1. Become involved in your child’s life. You can do this by:
- Joining their school PTA
- Signing up to be a coach for their team
- Having a date night with them
- Asking them about their day each and every day
- Emailing their teachers and community supporters
- Becoming friends with them on Facebook and other social media
2. Observe your child’s behavior by always remaining involved. When you notice a positive or negative change, be the first to ask (why?)…
Ask questions each and every day. (Questions mean that you care)
- Anything crazy happen to day? I really want to hear an great story.
- What was the best part of your day?
- What was the worst part of your day?
- If you could tell me one thing that really made your day awesome, what would it be?
Be creative when asking questions, it will demonstrate to your child that you are truly involved. When kids get the same questions (as those listed below) they learn to anticipate and to answer the same way.
Below are some of the questions that often do not create involvement and connection with your child:
- Did you have a good day?
- How was your day?
- Was school good today?
3. Be your child’s role model. No one should know your child better than you. Remember that there are always others ready to provide your child with guidance and act as a role model some are positive and others are negative but none will look out for them as you would.
There are so many ways to create connection and involvement in your child’s life. Learn to pay attention to the activities that your child is included in while searching for opportunities to connect. The great thing about following your child’s footsteps is that you are joining them in any activity in which they are already interested in. Its okay if you are not right away knowledgeable for the activity or sport. Utilize the internet or other parents for support. Ask questions about the activity so that your child can come to you for support. In addition, you can be their median to resources versus your child bypassing you.
Below are a few strategies to get you started in becoming your child’s role model:
- Become a coach or supportive resource for them on the field or at home by increasing your knowledge and involvement.
- Create connections with mentors that an support your child. Connect your child with the mentors.
- Ask as many questions as you can (or at least until your child tells you to stop).
4. Be a fun parent.
5. Do not engage in parent battles in front of your child. Practice using code words such as “let’s get coffee” when you and your spouse need to debate over a matter. Remember you son or daughter is observant and fully aware of what goes on, so when you need to battle something out make sure that it is not visible or heard.
6. Provide your children with the utmost attention at every age. It honestly does not matter 5, 12 or 50 years of age. Always provide them with attention.
Often parents may feel that their child is pushing them away and wanting to be more independent. To you, as the parent, you may feel that your 13 or 14 year old child is not communicating with you because they want their own space. Or because they wan to be more adult like – or mature.
The core is consistent. Your child is yearning to be more independent. However, they are not trying to push you away or create space.
I want to ask a favor from you, (parents).
Instead of giving your child space, ask questions. The questions below are set to help parents understand their child’s definition of “being independent” while further creating awareness on the child’s behaviors that are associated with wanting to be independent.
- Can you tell me your definition of being independent?
- What does are relationship look like now that you are more independent?
- What should I expect from you, as far as behaviors or things that you do in the home or out of the home?
- Lets create a deal as far as what you want from being independent and the rules I have as your parent. I really want to meet you at a place that makes us both feel accepted and happy with each other.
7. Present yourself as equal parents. Do not step on your spouse to feel empowered it will only lead to a negative reaction from your child and most likely your spouse.
Have you ever spent time communicating with your spouse on the similarities and differences in your parenting styles. A conversation such as that, will help you and your spouse create understanding around each others parenting styles and overall goals for your kids.
The great or better yet, awesome, benefit to doing this is that about a million future arguments will be avoided. Take about 30 minutes to 1 hour to communicate with your spouse. Make it fun and go on a date!
Common questions to ask your spouse in order to create equal parenting:
- What is your parenting style for our kids?
- What are your behavioral goals for our kids?
- What are your academic goals for our kids?
- Is your parenting style the same as your parents? If not, how did you develop it?
- What are some things you do not like about my parenting style?
- What are some things you do like about my parenting style?
8. Create family games nights or activities.
- Movie night
- Game night
- Board game
- Family walk around the neighborhood
9. Identify realistic consequences and rewards that include your child in the decision making process
10. Never give up