Just as children need rules, so do parents. One part of the rules are some simple ideas that convey to your child that you are there for her or him. It also shows your respect for your child.
1. I will get my child up a little early so we can spend some time together before the day begins.
2. I will not talk on my cell phone when I am doing an activity with my child … even shopping.
3. I will remember to be at eye level with my child when I need her attention.
4. After work, I will spend five minutes with my child before going through the mail or returning calls.
5. I will plan at least one outing or special activity with my child each week.
But there are also a bunch of things that can give your child this message of respect. They include little things like the following:
• Say “I love you” to him or her often
• Do not criticize, take the time to teach
• Tell why, not just what to do or not to do
• Discipline with love
• Teach her to trust the truth
• Try to meet his needs
• Remember she needs love most when she deserves it least
• Apologize when you make a mistake
• Support his choices
• Set safe boundaries
• Be honest with her
• Help him become good at something
• Give options
• Add to collections
• Create traditions
• Tell her how much you enjoy being with her
• Do not make fun of him
• Expect her best; not perfection
• Teach him how to make good choices
• Tell her that her feelings are okay
• Welcome his suggestions
• Be emotionally stable and fair
• Encourage her to help others
• Set realistic expectations
• Try do instead of don’t
• Be consistent
• Keep your promises
• Do not forget hugs
These are enough rules for parents. Remember, the important thing is to let your child know you really do care.
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.