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2/15/15blog post

6 Habits to quit to become a better parent

Our lives are more the reflection of routine habits rather than mindful actions. Here are six habits to quit doing to become a better parent.

  1. Skipping family meals. You’re busy at work and overwhelmed with numerous other responsibilities. I get it. However, family meals are less about food and more about connecting and communicating. Make it a priority at least four days a week. You won’t get credit for a family meal if the television is blaring or people stay connected to their smart phones and iPads.
  2. Nagging. Kids hate your incessant criticism over the most minor of issues. You know it doesn’t work so stop doing it. Kids tune you out and stop listening. You get frustrated and nag more. Instead, focus on a few things that really matter with your kids---moral values, relationships, and a strong work ethic. Balance one negative comment with three genuine comments about their good behaviors.
  3. Making your children your highest priority. Your children want to go to the mall and see a movie. You’d rather stay home and watch television and spend some time with your spouse. Say this to your kids. “Guys, I love you, but right now spending time with your dad and getting some rest is more important than you seeing a movie.” You won’t destroy their self-concept. Rather, you’ll be teaching them a valuable lesson about their importance in the universe.
  4. Being inconsistent in your consequences. You beg, yell and threaten your kids with punishment for misbehavior. They eventually comply and you do nothing. You’ve just taught your kids that you cannot be trusted to mean what you say. Your credibility is lost. Prepare yourself for endless battles over many years. The rule is simple, but doing it isn’t always easy. Never threaten a punishment unless you are able and willing to follow through. If you acquire that one habit, I promise you that 50 percent of your child management problems will go away within a few weeks!
  5. Preaching rather than listening. Kids talk to parents who listen. Don’t interrupt, offer advice, challenge misperceptions or express outrage. Ask questions and express support. Avoid the temptation to solve your child’s problem. Offer suggestions only if asked.
  6. Praising your child too much. You love your children and you want them to know how great they are. Praise in moderation is good for kids. When done excessively, it creates an inflated sense of self-worth and a dependency on the approval of others.