Parenting is a wild ride. As a parent, it is your job to help your child navigate challenging peer relationships and learn from your example. You need to teach them about good friends, bad friends, how to handle bullies, and how to show respect to authority.
Your child’s emotional needs and behavior will continue to grow and change the older they get. By following these parenting tips, you will learn how to navigate peer relationships, stop bad behavior in its tracks, and help your child focus on school without distractions.
Here are 10 secret parenting tips about navigating three different areas of child behavior.
1. Making Friends
As a parent, you want your child to make good friends they can foster for at least the next couple of years. When your child is still young it will be easy for you to step in and help them make good friends.
Schedule playdates with other kids from their school or in the neighborhood. Arrange these playdates so that they are no more than an hour long. This way you will be able to judge whether the children hit it off and end it if you see any signs of bad behavior or awkward conversation.
2. Dealing with Bad Influences
What happens when your child makes friends with someone you don’t approve of? It’s every parent’s worst fear that their child will end up hanging out with the wrong crowd, but it’s up to you to correct their path and instruct them from an early age about what kinds of friends are appropriate.
The best thing you can do with your children is to remind them of the positive qualities of a good friend. Some examples are:
- Being trustworthy
- Being Kind
- Has fun with you
- Has good relationships with their parents
- Knows how to share
- Makes you laugh
- Does not get into trouble
- Shows loyalty
- Makes you feel good after spending time together
3. Navigating Difficult Peer Relationships
A bad friend is someone who smokes, drinks, abuses drugs, skips school, is sexually active or promiscuous at a young age, and has a disrespectful attitude toward parents and other forms of authority.
When a child is still young, it is easy for parents to “phase out” a troublesome friend. Simply do not invite them over anymore.
That said, if you feel your child has made a poor choice in friends you should tell them why. Sit them down in a calm manner and explain to them why you don’t believe their association is appropriate.
For example, if your child’s friend smokes, tell your child why smoking is bad.
Children respond more to parents who explain themselves, instead of parents who reason with: “Because I said so.”
Navigating Bad Behavior
4. How to stop lying
“I flew a spaceship today!”
“Daddy ate the last cookie, not me!”
As a child, harmless lies such as these seem cute and carefree. But, it’s important not to let lying become a regular custom of your child. Even the most innocent fib can turn into a bad habit as your child grows older.
When white lies turn into genuine deceit, it’s your job as the parent to put a stop to such behavior. You can encourage your child to tell the truth with these simple steps
Don’t encourage lying. How could any parent do this? Simple. If you see your child has not vacuumed or performed their daily chore, don’t set them up to lie by asking “Have you done your chores?” Instead, simply remind them that they still have chores to do.
Stay calm. How you respond when you catch your child in a lie will have a great impact on whether or not they choose to tell the truth in the future. Don’t yell or severely punish a lie, but remind your child that they should always tell the truth and that you will love them even if they’ve done something wrong.
Set a good example. Children mimic behaviors they see at home. If your little one sees you telling a white lie, they may come to understand that ‘lying is okay, even mom does it!’ Don’t set this precedent.
Encourage truth-telling. Letting your child know that they can come to you about anything can encourage them to be truthful with you.
5. How to discourage back-talk
As children get older they begin to test their own authority in the house. This often results in back-talk. Such disrespectful attitudes should be addressed early to help prevent bad habits from forming.
One of the best parenting tips for discouraging back-talk is to communicate openly with your child. Let them see you as their friend as well as their parent. If they wouldn’t talk to their friend that way, they probably won’t want to be disrespectful to you, either.
Setting clear house rules with consequences for breaking them is another way you can instruct your children to make good choices.
It is also beneficial for children to be given small forms of power from a young age, such as letting them choose their own clothes. This both gives them control in their own lives and lets them know the different balances of authority between parent and child.
6. How to build a connection with your child
As parents, you want your children to come to you with their problems. You want them to know that you are there for them no matter what. To do this, you must establish a connection with them from an early age.
You can do this by scheduling regular playdates together and taking an interest in their hobbies. Making a routine of spending time together will help familiarize your child with you as a friend. This will help them feel more at ease about coming to you with problems they’re having.
Parenting Tips for Navigating School Issues
7. How to Handle Bullies
Teach your children how to handle bullies from an early age. This will give them more confidence when they are faced with these painful, awkward situations.
Explain to your children that it’s natural for friends to joke around, but when online or in-person teasing becomes emotionally or physically hurtful, things have escalated to bullying.
If your child is being bullied, calmly listen to their story and praise them for coming to you about it. Tell your children that kids only bully because they are probably dealing with their own pain deep down. Encourage them to walk away when bullying occurs and reassure them that the problem is going to be dealt with.
It is also important that you speak to your child’s teacher about the behavior that is happening at school. Getting someone in a position of authority is excellent because they can be your eyes and ears in the classroom and prevent any in-class bullying from occurring.
8. Keeping Children Focused on Grades
School isn’t always going to capture your little one’s attention, so it’s up to you to make sure they are in an environment where doing their homework is non-negotiable. Some ways parents do this is by making it a rule that they cannot watch television or have their cell phones until their homework is completed.
Other parents may choose to use other reward systems. You may reason that if they do their homework for the week, you will plan something fun to do on the weekend.
9. Dealing with Behavioral Problems at School
When it comes to learning disabilities or difficulties, many parents find it helpful to hire a tutor and to make an appointment with their family doctor to see if there are any diagnosable comprehension issues occurring.
Regarding other issues such as being harassed or bullied, homeschooling has become a popular and effective option for dealing with behavioral issues in school.
10. Parenting is Hard
With every new age comes a new challenge in the parenting world. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, just know that there are millions of parents going through the same thing.
One of the wisest parenting tips you will ever follow is this: Be patient with the process. Some parents find it helpful to make friends with other parents who can share their own advice on raising children.
Most importantly, enjoy your children while you can. They really do grow up fast.
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