16 Tools for effective parents (part 1)

Being the parent of a child between ages 10 and 14 is no easy task! Parents, as well as the children themselves, must get used to the youth’s rapidly changing bodies, mood swings, growing independence,and challenges to authority. No one trick or technique will work for every parent or with every young person.This fact sheet offers ideas to (a) help build positive relations between parents and youth, and to (b) deal with problems when they arise.

Build a positive relationship

1. Listen for feelings. When your child comes to you with a problem or when he or she expresses strong feelings, it helps to say something like, “Sounds like you’re feeling…” It helps him or her to know that you are trying to understand.

Example: Your son comes home after school and says, “The teacher yelled at me today.” You might say, “Sounds like you were embarrassed.”

2. Remember preteen and teen development. Your child is going through many changes. Growing independence and challenges to authority are normal. At this age, most youth want to be independent, spend more time with friends, and more time by themselves. Sassing and back talk are normal even though you will probably want to let your child know that it is unacceptable.

Example: If it bothers you that your child doesn’t want to spend as much time with you, remember that this is normal and healthy. Occasionally, schedule time for you and your child, or the whole family, to have fun together.

3. Notice good behavior. Make praise specific and frequent. Young people learn better from positive actions (encouragement and extra privileges) than from negative ones (punishment or losing privileges).

Example: If your child does a good job mowing the lawn, you might say, “The lawn looks really good.You trimmed around the trees and put the mower away. Thanks for doing such a good job.”

4. Give a reward. Use special privileges and one-on-one time to reward good behavior.

Example: If your son has argued over chores in the past, but this week follows through and gets everything done, you might let him stay up later on the weekend, have a friend over, or take a trip with you for ice cream or a soda.

5. Plan time for family fun. Time spent doing fun things together helps build a reserve of good feelings that can help you get through hard times. Let your child help plan family events and outings.

Example: If you are planning a vacation, let your child order brochures and help decide where to stop and what to see.

Continue to part 2…

Source : Kimberly Greder (Iowa state University) from Positive Discipline A-Z: 1,001 Solutions to everyday Parenting Problems by J. Nelsen, L. Lott and H.S. Glenn