Parenting In Focus: What kind of parent are you?

  • Wednesday, August 11, 2021 1:30am
  • Life

Parenting is hard work, no question about it. But are you making it harder on yourself than it needs to be? Do you feel like you give in to your child to avoid a blow-up? Children need you to set clear boundaries.

Here are some things to think about:

It is certainly fine to say ‘no’ to your child

You are teaching her what is and is not acceptable behavior. If you do not stop her from biting her sibling, she will think it is okay for her to do it or she will think she can get away with it.

Think of things that are not acceptable so you know when you will step in and remove your child from the situation.

Give very clear directions

Instead of saying, “Are you ready to pick up your toys?” say, “It is time to put your truck and cars away.” Keep in mind that you can still be polite when you give your child directions,

Follow through with directions

If your child is having trouble in a store, you may say, “If you don’t stop touching the boxes, we are going to leave.” If he continues to do it, take him out of the store. Be prepared to leave your items and finish shopping another time.

If you make threats and fail to follow through, he will learn that he can do more and more before you actually do what you say you are going to do.

Do not be a sucker

Your child is very smart. He learns early how to get you to do what he wants. If you tell him to turn off the television and get ready for bed and he starts to whine and say he needs water or food or asks to watch for 10 more minutes, you will have this battle every night.

Even if he puts on a good act or starts crying, remember who is in charge.

Try to understand what may be upsetting your child

We all have some days that are more difficult than others. Before you over react to your child’s negative behavior, find out what is happening in her life. Has she had a difficult time with her friends lately? Has she been having problems in her preschool? Did the cat she loved run away? See what might make the tears start when you talk about these issues. Children are just like we are.

When we are unhappy, we can be a bit difficult to live with. When life is tough, we get angry rather quickly. Give her a chance to learn to talk with you about what is going on. You might be able to help. She may learn to ask for help. Talking may work better than discipline.

Parenting changes with time

We know more about how to parent today than we did 10 or 20 years ago. Keeping up with the research, having a chance to talk with others about parenting issues and sharing ideas are good reasons to check into parenting classes that are available in our area.

These classes are helpful to both mothers and fathers since both are critical in how their child develops. Check with your school district, any preschool, and the Health Department. Enjoy what you learn and share it with your partner.

Cynthia Martin is the founder of the First Teacher program and former executive director of Parenting Matters Foundation, which publishes newsletters for parents, caregivers and grandparents. For more information, email to or call 360-681-2250.

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