It’s understandable that parents may be looking for a quick response or a short-term solution. And in responding to challenging behavior, many parents feel the need to punish or give their children a consequence as a way to modify or change their behavior. While “time out” can be an effective way to respond to challenging behavior, it may be difficult to have a successful time out. Indeed, many children will resist time out, which leads to power struggles.
Two “Promise Neighborhoods” have been identified. One is in Eugene’s Bethel/Trainsong Neighborhood; the other is in Springfield. United Way is focusing on these Promise Neighborhoods to make a measurable difference with limited resources. Once we can prove success in these communities, the effort can be replicated in other high-needs communities across the County.
Parents might be great at setting limits with homework, chores and dating, but they can feel they have entered new territory when it comes to rules around cell phones, the Internet, Facebook, texting, iPods and electronic games. And, teenagers can be so emphatic in demanding that they need total freedom with their gadgets!
These programs do come with a price tag – which is why local, state and federal governments, as well as private donors and foundations, help fund them. According to Fight Crime Invest in Kids, every $1 spent on research-based home visiting programs like Healthy Start and the Nurse-Family Partnership generates a return between $4 and $6. Children come to school ready to learn, have fewer health and social needs, grow up to commit fewer crimes and create a return on the investment as healthy, productive adults. These programs reduce child abuse rates, improve parenting skills, increase the time parents spend reading to their child, and help families access medical care. Better yet, they protect children from abuse. This not only saves money, it can save lives. And ultimately, that what is most important, no matter how much it costs.
All parents have to manage their children’s behavior, and setting limits is a particular challenge. Parents may find themselves spending much of their day saying “no” to their kids. Sometimes it’s about safety, such as saying “no” to a toddler who is about to walk out into the street. Other times it’s in response to difficult behavior, such as biting or hitting. Sometimes hearing “no” can result in an angry child who may have an emotional meltdown in response. This is stressful for both parent and child.