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Effective Parenting: Are You Reacting or Responding to Your Children?

Anyone who is a parent or has been a parent knows how difficult of a challenge it is. Not only are you trying to teach information but you are trying to teach the way to cope with life and further you want your child to be a good citizen. The most difficult thing about this is that you are often battling your own emotions as well. You must keep a perspective and sometimes that is nearly impossible.
Where does a parent start?

We can look at some general terms. It is good if a parent tries to be effective, consistent, active and attentive.

What does an effective parent do? An effective parent responds, prevents, monitors and mentors and models.

This article is going to focus on responding.

What does it mean to “respond?”

It is important to respond, not “react.” So many of us react to our kids and nothing hurts them more quickly and, incidentally, it hurts us as well.

What do I mean?

Let us say that your son gets an “F” on his report card. You see the report card and you recall all the times he said to you he had no homework and you feel the anger well up in you. You scream at him and call him “lazy.” As we will be studying in a different article there may be a number of reasons that he got that “F.” Some would require a much different response than the “reaction” of calling him lazy.

Calling the child lazy is a reaction. If you gave it a couple of hours and thought things through and allowed your anger to subside you could talk to him and begin to be a problem solver. In other words you could respond to the situation.

It may be that he was afraid to tell you he was failing. Perhaps he doesn’t care but you will get to the real answer much more quickly if you are talking with him not at him.

As part of responding you must consider the age and the circumstances. Obviously running in a field is different than running towards the street and a two-year-old running toward the street requires different action than a 13-year-old.

A correct response includes weighing all the options and results. Do you really want to ground your daughter the night of her senior prom?

Always ask yourself questions. Are you aware why the behavior occurred? Are you being consistent with other decisions?

Do you have previous situations to compare this situation with? Past decisions that were successful can help you maintain consistency as well as solve the problem effectively.

When you make decisions, it is important to make them on a consistent basis. It is important to remember you are being watched by your children.

Exemplify thoughtful decisions as a teaching pattern.

It is erroneously taught by some that parents are but a minor influence on their children, nothing could be further from the truth.

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