Sunday, January 28, 2018

Have You Considered Parenting Time Limits?

Jennifer is a 30-year-old mother. Her daughter Chelsea is three. Jennifer has about 13 years left to help Chelsea get ready for adulthood--that's if you believe 16-year-olds will listed to parental guidance!

Scott has a 12-year-old son, Micah. Scott has about 4 years until Micah reaches age 16.

Sure, parents can continue to advise their children into the adult years. After all, in western cultures, adolescence seems to go into the early 20s.

Parenting has a time limit

When you consider the time available to help children become mature, responsible adults, parents need to decide on their priorities. I'm not saying parents ought to cut back on fun and games. I am saying that if you want your children to learn specific values, atitudes, and skills, then plan to do most of that teaching during childhood and early adolescence.

When children enter the teen years, the parent-child relationshp changes. At some point, children begin teaching parents a thing or two--including values, attitudes, and skills.

Time flies.

It isn't long before your children are teenagers-- busy with school, part-time work, and peer group activities. They may be applying for work or college. You may or may not be happy with their peers. You may wish they had other plans for employment or college. But the chances are, your ability to influence your older teen have diminished considerably.

Why not make the most of childhood?

Think about what you would really like them to know, value, appreciate, and respect.

Do they complete age appropriate responsibilities at home?

Do they complete age appropriate work at school?

Do they show respect for themselves and their personal space?

Do they show respect to you, peers, siblings, and other adults?

Do they share your values?

Your parenting days are numbered. Make the most of them then, become friends for life.

Read more in Chapter 1 of Discipline with Respect

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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Chores, Tasks, & Responsibility

In Discipline with Respect, Chapter 1, "The Principle of Purpose," I discuss the importance of building responsible behavior with tasks and responsiblities appropriate for a child's age. It does take more time than doing a job yourself, but parenting includes helping children become mature and responsible adults.

I recently saw a post from the American Counseling Association (ACA) about chores. The suggestions are similar to mine.

Here's a quote from their post.

Having  your kids do assigned chores can be an important factor in helping them develop in positive ways. Chores are a way for a child to feel part of the family, and to gain a sense of contributing toward the family good. These early life lessons make it easier for a person to feel like an active, contributing member of society later in life.

And here is the link to the ACA blog so you can read their Jan 05, 2018 post about  the value of having children complete chores.

Happy Parenting!

Read more about evidence-based discipline strategies in Discipline with Respect -- A book used by schools and recommended by professionals. 

Available on AMAZON Kindle and in paperback.

See the Discipline with Respect website for more information.

Get a FREE sample at AMAZON 

Connections and Links to Resources

My Page
My Books   AMAZON
FACEBOOK   Geoff W. Sutton
TWITTER  @Geoff.W.Sutton
LinkedIN Geoffrey Sutton  PhD
Publications (many free downloads)
     Academia   Geoff W Sutton   (PhD)
     ResearchGate   Geoffrey W Sutton   (PhD)

Full link to the ACA post about "chores."'t-make-you-a-bad-person

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Why did she do that?

When children misbehave, we want to know why they do what they do. But often, children do not know why they did whatever they did.

When we ask children why questions, we may be thinking two things:

    1. I don’t want you (child) to do that again.

    2. I want to know how to help you (child) behave differently in the future.

We may genuinely want to know why a child lost her temper, hit another child, broke something valuable, has difficulty finishing homework, keeps forgetting various items, and many other things.

Answers to why questions can be deceptive. A child may say “I forgot” or “She hit me.” A parent may suspect a child is tired or upset because a child missed out on an activity due to misbehavior or even an interfering event like severe weather.

People in a community may have many explanations for children’s behavior such as deficiencies in various supplements, life events like a divorce or birth of a sibling, birth order, and so forth. Some explain behavior as a matter of bad choices.

Sometimes parents consult psychologists who may suggest the reasons for some behaviors are linked to learning disabilities or the biochemistry associated with conditions like ADHD.

The truth is, we often do not know what causes a behavior in a specific child. There may be more than one cause for any given behavior or behavior pattern. As with many things in life, it is often best to focus on the desired outcome.

Ask not why children behave as they do. 
Ask what your children will do differently next time. 

Ensure they have a clear idea about appropriate behavior and help them achieve that goal using one or more effective discipline techniques.

We usually don’t want our children to answer a why question with something like, “I guess my dopamine levels were low.”

We can avoid helping children search for reasons that can become excuses by focusing on what questions. 

Here are three examples of what questions.

  • What did you do?
  • What rule did you break (if one was broken)?
  • What should you do differently next time?

Read more about evidence-based discipline strategies in Discipline with Respect -- A book used by schools and recommended by professionals. 

Available on AMAZON Kindle and in paperback.

See the Discipline with Respect website for more information.

Get a FREE sample at AMAZON 

There may be biopsychological explanations for some behavioral difficulties but most children won't know those "reasons" for their behavior. In addition, we usually want to help children learn adaptive behavior even when they have conditions that make it more difficult for them than for other children.

Connections and Links to Resources

My Page
My Books   AMAZON
FACEBOOK   Geoff W. Sutton
TWITTER  @Geoff.W.Sutton
LinkedIN Geoffrey Sutton  PhD
Publications (many free downloads)
     Academia   Geoff W Sutton   (PhD)
     ResearchGate   Geoffrey W Sutton   (PhD)

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Setting Goals Builds Self-Discipline

In Discipline with Respect, I recommend parents set goals after identifying the behavioral lessons they would like their children to learn by a certain age. Setting goals is a good idea for adults and children. When parents set goals, they also serve as role models for their children.

Anytime is a good time to set goals. So, if you are reading this at the beginning of a year or at another time, the psychological value of goal-setting remains important to helping people make achievable life-changes.

Daphna Oyeserman (USC) and her team studied the effects of measuring time on planning for a future event like saving for retirement. It turns out that the way participants “framed” time influenced their plans to take action. Instead of thinking in terms of years, it might be best to think in terms of days (Psychological Science). And its best to think in terms of months rather than years.

Parents can apply this kind of thinking to behavioral goals. For example, if you want your child to develop financial responsibility by age 16 and your child just turned 12, you might think 4-years is far in the future—and you have plenty of time. But if you think in terms of days (1,465), you might be more inclined to make a list of tasks to improve the odds your teen will have the self-discipline and other skills crucial to responsible financial behavior. Fortunately, many parents help children develop responsible financial behavior before age 12. Unfortunately, some children grow up with a limited understanding.

There are other factors to help adults and children reach their goals. As I mention in Discipline with Respect, goals should be realistic, specific, measurable, and dated. I also recommend working on only 2-3 goals at a time.

1. Realistic goals are those a person can reach with additional effort and encouragement. Most of us can increase our exercise by a small percentage of steps or minutes, decrease our consumption of sugar treats, increase our savings by a small percentage, help one additional person, and so forth.

2. Specific goals are stated in precise language such as units of money saved, pounds of weight lost or gained, words written, pages read, days of temper outbursts, or steps walked.

3. Measuring progress is easy for those goals having natural units as mentioned above. Other goals may require some additional thought. You may come up with a quality rating instead of a concrete number. For example, you could ask for feedback on the quality of a quilting project from expert quilters. I often ask for feedback on my writing projects, which helps me gauge how close I am to reaching publication quality before submitting a paper to a journal editor. The chapter on feedback can help parents give specific feedback to children on their behavior.

4. Finally, we help ourselves when we attach a date to a goal. As suggested in the research study above, we might be better to think in terms of days rather than years. Parents and teachers can help children by thinking in terms of 90 days to complete a project.

You may be able to tell from this post that Discipline with Respect is about developing responsible behavior. Although I discuss the usual principles of how to use consequences in discipline programs, I view discipline as education—all the things we do to help children become mature, responsible, and respectful adults.

Connections and Links to Resources

My Page
My Books   AMAZON
FACEBOOK   Geoff W. Sutton
TWITTER  @Geoff.W.Sutton
LinkedIN Geoffrey Sutton  PhD
Publications (many free downloads)
     Academia   Geoff W Sutton   (PhD)
     ResearchGate   Geoffrey W Sutton   (PhD)

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