Ten Survival Tips for Parents
From Family Support Workers Patty Dunn and Barbara Harrison
1) Be consistent: Children and teens make better choices when they know exactly what the outcome will be each and every time.
2) Have realistic expectations: Children and teens each progress at different levels and each is a unique individual. The child/teen will experience success when the expectations of them are appropriate. When you expectations are not realistic then we set the child/teen up for failure. Remember - age does not bring on maturity. Your child/teen may be old enough but not mature enough to be alone.
3) Be patient: Change, whether positive or negative can be a difficult time in a child/teen's life. Remember some kids adjust better to the change than others.
4) Listen: When your child/teen is in the mood to talk, listen to what they are really saying. Explore their feelings around the school year ending. This is a time for mixed emotions. Never force your child/teen to talk when they are not comfortable doing so. You are actually destroying your communication lines for the future.
5) Anticipate and plan misbehavior: Try to become proactive rather than reactive. Anticipate some problematic encounters and develop methods to reduce the likelihood. When a child/teen becomes disruptive and unmanageable it is not the appropriate time to try and decide how to deal with the behaviour. Develop a plan.
6) Get to know your child/teen's friends: Yes, that's right! Allow your child/teen's friends to come over and come in too. You never know when one of those friends may have an influence on your child/teen, in making the right choices.
7) Spend quality time: You're never too busy for your child/teen and they are never too old. Set a date, you will both be happy you did.
8) Make a monthly calendar: The idea is to reduce stress for everyone. Parents should provide a schedule of their working hours for the child/teen to view. This would be helpful for requesting rides here or there. Add to the calendar any other work schedules, appointments, vacation time, camping events, sports and concerts, etc.
9) Make a weekly menu: Consider what your day is like Monday- Friday. Have simple meals on those days that are more hectic than others. Do your meal planning ahead of each week and then grocery shop according to your menu. Remember breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Consider whether your child is at camp, at a caregiver's or at home when planning your menu.
10) Pick your battles: Remember, everyone has grumpy days. Try to ignore those minor misbehaviours. Always ask yourself, "Who owns this problem?"