Raising a child to be a become a well-adjusted, responsible adult is not a job for the faint of heart.
There’s no such thing as the perfect parent, but there are skills the most effective parents employ to help their little ones grow into functioning members of society. The good news is that anyone can employ these parenting hacks at any time to sharpen up their game.
The bad news is I think your kid just painted the dog purple.
Provide a Positive Example
Children are always watching, and they are always listening. Parents who say, “Do as I say, not as I do,” aren’t nearly as effective as those who lead by example. The bottom line is, if you don’t want them to do it, you shouldn’t be doing it either.
I know that using polite words even when you’re angry, eating those vegetables when you’d rather have potato chips, or going for a bike ride when you’d rather veg out in front of the TV stinks, but it’s important to remember that your child is always watching. Modeling appropriate behaviors for her is an essential parenting skill.
Establish Clear Expectations
Parents have to be able to explain their expectations to their children. If your kids don’t know what you expect from them, they’ll never be able to meet those expectations. If you tell them to go clean their rooms, explain what a clean room looks like by saying, “Pick your clothes up off the floor, make your bed, shovel a path to the door.” They might think that picking one sock up off the floor means they cleaned the room when you have something else completely in mind.
Enforce Consequences Consistently
This is probably the most important thing. Effective parents don’t just threaten consequences, they always follow through. Knowing that their actions will have consequences will help kids learn to manage their behavior better.