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Parents often ask me if there is such a thing as remedial parenting. If a parent realizes he or she is doing something wrong is it possible to change?
Yes, there is such a thing as remedial parenting. Obviously it’s easier to prevent than correct problems but there is always hope for a better parenting future.
Interesting that there are three areas parents worry about and want to change. Parents lament: My children won’t help around the house or My kids watch too much TV or My kids eat too much junk food.
Talking to parents I find there is a common thread here. All of these parents are good parents, concerned about their children, and trying to do a good job of parenting. All of these parents are busy. And in all three areas of concerns (chores, TV, and junk food) it is easier to give in to what seems like trivial indulgence.
Until, that is, the parents see the light and want to change their ways.
Here is a brief and very basic course I call REMEDIAL PARENTING 101:
o DECIDE TO MAKE THE CHANGE. This requires an understanding of why kids should do chores, why TV is bad, and why junk food is harmful (See the list of previous ParenTips).
o Recognize that, although you want to change your child’s behavior, first you must change YOUR OWN ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIORS.
How do we change ourselves? It’s not easy but it’s possible. First we recognize what we are doing wrong. Then we figure out how we will act differently. In the unholy trinity of undone chores, excess TV, and tummies filled with junk what the parent has to change is how they talk. From now on your kids must realize that when you say something you mean it. You are in charge and you will enforce all rules from now on.
o Once you are freed of your old ideas and willing to take your new stance, it’s time to call a FAMILY MEETING. Explain to the children that from now on things are going to be different.
o ESTABLISH NEW RULES. Set up a chore schedule and appoint a monitor for the week who makes sure all tasks are done and done on time, limit TV to under 1 hour a day, rid your cupboards of all junk food.
o PROVIDE TEACHING AIDS like chore charts so your kids can remember the new rules.
o EXPECT obedience to the new rules and ENFORCE SANCTIONS if they are broken.
o BE PATIENT AND PERSISTENT. Don’t get discouraged if the desired changes in behavior don’t happen overnight. And don’t panic if there are relapses because remedial parenting can take time.
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