Has your child ever protested or refused to get ready to go when you tell him it is time to leave a friend’s house? This can be a very annoying – not to mention embarrassing – situation be in. When it happens, parents often don’t know how to respond.

The following tip can be useful in these situations: Manage your children’s frustrations by changing their mood while still insisting that they cooperate.

A lantern with bubbles floating by The first thing you can do to ease some of the tension is acknowledge your children’s frustration and disappointment. That doesn’t imply giving in, it simply means listening and mirroring back what your children are feeling.

Sometimes that’s all children need to hear in order to feel less frustrated and do what they are asked to do. In the above situation, you could say, “I see that you are having such a good time and you don’t want to leave yet.”

If that doesn’t do the trick, you can give your children their wishes in fantasy.

“I bet you wish you could stay at Davey’s house all night!”

Or maybe

“You wish you could stay forever. What do you think you would play if you didn’t have to leave? On our way home, let’s come up with a list.”

By trying to change the mood with a little listening and imagination, you help your children gain control over their emotions so that they can move on more easily and, in the end, be more cooperative.

Have you ever had to deal with an angry child? Chances are, if you are a parent, the answer is a resounding “Yes!”

Dealing with your kid’s outbursts can be very frustrating. You may get mad at your child for being angry in the first place. It can be a vicious cycle, ending with everyone in the family feeling resentful and even angrier.

So what is the best way to handle your children’s anger?

Accept and understand that kids will get angry. Feeling disappointed and frustrated is normal for children as they proceed through childhood. Tell your children that it is okay to be mad and that you will help them handle their strong emotions.

Teach your children acceptable ways of expressing their anger. Emphasize the importance of not being hurtful with words or behaviors. Teach them to speak respectfully even when angry by using “I” messages to express feelings. For example, instead of name-calling or hitting, they can say, “I am really mad at you!”

Help your children to find ways to calm down. Useful techniques include:

  • taking deep breaths,
  • counting to 10, doing jumping jacks,
  • rocking in a chair,
  • or being alone for a while.

Once they are calm, then your children can talk about the reasons why they were angry. You can work together to find solutions.

Children do not get angry on purpose and they are not out to “get you” with their strong feelings. Your job is to model and teach your children as they grow and that includes how to handle difficult emotions. With this in mind, you can approach an angry situation with a little more empathy.

A note saying Oops Loving parents who want their children to be successful and to reach their potential often err on the side of being over-protective and overly involved in their children’s struggles.

They go to extreme lengths to keep their children from experiencing any kind of failure.

If this sounds like something you can relate to, then you may benefit from today’s tip: Give your children the opportunity to face the natural consequences of their mistakes.

Assuming they will not be harmed physically or morally, children often learn important lessons from making mistakes. When you run interference by rescuing them and bailing them out, you deny them the opportunity to discover their own limits and talents, to figure out how to do things better the next time, and to solve problems.

For example, when you assume responsibility for your children getting their work done and act as a personal assistant, you deny them the opportunity to discover why it is important to meet obligations.

When you turn over responsibility to your children, they may initially miss some deadlines, but ultimately they will learn better time management and organizational skills as well as what happens when they fail to do what is expected of them.

This does not mean that you abandon your children. You can still:

  • encourage them: “I’m sure you can figure this out.”
  • offer support: “Let me know if you want to talk about this.”
  • provide guidance: “What do you think will happen if you do this? What about if you try that?”

Remember, it can be more loving to let a child fail in the short term in order to let him grow in the long term. Life’s natural consequences are often the best teacher.

If you are like many parents, just getting through daily routines with your children can be a real hassle.

For example, take getting out of the house in the morning. Every day you wake up, thinking of how kind and loving you’ll be. Then within one quick hour, you find your voice and your blood pressure rising.

If this sounds familiar, then consider the following tips which involve planning for success.

  • Rearrange your schedule. Are your children little sleepyheads in the morning, but have free time in the evening? If so, move some of the morning steps to the nighttime, such as picking out clothes or packing up their bags.
  • Create a list of tasks that are repeated on a regular basis and post it in a prominent place. Put on it all of the steps, such as brushing teeth, getting dressed, and making the bed. For younger children, you can include pictures. And yes, many children really do need to be reminded to brush their teeth every single day.
  • Limit choices. Children can get so caught up in all of the options that they become immobilized.

Rather than asking an open-ended question such as: “What would you like for breakfast?” You can direct your

child with: “Would you like cereal or a bagel?”

To simplify things, you can specify the type of cereal or topping for the bagel. Another approach is to ask: “Do you want to eat something hot or something cold?”

With a little planning, your routines in the morning or any time of day can go a lot more smoothly.

Have you ever had to say “no” to your children when they ask to do something?

Or have your children ever resisted doing something you tell them to do?

You use all your positive parenting skills to get them to cooperate. And when they finally do comply, they do so grumbling and frowning.

Many parents wonder whether they should address the complaints.

The tip for today is: Focus on your children’s actual behavior, not on their attitude or mood.

As a parent, you know how hard it can be to set a limit that your children obviously don’t like or to engage their cooperation to do something they don’t want to do. And they are often quick to let you know when they don’t like the restrictions or requests you make. But there are times when it is important for your children to obey you and follow your rules.

Remember that your job is not always to make your children happy, but to help them develop into responsible, caring people. And in order to do that, it is important that your children comply with your limits and requests.

There are a number of things you can do when your children protest:

  • First, allow some complaining; you can acknowledge their feelings.
    “You are really angry that you have to finish your chores before you play.”
  • Second, be clear, calm, and confident as you insist on the behavior you want.
    “We agreed that you would finish your chores before you watch your show.”
  • And finally, avoid getting distracted by their negative attitude.
    “Even though you are upset, you still need to finish your chores first.”

Even if your children grumble about the limits you set, you can choose to focus on the fact that their behavior ultimately reflected their compliance. Remember to highlight positive behavior and cooperation when you see it!

Have you ever felt that you are constantly giving to your children and doing so much for them that you are exhausted and even resentful of all their demands?

If so, then this month’s parenting tip is right for you: Know and Respect Your Limits

It is far better to give only as much as you can willingly – or perhaps just slightly more-so. After that, set limits calmly and firmly. Then what you do for your child will be done lovingly.

Parents need a degree of physical and emotional well-being so they can preserve their most important resources – their energy and their good will.

Parents usually take better care of their children when their own needs are met so it is actually better for everyone when parents respect their own limits and feelings.

For example, you can say:

“We don’t have time to take a walk this morning. I know you really want to go. After your nap this afternoon, we can go out for a walk.”

So, rather than feeling that you have to say “yes” to all your children’s requests, you can learn to say “no” to them sometimes with respect and understanding. If you do so, you will have modeled a valuable lesson in setting personal boundaries and taking care of oneself.

Do you wish to be great? Then begin by being. Do you desire to construct a vast and lofty fabric? ….. The higher your structure is to be, the deeper must be its foundation.   ~Saint Augustine

Ah, foundation. It’s not just an undergarment. It’s what parents need to build beneath their children to help them become responsible adults.

Like when my son was in middle school and he and his best friend were hanging out at my house and said they wanted to bake a giant chocolate chip cookie. You know, the kind you get for someone’s birthday that’s decorated like a cake. They claimed they knew how to do it. Really? I was skeptical. I pictured a mutant, unappetizing cookie coming out of the oven and a kitchen that looked like the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald after they were done.

But I let them do it. Why? A few reasons.

  • They were of age to use the kitchen (about 13).
  • I was home to supervise if need be (I was available at the time).
  • I knew what kind of kids they were (they would live up to their promise to clean up when they finished their creation).
  • And I truly felt that it was my job to give them the confidence to bake a giant chocolate chip cookie (this took a little bit of faith).
  • I had also been on a diet for a week and really wanted a cookie.

So they baked the cookie. Guess what? It came out chewy, gooey, and delicious. And my kitchen didn’t look too bad either.

So how does one lay a foundation for promoting responsibility in kids? Here are a few ways:

  • Consider the child’s age – know what a child is capable of at what age.
  • Hold them to their word –promotes trustworthiness.
  • Act as an advisor – provide support and help if the going gets tough.
  • Give them some rope – takes courage on the parents’ part but promotes self-reliance.
  • Know your child – each one is unique in what their skills are.
  • Make some reasonable rules – a kid needs to know he’s got duties to be responsible for.

And remember, it takes time to build any type of foundation. Use the adage, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” when teaching responsibility. And like a marathoner, make sure you get enough calories. Chocolate chip cookies could help!

I’ve never run into a person who yearns for their middle school days. ~Jeff Kinney, author of Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Most people cringe when they think of their middle school days and wish they could have skipped right over those years. Other kids head for the hills at other times, usually those that involve transitions.

When children are just starting school, when they switch from lower to upper school, or even when there are big changes in the family (births, deaths, divorces), children can prefer the safety of home. They may complain of a variety of ailments – most commonly headaches and stomachaches. This is known as school refusal.

Often parents feel frustrated and at a loss. It is hard enough to get through the morning routines without having to cajole your child into going to school. Is he really sick? Do you need to make child-care arrangements? What are you doing wrong and what is wrong with your child?!

It is often these last thoughts that create a great deal of shame and blame. Parents may just want their kids to be in school like everyone else and may not want to spend the time getting to the bottom of the problem.

Reach out for help

Sometimes this shame can cause parents to hide the problem from the school. However, the opposite strategy may work best; approach school personnel sooner, rather than later. This can help by:

  • providing you with information. You can ask them if anything is happening in school that may be bothering your child. Is he struggling in class? Does he have friends? Are they aware of any bullying that you child may exposed to, even if he isn’t the target? Are there any changes in routines, teachers, or students in the class?
  • providing them with information. Perhaps the teachers can approach your child differently if they know about an illness in the family or other struggle. They can keep an eye out during school hours to see if your child is having difficulty either socially or academically.
  • offering help. Even though it may feel like your child is the only one pulling the covers back up over her head in the mornings, most schools have previously dealt with school. Especially in the early years, schools may have procedures in place, such as having a guidance counselor meet your child in the morning and help her ease into her day.

Hopefully, with your combined efforts, you will be able to nip the problem in the bud. If not, you will need the school’s support to get your child back into school as soon as possible. Better to have already begun the conversation than to have to start it down the road when you are wondering what is wrong at school and they are wondering what is going on at home.

Although it can feel like the school is your enemy when your child refuses to go, the staff is really on your side, wanting your child in class so he can learn.