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A great thing about the book Parenting the Strong Willed Child is that it has a how-to chapter to give parentse ideas on how to integrate the skills they have outlined in the book. They have some great tips I wanted to highlight:
- Be Consistent: This is probably the number one piece of advice offered in any parenting book. No matter what you are doing, do it consistently if you want to see results. I won’t ramble on about consistency; I have enough posts about it. I just wanted to point out that this book is another one that says to be consistent.
- Give Yourself Some Slack: While the authors say to be consistent, they also tell the parent to be easy on themselves. They point out that you will make mistakes. You will have times of inconsistency. Don’t beat yourself up over it. I must also take this opportunity to point out that if you, and adult with much life experience and knowledge, will have times you mess up, so will your child. Despite your best efforts, your child will not be perfect. Your child will make mistakes, just like you do.
- Spend Time With Child: It is important to spend time with your child. I don’t care how “strong-willed” your child is, this is important and it will make a difference in behavior and happiness. I have several posts on spending time with children. Spending Time With Baby/Child talks about the balance between enough time and too much. I love a quote I have that essentially says quality time is a direct function of quantity time. That means if you want quality time with your child, you must also have quantity. That is a topic for a whole other post, so I will leave you to think that over for a while. One-On-One Outings talks about spending time with your child one on one, as the title alludes to ;). On my latest date with Brayden, we had so many great conversations. He asked questions like, “When I die, will I still have all of my same toys in Heaven?” and “Why did Heavenly Father put stop signs on buses?” He just asked great questions that led to great conversations. These are moments that work as teaching opportunities because the child wants to know. It isn’t a lecture. These are things he doesn’t ask when Kaitlyn is around; he is too busy laughing his little head off.
- Have Fun With Child: When you are with your child, have real fun with your child. Be interractive. Try to let loose and be a kid again. This will strengthen your relationship, which makes discipline easier on both ends. My little sister is so great at this skill. Kids love her and they always have. I believe it is in large part because she always has fun with the child. She is never checking her watch. She has a great imagination and has fun with kid games. She has never been one to say, “That game is so childish”–even as a “too cool” teenager. Children naturally are drawn to her. Kids can tell who the fun adult is 🙂 Now, of course as a parent there are other things you have to do in life. Not every minute of every day is fun and games (do you ever miss childhood?). But the time you take to spend with your children can be fun and games.
- Let Child Help: Let your child help with chores. Is this hard? Yes. Does it take more time to do things? Yes. I have a post on this topic, Creating A Good Helper, that outlines this idea with benefits of doing so. This book also stresses the importance for building a relationship. I remember in college learning that if you want to create a situation where conversation flows naturally and freely, put a task between you and the other person. Wash dishes. Work on a car. Go for a walk. When you allow your child to help you with chores, you create a more comfortable situation for good conversation.
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