There are three ways to use the new PKR:

  1. Browse and click on color-coded boxes that appear as if by magic as you scroll down.
  2. Click on a category for all the ParenTips under that particular category.
  3. Go to the Site Map (link) for an:
    • a) alphabetical list of all ParenTips.
    • b) A list of all 8 categories with every ParenTip in that category listed alphabetically.

Or mix and match! Have fun as you get the information you need!

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What are the most essential skills for a parent to learn?

o HOW TO PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR CHILD What are you talking about, you ask, I’m always paying attention to my children. But as author Barbara Kingsolver wrote, “Parenting is something that happens mostly while you’re thinking of something else.” Much if not most of parenting is what I call present-but-not-interacting time. You are stirring the spaghetti sauce and the kids are playing in the kitchen but you’re paying attention to the sauce not them.

Children also need what I call focused or attentive attention. You already know what this is. When your child falls down you stop what you are doing, rush over to the child, make soothing noises and get a bandage for the boo-boo. You are completely focused on the child. You are paying attention to nothing else. The trick is to find ways to give focused attention to your child besides waiting for the kid to fall down!

Kids need some focused attention every day from each parent. I don’t know how much but I am convinced that most children who know they can count on your daily special attention tend to do less whining and crying for attention.

o HOW TO BE AN IN-CHARGE PARENT The first thing you have to do is FEEL in charge. This means accepting the role of parent and realizing what you do or say will not always be to your child’s liking.

Don’t be tentative. Don’t ask your child to stop tearing the newspaper you haven’t read yet. Tell your child to stop. Mean what you say. Say it with confidence in your ability to parent and with authority based on this confidence.

o HOW TO KEEP COOL WHEN THINGS ARE HEATING UP The little one is dawdling, the twins are fighting, you’re running late, the toilet is overflowing. Hate to lay a big trip on you but you have two jobs to do. One, get everybody to school/work on time or as close to it as you can humanly manage. Two, model for your kids non-hysterical, problem-solving behaviors that they will be able to draw on for inspiration when their world falls apart one future morning.

How? Take a couple of big breaths, call work on your cell phone (while you plunger the toilet) to say unavoidable delay, tell the twins you need their grown-up help to put the baby’s jacket on. The calmer you act, the calmer you will feel and vice versa. Develop, and teach your children, the ability to do the best you can, accept that there will be times you cannot meet your goal, and go with the flow. Humor helps – “There’s no way I will ever get that potty a birthday present after what he did today!” may make the kids giggle and you too.