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Pouting closes off communication channels between parent and child.

Dear Pouting Parent,

Did you know that pouting closes off communication?

Pouting says I refuse to be close.

Pouting is a form of anger.

Parent, you can’t fix the problem when you pout.

It’s okay to be quiet and back off from your child when you’re ready to chew a nail because of his or her behavior. At the same time, answer your child when she tries to talk to you. If she tries to make small talk, understand that it is her way of saying, “Let’s be friends” and her attempt to get back in your good graces.

At some point, discuss her infraction and what you would like to have happen differently in the future. For example, you might say, “I’m very disappointed in the way you acted when your friends were over. As an apology and a gesture of good will, I’d like you to take out the trash and shred that stack of papers in my office. Once you do these chores, I’ll put away my bad feelings, and we can be friends again.”

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“Be willing to assist your child, but be careful not to over assist or to take over.”¬†

After reading this quote, think back to when you gave your child too much help– coloring his pictures, cleaning his room, typing his papers, actually doing her science project.

Now think about the present. Are you rescuing too much? Do you need to back off some, and if so, how will you do this?

 

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Spend time if you want a happy child.
Family Time Makes for Happy Children

Are your children happy?

Even though happiness is genetically linked, only about 50 percent of happiness is driven by genes. The other 50 percent is driven by what happens to a child on a daily basis.

One of the most important contributors to a child’s happiness is doing things as a family. Nothing feels so special and good as when a family goes biking or hiking or spends part of the day at the zoo.

I know one family who has designated Wednesday nights as family night. This is the night nothing interferes. They have dinner and then play board games. Even the 17-year old participates. “Once you set a night and stick to it month after month, year after year, it becomes the expectation,” says the mother, “and our children look forward to it.”

Another happiness ingredient is working together. Spending four hours cleaning the backyard, the basement, and the house each Saturday morning, encourages a feeling of camaraderie and a sense of being part of the team. We’re a family. We’re in this together. “One for all and all for one.”

Research shows that children tend to be happier when parents set expectations and rules. Children do better when they have a set bedtime and when they are expected to do certain chores each week, pick up after themselves, control their language, and show respect for other family members. When parents have expectations, it conveys to a child that he has worth. And meeting these expectations helps a child feel more in control of his own destiny.

Feeling happy and content is also a by-product of feeling loved. Pats on the back from parents and “I love yous” sprinkled throughout the week are essential. And applause for a job well done recognizes a child’s accomplishments.

Happiness involves living in the present. Everyday should be a time to build family relationships. This means: “Let’s talk as we do dishes.” “Let’s put on a CD and dance.” “Let’s watch a movie and enjoy each other’s company.” Too often parents put happiness till later, saying, “Next weekend when go to your cousins…” or when we go on vacation….”

Children feel happier if they have God in their life. God is someone to talk to when they feel anxious and stressed. Or when no matter how good they try to be, they can’t change something in their lives.

Children are happier if family members get along and are respectful of each other. This means no screaming matches, no name-calling, no constant criticisms. Nor should a parent use a child as a confidante, telling him the other parent is not okay. It also means an older or younger sibling is not allowed to tyrannize the family.

If you want to raise a happy child, ask yourself if you are following these guidelines. And if you’re lacking in some areas, now’s the time to make changes. Most parents want to raise and live with a happy child. Following these guidelines, spells success.

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Parents: Stop the arguing, lecturing and explaining yourself over and over. Such behaviors on your part are non-helpful and non-productive.

If your child is a preschooler, avoid eye contact. In other words, don’t look at her. Instead, give her a nice pat on the shoulder or back. If you’re sitting, you can even lay her over your lap and give her a backrub. This gives attention without interrupting your telephone conversation.

If your child is older and keeps interrupting, simply turn your back. Don’t stop your conversation and have a conversation with her. Children need to learn to wait, be patient, and to respect others.

Suppose your child is having a “bad hair” day. You can hear her in the bathroom stamping and whining and saying she hates her hair. In this instance, do nothing. Don’t go in and suggest that her hair looks fine, or how she might wear it differently. It’s her problem; do not make it yours.

What if you ask your child to do something, such as carry in the groceries, and he refuses? If you don’t have anything that needs refrigerating, let the groceries sit. Tell him you expect him to bring them in before he eats, goes out to play or watches television. Then let it drop. It won’t be long before he brings in the groceries. Once they’re in the house, thank him and inform him that the next time he refuses to do something, there will be a consequence. Don’t get into a lecture, simply lay it out matter-of-factly.

It’s rare to find a child who doesn’t shout, “I hate you” when he’s not getting his way. When he delivers this message, don’t tell him, “You’ll be sorry,” or “I don’t like you so much either.” Simply walk away. Disengage. When he calms down, he’ll most likely backpedal and tell you he’s sorry. If he doesn’t, you should bring the issue up by saying, “The next time you don’t get your way or you’re upset with me, I except you to control yourself and not yell that you hate me.”

If your child asks you to drive her to the mall, and you don’t want her to go to the mall, or it doesn’t fit with your time schedule, tell her, “No, not today.” If she presses, and she probably will, tell her no again. If she tries to engage you in a discussion regarding why not, you might choose to give her your reasons, but don’t get into a long discussion or a shouting match. Repeat firmly your original stance, “I’m not willing to drive you to the mall.” Then walk away.

Talk to any parents and you’ll hear them moan and groan about their child’s messy room. Some parents have dealt with this issue by stating, “As long as the mess stays on her side of the door, I can live with it.” Other parents believe it is their right and responsibility to expect some semblance of order.

If you’re part of the latter group, you do have leverage. Such statements as “no television or computer until you clean your room,” “no rollerblading with your friends until you clean your room,” and “no car until you clean your room ” do bring results.

When your child hits you with that famous moan, “But, it’s not fair,” meaning it’s not fair that he has to empty the dishwasher instead of his sister, or that he has a curfew, don’t get into a debate about who does what or what his friends’ parents think. Say nothing. Or say, “We’re not talking fairness. Empty the dishwasher, Bobby.” Or, “We still expect you home by 11:30.”

Arguing or lecturing or explaining is not necessary with these issues. Be firm, keep your responses short and simple, and keep your temper out of it.

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I decided to write my column about you today. So sit back, and I hope you enjoy because I’m going to talk about how great you are.

I think my earliest memory of you, Mom, was when you slipped on the ice on the front steps and couldn’t get up. I was three, and you had me go to a neighbor’s house to get help. It was you and me in that little house; Dad was away in the war. I remember loving you so hard.

I remember the day you enrolled me in kindergarten, and I got sick, and you carried me four blocks because I couldn’t walk. You were so worried.

Remember when I would come home for lunch when I was in grade school, and we’d sit at the table and eat soup? We’d listen to Rex Davis and the News and then that radio soap opera that started with “Can a girl from a small mining town in West Virginia?” I loved coming home for lunch and being with you.

I remember, too, that every day about four o’clock you’d go wash up and put on make-up because Dad was coming home. I used to secretly admire you as I watched you put on your lipstick. You were so pretty. You still are beautiful, Mom.

I remember one night I was not a very good girl, and you told me that when the ice cream man came, I was not going to get an ice cream. I was sure you were going to change your mind. You went out to that little truck and got everyone but me an ice cream. I was so sad when you didn’t get me one. I knew then I better behave. Thanks, Mom, for having the courage to discipline me.

I remember all the times you took me to swim practice and all the malts we drank afterwards. Mom, do you know how many fat grams are in those malts? They were sure good, weren’t they?

Remember all the meals you prepared? Pork chops with mashed potatoes and applesauce and peas. Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, white gravy, spinach, beets, and salad. And pie for dessert. And when you made liver for Dad, you made us girls bacon because we couldn’t get the liver down.

Remember how I used to read that Betty Crocker cookbook and cook all summer long? You ate everything I made, even my first cherry pie when you had to tear the crust because it was so tough. You were my friend.

Remember when I had our son John? I couldn’t get him to sleep for anything, and you’d come over and rock him, and he’d go to sleep. That’s when I realized experience was everything.

I remember when I started writing my newspaper column years ago. Anna Mary was a baby. If I got writer’s block, you’d come over and play with her or take her for a walk so I could get it together.

I remember, too, all the times you babysat John and Paul and all the swimming outings and fishing trips you took them on. And how you’d save your money for Christmas to be able to give everyone a special gift.

Mom, you have given me so much. You taught me to say “please” and “thank you” and “I’m sorry.” You taught me to give hugs and freely say “I love you.” You gave me the gift of liking to work. You gave me a belief in God and a religion and you taught me to pray. You gave me the courage to try new things and be adventurous. You gave me the love of cooking and eating and having family gatherings. You taught me how to take care of others and to be responsible. You taught me to smile and laugh and enjoy life and make each day count. You are a wonderful wife, a sweet grandma, a special human being and my mom. I love you!

¬†Doris Wild Helmering, “Mother of Reason”

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“When your child succeeds at something, recognize her success as her success.”

 

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“Helping your child find a passion — skateboarding, reading, drawing, ping-pong- almost always guarantees future success.”

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