Parents can positively affect their child’s behavior by taking three actions. These steps will provide a foundation that supports the child’s social-emotional development. The actions will teach children skills that lead to more behaviors that parents want to see, and fewer of the ones they don’t want to see.
Parenting is a learned skill. No one is born knowing how to be a good parent. Many parents may not want to use their own childhoods as the basis for their own parenting. Other parents may just be looking for new strategies for parenting their children. The good news is that our community and the internet have many resources for parents to expand their skills and become better at nurturing and caring for their children.
Parent educators at Parenting Now! are often asked, “What can I do about my child’s behavior?” Our philosophy is that there are many approaches to discipline, but every approach should be a thoughtful way to pass on parental values and rules.
Discipline is an opportunity for the child to learn. Sometimes, parents believe discipline is the same as punishment; in fact, the root of the word is disciple, or “to learn.” Children have much to learn, and it is a parent’s job to be their loving teacher.
The findings from a recent 90by30 pilot survey suggested that 75 percent of Lane County residents are willing to be active in reducing child abuse and neglect, and yet less than half reported knowing what to do or how to go about helping. 90by30 is in the process of creating the structure to implement the plan that will make it possible for each of us to play our part.
Much data shows that parenting education works:
Readiness for kindergarten is enhanced when parents learn how they can support their child’s healthy development.
Parenting education helps prevent child abuse and neglect, and associated concerns like teen pregnancy, delinquency and substance abuse.
The research can help us understand how a baby’s mind is formed and what we can do as parents to help our children be their best. Much of this research supports what many parents already do: read to their children, talk with them, interact with them. Some of the research tells us how to do these things better; how to ask questions and engage our children with the written words in ways that increase their understanding and brain development.
How do we begin? First, by defining the problem to be outside, separate from ourselves. An example might be, “We need to find a better way to deal with the laundry” (a situation) rather than, “You never help with the laundry” (which makes your partner the problem).
Another important piece of the fearless problem-solving process is for each person to say what each wants in regard to the situation, rather than what’s wrong about it. For some of us, saying what we want is more unfamiliar and challenging than to say what’s wrong. However, an essential part of defining the problem is listening to and exploring what each wants and how close or far apart the wants are.
The Community/Family Resource Centers are located in schools throughout rural and urban areas of Lane County. From Oakridge to Cottage Grove, CFRCs offer a variety of free activities for all families. The CFRCs are supported by the Lane County Commission on Children and Families and local school districts. Many also receive additional funding from LaneCare, non-profits, service organizations, local business, and community members who volunteer their time.
It’s fairly common for all of us parents to wonder if we are doing the best job possible in raising our children. After all, the day-to-day reality of child-rearing is a mix of, as Birth To Three says, “joy, exhaustion, challenge, stress and delight.” Being a parent can be overwhelming. At some point, every one of us will be tested, no matter what our intentions or resolutions may be.
Life with twins is crazy. It is also completely amazing, challenging, hilarious, and by far the hardest job I’ve ever had! I’m sitting here listening to the girls chatter each other to sleep… wait, strike that, now they are both wailing. Such is the way with twin 2-year-olds. If I had a dime for every time someone said, “I always wanted to have twins!” I’d be a rich woman. Far fewer people have actually offered to babysit.