As a parent, raising kids, I know how important it is to have a good relationship with your child or teenager. In order to maintain this relationship, it is easy for parents to make parenting mistakes that will show up in the long run. Some of these mistakes would include being their friend instead of following through with your role as a parent, buying them things to make them happy, and trying too hard to be cool.
Here are 6 positive parenting solutions from Thomas, creator of the Creating Champions for Life philosophy, to help you to make raising kids more fun and to build a stronger relationship with your older child or teenager.
- Kid's Brain vs. Parent's Brain – You can think like a kid but they can't think like an adult, yet. Children and teenagers are extremely intelligent but they do not have the ability of abstract thinking. For instance, asking your child, “What do you want for supper tonight?” will set them up for failure if you are thinking they will ask for something nutritious.
- Parents Make Decisions, Children Make Choices – Always let your child make parent approved decisions by offering them 3 choices. You can include them in the decision for supper by offering, “Would you like to have peas, corn or carrots for supper tonight?” This way your child or teenager feels respected but you actually made the decision.
- Create the Right Environment – Just trying to be your child's friend will backfire on you. Create an environment where your expectations are known to your child or teenager and you know what is important to your child. When you both know how to work as a team, by you each knowing what is important to the other, creating a great relationship is easy to do. It is possible for your child to think of you as a best friend, the leader or their personal super hero!
- Making the Transition – There will be many stages throughout raising kids where you will need to make the transition of doing less for them and accepting them for who they are more. Accepting how they dress, how they style their hair, and who they hang out with will allow your child to develop their independence with more personal self-confidence.
- Guiding behavior vs. punishment – It is easy to see when you don't prefer something, like a bad hair style or a friend you don't respect. Instead of focusing any attention on what you don't like, find something that you do appreciate and reward what they did. Tell them what their level of effort can earn. What reward, which is important for them, will they earn when they follow your lead?
- Know your role as a parent – Your child wants, needs and chooses to have a parent to keep the structure with integrity. This means you stick to what you mean when you set your expectations. Make sure your child knows exactly what your expectations are, in their language. Always find a way to empower your child through showing them what to do, and then encouraging them to do it, all the way to becoming a Champion for Life.