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Parents and Preschoolers: Stop Fighting Over Choices!

Do you and your child fight over choices? Does your child scream and do you grow weary? If this is happening in your home, embrace it as an opportunity. No, I'm not nuts.

Listen, you are at an important cross point. Either you are the parent, reasonable, kind, and firm. Or your child is the parent and she is training you.

"I don't want to break her spirit," you say. Neither do I. So what does this mean for you?

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Is anyone in the family modeling this unwanted behavior?

    If so, ask that person to change.

  2. How have I handled this in the past?
  3. What worked best?

    The answers to these questions could help you decide what to do. If you handled choices in a way that turned out well for you and your child, you might want to repeat that behavior.

To give your child 2 choices without giving up being the parent ask questions like these:

  1. Do you want to wear your blue outfit or your pink outfit?
  2. Do you want to dress yourself or would you like some help?
  3. Do you want to brush your teeth after dinner or before bedtime?
  4. Do you want to take your nap after lunch or after a story?

Questions like these help your child save face because even kids have pride. These questions don't break your child's spirit. They put you in charge. They give your child a little power too.

What's more, if you are consistent, reasonable, and kind, your child is more likely to co-operate. Finally, stay away from arguing and talking too much. If you argue, your child wins. If you talk too much, your child won't listen.

Help your child save face. Encourage your child to choose between 2 choices. Stay in charge and be the parent. You can do it. I know you can.

Your Personal Invitation:

How do you help your child overcome screaming matches about choices? Please leave a suggestion, question, or comment at Jean Tracy's Email or click on Comments below.

Subscribe to Jean Tracy's Free Parenting Newsletter at www.KidsDiscuss.com and receive 80 fun activities to share with your kids.

Subscribe to this parenting blog at http://ParentingSkillsBlog.typepad.com and receive fresh tips with each post.

 


Character Building: Helping Your Angry Child

Do you know what's it like to live with an angry child? If so, do you ever wonder why your child is angry? Inside you'll find a few questions and a few suggestions.

"Holding on to anger, resentment and hurt only gives you tense muscles, a headache and a sore jaw from clenching your teeth. Forgiveness gives you back the laughter and the lightness in your life."
~Joan Lunden

Character Building Questions for Parents:

  1. The first question I ask parents is, "Who is modeling anger for your child?" Whoever it might be, tell them to change.
  2. The second question to ask parents is, "What's increasing your child's tendency toward anger? Could it be violent programs, games, divorce or some other major difficulty?
  3. The third question to ask is, "Are you willing to help your child?"

In my 22 years as a child and family counselor, some parents didn't want to be involved. They wanted me to change the child. When it comes to helping kids, parents need to be involved. They need to become the lifelong counselors for their own children. The counselor can teach them how.

Character Building Suggestions:

Discuss the anger problem and solutions at Family Meetings. Consider picking up my book, The Family Meeting Diary. You learn how to hold family meetings that bond members together and solve family problems.

Use Time Out. This published article, Parenting Activity: Use These 3 Time Out Twists gives you my special Time Out Method.

Use Positive Affirmations. This published article, Raising Kids with Non-Violent Behavior: 3 Affirmations That Build Character in Kids, includes several tips on how to help the angry child.

Character Building Conclusion:

Help your child let go of anger, tense muscles, headaches, sore jaws. Counsel your child through family meetings, time out, and affirmations. If you do, you may notice laughter and lightness in her life. You can do it. I know you can.

Your Personal Invitation:

How do you help your child overcome anger? Please leave a suggestion, question, or comment at Jean Tracy's Email or click on Comments below.

Subscribe to Jean Tracy's Free Parenting Newsletter at www.KidsDiscuss.com and receive 80 fun activities to share with your kids.


Help! How Can I Build Character in My Tattletale?

Character and tattletale kids are like a lion and a weasel wrestling in a gunny sack. Somehow they don't fit together. Just pretend for a moment that you could get your child to stop from tattling on brothers, sisters, friends, and even your spouse. How would you do it? Inside you'll find 4 questions to consider and a few tips.

4 Character Building Questions:

  1. What positives is my child getting from tattling?
  2. Is he getting attention?
  3. Is he getting power?
  4. Is he getting revenge?

Attention, power, and revenge are 3 major reasons children misbehave. Tattling is misbehaving. One of its common intentions is to get others in trouble. But why would your lovely child want to get anyone in trouble? I bet you'll notice the answer usually goes back to wanting attention, power, or revenge.

Character Building Tips:

  1. Observe – Watch your child. When you allow yourself to take the time to observe, you'll understand why he's tattling.
  2. Ask – How can my child get attention without tattling?
  3. Motivate – Frequently give your child honest praise like, "Kyle, you could have told me your sister was talking with her mouth full but you didn't. I'm pleased that you kept it to yourself."
  4. Discuss – Talk about the effect that tattling has on others. "Jessica, how do you like kids to tattle on you? How do you think others feel when you tell on them? What is the difference between tattling and sharing something really important?"
  5. Read – Ask your local librarian for some children's stories that deal with tattling. Read and discuss those stories together.

Character and the Tattletale Conclusion:

Help your child get out of the gunny sack. Help him develop the heart of a lion and stop wrestling with his desire for attention, revenge, or power by tattling. Praise him for sharing what's important and for keeping silent about what isn't. If you do, he'll become a person of character and kids will like him better too.

Your Personal Invitation:

How do you stop your child from tattling? Please leave a suggestion, question, or comment at Jean Tracy's Email or click on Comments below.

Subscribe to Jean Tracy's Free Parenting Newsletter at www.KidsDiscuss.com and receive 80 fun activities to share with your kids.