Hot Tips for Happy Parenting

By Larissa Dann

  • Notice the good. Remark on what you like about your child, or when you see them do something positive.  COMMENT!  Let them know! Say six positives for every negative. “wow – look what you’ve done”; “I really appreciate your help”; “thank you”
  • Understand what is happening INSIDE YOU.  Don’t blame your child for the way you feel. 
  • RESPOND, rather than REACT.  STOP, THINK, and then PARENT!
  • Work together to build a positive RELATIONSHIP.   When you ‘discipline’ your child, it is useful to think about the way your relationship with your child will be affected.  How will your child feel about you?  Will this lead to resentment or fear, rather than respect?
  • Use lots of preventive messages, to help stop problems before they start.  Let them know your plans in advance.  For example, say “we have to leave before your TV program is finished, so I would appreciate the TV being turned off when I ask”. 
  • Understand developmental stages, so you have realistic expectations.
  • Enjoy your children.  Have fun with them – play at their level.
  • Remember - your children are people, and have feelings and problems, too.

Your Child is Unhappy

  • recognise the cues and clues (often ‘naughty’ behaviour is simply a signal that things aren’t going well for your child)
  • there is a REASON for them to be unhappy –  for example, they may need your attention, or something happened at school, or their basic needs (food, water, rest, physical etc) have not been met.
  • LISTEN to your children, so they can talk about their reason, and you can understand their reason.  “you’re feeling sad because your toy won’t work”.  Work with them so they can find a solution to their problem.

You are Unhappy

  • DON’T blame or put down your child with “you” messages.  Examples of ‘you’ messages are: “you’re just being naughty”; “you’ve been told 100 times not to” “you’re old enough to know better”.  Think about how these messages affect your child.
  • Instead, use I-messages:   “when .(describe child’s behaviour) . . I feel . . . because .(describe how you have been affected) . . “  eg “when I see the toys on the floor, I feel concerned that I might step on them and hurt myself”.
  • find another word for “angry”.  What feeling is underneath your anger?
  • remember to LISTEN to your child if they get upset after your I-message.

You and your Child are Both Unhappy

  • find out the reason your child is unhappy
  • find out the reason you are unhappy
  • BOTH SOLVE THE PROBLEM TOGETHER.  “what can we do so that we’re both happy?”