to successfully teaching your child right from wrong when disciplining them.  It keeps small misdeeds and bad behaviors from later becoming bigger misdeeds and worse behaviors.  You have to stand firm and mean it when you say, «Turn off the television now»or «no dessert after dinner because you didn’t touch your dinner.»

Consistency teaches your child there are defined consequences for misdeeds and inappropriate or unacceptable actions or behaviors.   Inconsistency when disciplining makes you directly responsible for your children’s misbehavior and doesn’t teach them how to be responsible for their actions.

It’s also that each partner is consistent with the discipline.  If one parent is too strict and the other is too lenient, the child will key into that and try to manipulate the situation to his or her advantage.  Parents must agree on disciplinary action in advance and make a commitment to one another to be consistent in implementing and following through with the consequences.  This can be especially difficult if the child’s parents are separated or divorced.  Though you may not be together anymore, it’s imperative that you parent on common ground.

Openly and honestly discuss these parameters with your former spouse and your child in advance, so that if discipline is needed, the consequences of such misbehavior are well understood in advance. Any disagreements between parents should be discussed out of the child’s earshot.

Consistency is about being strong and standing firm, even when doing so is extremely difficult or exhausting.  It can sometimes be hard to come home after a hard day at work only to find a hard night of parenting in front of you.  Your child will consistently test the boundaries and ‘push the envelope’ with you to see if there’s any play in those consequences.  By standing firm you are showing there is not and that you expect them to do nothing less than take responsibility for their actions. 

No doubt this is one of the hardest parentig abilities to work with.

Constructing Your Child’s Healthy Sense of Self Esteem

Your child’s self esteem is their mental foundation. A self-assured child is confident, secure, happy, well-adjusted and successful. They can solve problems that come their way, and it thrives under a loving parent’s nurturing care.

What are some good ways to built self esteem in your child?

Most importantly, accept your child for who they are, and help them do the same. Teach your child that nobody is perfect, and that everyone makes mistakes. Show them how to learn and grow from their mistakes, and let them know that you also make mistakes.   Children with high self esteem are able to take lessons from mistakes and apply them down the road.  A child with low self esteem become frustrated and resort to self-depreciating behavior, such as calling themselves ‘stupid’ and vowing to ‘never try that again.’

Help your child discover their abilities and talents, and encourage outlets for them to build on and improve them.  Praise a child not only for improvements in abilities and skills, but also for the traits they naturally possess.

Encourage your child to make positive choices.  Open an honest dialog with your child and discuss the possibilities with them.  Children who learn skills for making positive choices when they are younger are well-prepared for the tougher choices they have to make when they are older.

Ensure that you spend lots of quality time with your child, at least once a week. Whether you are shooting baskets or going out to grab a hamburger, take time to talk and keep in touch.  If you find it difficult to squeeze in quality time during a hectic week, take the time to talk about things during the drive to school or while they are helping you put the groceries away.

If you liked this post about Parenting Abilites, we invite you to follow next articles of this subject on our Blog. The second part can be found here.

parenting abilities
Parenting Abilities

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