Making Positive Changes in Your Parenting Style

It's a new year, the time for well intentioned resolutions. I want to share with you some things that really have a chance of making a difference. Parenting is one of those areas that can always use some new approaches to old problems. But instead of 'resolving' something general, like 'This year I will be a better parent' be specific and you will have better results.

I have found that most parents deal with common issues over and over again without any real success at finding a way to resolve the issue once and for all. Also, you want to be realistic in what you can tackle. It's okay to choose just one thing to change. There is no law that says you can't make another commitment in March when you get the first one handled.

To start, make a list of specific issues you would actually like to resolve once and for all. Don't take on the biggest challenge right away. You need to have some success with something small first.

One of the biggest changes you can make is to focus on the positive in what you say and do. Now, this can be tough in the moment but with a little practice you will find that a positive response will become your first one. Let's take a look at some examples.

1. You are busy in the kitchen. Kids are are "at each other" and generally being annoying. One of them hops up on the couch and starts jumping. (a no-no). You are tempted to say, '_________ how many times have I told you to stop jumping on the couch…now get off and find something else to do'. Try this instead. Stop what you are doing and walk over and say in a calm voice, 'Is that something you should be doing?'

2. You need some help bringing groceries into the kitchen from the car. Teens are slouched on the couch with iPods, iPhones or watching TV. You are tempted to say, '__________ you have been on that phone all afternoon can't you see I need some help' Try this instead. Be respectful by understanding that you are interrupting something your teen is doing (even if you don't agree with it). Leave all the bags in the car, walk up to your teen and say in a calm voice. 'Excuse me for interrupting but I could really use your help. I have 7 bags of groceries in the car, would you please finish what you are doing and bring them in so I can cook dinner?'

3. All your threats to your pre-schooler about staying with you while you walk to the park are not working. You find yourself getting more and more irritated. You are concerned about him running into the street, dawdling, and generally ignoring your commands. Rather than continue to repeat yourself say this, "Since we are walking to the park and I want you to be safe - please hold my hand'.

I know what you are thinking…really? A couple of things to be aware of. If your family atmosphere is combative, uncooperative or competitive you may have some other work to do to have a more cooperative family atmosphere. And, that takes some time. Our parenting classes are designed to help families create an environment of respect, kindness and cooperation. It can help you make faster progress check them out!

Author: Phyllis Grannis