These tips have been written for use in parish bulletins, so that parents might find little nuggets that will help them as they engage in the important role of parent. The hope is that those reading the tips will find information to assist them in small and tangible ways and in a way that will positively influence the love they share with their families.
Tip # 1– Stop for a moment and ask yourself, “What do I want my child’s and my relationship to be?” If you want to be close to your children there are ways to create a strong bond. Are you spending time each day talking, do you do fun things together, do you pray together? If you do these three things with your child, a solid bond will develop between you, no matter the age of your child.
Tip # 2 – Learn To Listen
Good communication is the essential ingredient in all healthy relationships. If we want to know our children and make them feel important, we need to listen to them attentively. During conversation be sure to look at your child and make eye contact, be aware of the power of your body language and listen with respect to their ideas and opinions. In conversation make the rule ‘dialogue, not lecture’ your motto!
Tip # 3 – Accentuate the Positive
Compliments and encouragement can go a long way towards changing poor behaviours and building self-esteem. Accentuate positive behaviours by praising children of any age when they undertake appropriate actions. By simply letting children know we’ve noticed their good behaviours, we can have a direct effect on the number of times they undertake these actions. “Thank you for...”, or “Good for you for ....”, are great starts in creating a positive environment in your children’s lives.
Tip # 4 – Car Time Can Be Quality Time!
Make use of the time you will spend with your children in the car by becoming a listener instead of a questioner. Refrain from asking questions about whether chores etc. have been done and let your children take the lead in conversations. If they are quiet, give them some time, you may be surprised at what issues or concerns will be raised. You can also ask one leading question and see where it goes, such as: “Have you got any questions about life that are on your mind?” or “Is there something you’d like to share with me if I promise not to yell?” - and then make sure you don’t!