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Tips for Tots: Parents set rules, enforce them

by Anne A. McGrady

As parents and sometimes working parents, some things are harder about raising children than other issues. For most of us, discipline can be the most difficult part of being a parent and unfortunately the part we do not enjoy.

Here are some tips smart parents may use to assist in setting rules for their children and then enforcing or trying to enforce them.

• As a parent, give yourself time to adjust to returning to your environment and do not make decisions about discipline when you first walk through the door after a day of work. This is a time to take a deep breath and do not overreact.

• Parents stop and give themselves time to think before they act. This thinking time — we hope parents give themselves time to think before they set punishment and rules for their child.

• Smart parents listen, listen, very little talking but listening. Children then understand that listening is important to what is said. Also, being resentful doesn’t exit because their feelings and thoughts are considered.

• Clear limits are set. Working parents need to be clear, concise and have very definite rules in which children understand and are clear from the beginning.

• Rules and consequences are explained and the consequences for breaking them are clearly understood. No threats, clear confirmation ahead of time as to what happens if rules are broken. No surprises.

• Being decisive. At all times to remember the rules and who is the parent and who is the child.

• Keep things in perspective. Remember children make mistakes and can be disobedient. Smart parents set a few rules and if rules are broken then consequences may occur.

• Pick your issues. Parents do not make rules they cannot enforce.

• Being consistent. No parent is 100% of the time consistent. Try to be.

• Offer alternatives. Parents need to give children choices and allow them to make decisions even at an early age.

• Pick your issues. Making rules only if they can be enforced.

• Reward good behavior. Parents have to punish our children from time to time. Also for good behavior, use praise and reward.

Above all, remember all parents make mistakes, do not dwell on the past. Pick up from where you are and have a fun, wonderful life with your great children. Have fun!