Effective parenting guidelines help parents to establish consistent routines and remain organized while enforcing rules of behavior, disciplinary actions, and effectual relationship nurturing. We continue in this segment by reviewing several helpful tips that can factor easily into your daily routines, and hopefully, become long-term trends in your household. You have enough to battle outside the home. You should not have to experience a war zone inside your home. Keeping things simple can become habitual, and habits are hard to break.

Consistency is key. Remaining consistent in all things helps you to form a regular routine, and also helps the child to know what to expect when exhibiting behavior – any behavior. Good behavior should be acknowledged the same way every time, and negative behavior should be acknowledged the same – every time. Establishing consistent patterns help you to stay organized in knowing when to act, knowing when to listen. It is also a part of a healthy parent/child relationships, and further helps to avoid excuses for certain behavior. You both will already know what is coming.

Acknowledgment of behavior should be exercised regularly. As a continuation of consistency in acknowledging behavior, good behavior should always be noticed. If there is no ‘perk’ for good behavior, punishments for bad behavior is just not enough to promote positive growth. Independence is a particularly good reward. With every good decision your child makes, allow them the opportunity to make more. Don’t give them more than they can handle, and keep your goals realistic, but giving them a little more independence as a reward for good decision making is a reward that can only benefit you both.

Specify what it is that you do, and do not like. It is not enough to simply state that there is an issue, be specific. Explain in detail what the issue is. Gone are the days of, “Do as I say, you don’t need a reason why.” The fact is, with the onset of modern video games, social sharing, and the internet, kids are better able to assimilate information than they were in the ‘50s. Besides, by explaining in detail the nature of a problem, they are able to understand what you are unhappy about. If you say, “Don’t go over there!” there is a lot of room for interpretation. However, if you say, “Don’t walk to that side of the room, because there is broken glass on the floor.” The child no understands why they shouldn’t be in that area.

There is no room for interpretation. Make the child a part of the disciplinary action. A simple change of wording could make all the difference. Instead of saying, “Do that again, and you will stand in the corner!” You could try saying, “Remember, if you choose to do that again, you are making the decision to stand in the corner.” Making the child a part of the disciplinary action gives them a sense of choice and independence. Making them responsible for their own actions may give them more of a sense of responsibility. If they continue to make the wrong decision, remind them that they made the decision for themselves. You set the rules, but did not make the decision to put them in the corner. They made that decision for themselves.

If you're going through a divorce and have children, please download our free parenting plan template.

If you have any additional questions on parenting guidelines, give me a call

Trisha Festerling, J.D.

Family Law Attorney

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