Good Parenting: 5 Parenting Experts Share Their Best Tips

As you know our Summer Master Parenting Class is right around the corner. We have a fabulous line up of speakers. Here are some of their words of wisdom:

Aurelia Williams, July 9, 9-10pm EST

Here are some “Don’ts” that Aurelia recommends when talking to teens: DON’T Dictate

While you may have the wisdom of age and experience, don’t forget that an essential process along the journey to adulthood is choosing your own paths and learning to overcome mistakes. Be sure not to dictate what your child should or should not do.  If they come to you with a situation, be there to guide them through any difficult life choices, but resist any assumption that you ‘know best’.

In particular, avoid using patronizing language, such as saying anything along the lines of ‘When I was your age…’

If you do this you’ll sound like an annoying old nag; in which case, how will your advice sound relevant to them? This step can be hard for many parents and you may have to bite your tongue, but with some gentle guidance, your child just may rise to the occasion and surprise you with some great decisions.

Jane Nelsen, July 16, 9-10pm EST

Here are some of Jane Nelsen’s tips on how to handle back talk:

1. In a calm, respectful voice, tell your child, “If I have ever spoken to you that way, I apologize. I don’t want to hurt you or be hurt by you. Can we start over?”

2. Count to ten or take some other form of positive time-out so you don’t “backtalk” in reaction. Avoid comebacks such as, “You can’t talk to me that way young lady.”

3. Use the “back talk” as information (it could tell you that something is amiss) and deal with it after you have both calmed down. Look for places you have been turning issues into power struggles with your child.

4. Instead of focusing on the disrespect, focus on the feelings. Say something like, “You are obviously very upset right now. I know it upsets me when you talk that way. Let’s both take some time out to calm down. We can talk later when we feel better. I’d like to hear what you are upset about.

Amy Speidel, July 23, 9-10pm EST

Conscious Discipline encourages parents to use new and innovative ways to use language to better communicate with their kids.

One great tool is “Assigning Positive Intent.” This tool teaches parents that they should not always assume that the motivation behind their child’s behavior is a negative one. For example, Parents may think – “My child is not being nice to our new guest because they are rude!”

Instead the Conscious Discipline approach urges parents to look for the good in their child’s behavior instead of reacting negatively and assuming their child is misbehaving. Why? Because when we attribute negative motives to our children’s behavior it makes us angry and we can’t discipline effectively.

We are more likely to say: “You are being so rude. You need to act nicely to our guests!”

When we speak to our kids in that way we place them in a situation where their only recourse is to attack or defend themselves and exhibit more oppositional behavior.

To keep our discipline effective and nurture our relationships with our children we want to assign a positive motive to their behavior instead of a negative one.

Assigning Positive Intent – “You seem like you are having some trouble getting comfortable with our new guest. Even if you are uncomfortable it is important to at least say hello and offer them a drink.”

When we assign positive intent we show faith in our child’s innate goodness. We promote strong and loving interactions. Our children will not feel the need to oppose us. Parents are then free to direct the child kindly and firmly to use better behavior.

Howard Glasser, July 30, 9-10pm EST

Howard Glasser’s Nurtured Heart Approach, has an interesting take on misbehavior. Mr. Glasser asserts that we often spend more time and energy talking and attending to children even they are “misbehaving”. We do not acknowledge their positive or neutral behavior. Therefore we inadvertently reinforce their negative behavior.

He advocates using  “experiential recognition”. “You create for……the child’s benefit a positive picture of an event that is either presently unfolding or that has been completed in the recent past. And you reframe the moment in such a way that the child not only can digest it as a nutritious experience of success, but in a way that lets her perceive your excitement in connection with a positively valued behavior.”

The Nurtured Heart Approach even goes one step further and suggests using “proactive recognition”. “ Instead of waiting for children to break rules, you are now the ruthless opportunist who proactively fixates your attention, deliberately and determinedly, in even the smallest steps in the direction of success. To do this consciously find moments when nothing seems to be happening and capture those moments by acknowledging your child for not breaking the rules or pushing the limits in that given instant.”

Dr. G, August 6, 9-10pm EST

Deborah Gilboa’s favorite parenting tip:

Tell your kids the truth even when it’s hard. Sometimes that’s the truth that they can handle developmentally. But the key is don’t lie. It will come back to bite you.

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