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Sometimes when we finally go through a self-assessment, we may find that we need to have a fresh start. Beginning again doesn’t necessarily mean that the way you have been doing things is an utter failure, it may just mean that your way has probably fallen off track just a bit. This is ok, and totally normal. In fact, our initial approach when it comes to most things, including parenting, evolves as time goes on. It changes with the times, and sometimes morphs into something unrecognizable. It happens – a lot.

Our approach to parenting relies on our actions, our intentions, and our emotional state. Our emotional state can change from moment to moment, thus, changing the outcome of our approach depending on the situation. This is normal.Father comforts a sad child

However, normalizing our approach can sometimes help us by removing the emotional aspect. This means to predetermine our actions based on a situation to situation case. In other words, as we begin fresh we take the time to create a solution chart that can help us by taking our emotional state out of the equation. This way, a disciplinary action, a reward system, or a basic daily schedule/planner can be predetermined – ensuring the right decision is always made. This can be done by creating a chart or something similar, and by having the family go over it with you so it is understood from the beginning what the outcomes will actually be when certain actions and behaviors are exhibited.

Having the entire family go over this chart may even help determine the actions they will be taking in the future. If a child understands that when they jump on the furniture, there will be no TV for the afternoon, they may be less likely to jump on the furniture. If a child understands that every afternoon if they clean their room, they get 30 extra minutes of video game play, they will be more likely to clean their room each afternoon. When a child understands the reward/discipline system upfront, they may be more inclined to keep up with your expectations.

Trisha Festerling, J.D.

Family Law Attorney

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