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Non-Violent Strategies For Disciplining Your Kids

Whether or not it’s okay for parents to “spank” their children is a highly charged issue. In general, techniques for disciplining their kids tend to be passed on from one generation to the next. If you grew up in a family in which dad got out the belt, you might follow suit. Surprisingly, in this time where parents are trying harder than ever to be politically correct, spanking as a form of punishment continues on. In fact, according to a 2010 University of Michigan national poll, nearly 1/3 of parents of preschool aged kids had no problem with spanking a child for bad behavior. The philosophy behind using corporal punishment on a child is usually that a parent endured it when they were little and feels that they turned out okay, so it’s obviously effective. Or, the parent finds that time outs and reasoning methods aren’t working and it’s the last resort.

However, on the other side of the coin, new studies are constantly finding that spanking is an outdated and cruel method of punishment and the risks associated with it, far outweigh the rewards. The idea is that giving a child a good spanking will scare them or hurt them enough to stop the negative behavior. Logically, if this were the case, then parents would not have to continue spanking. Unfortunately, this isn’t usually the outcome. Numerous studies show that this method of discipline only teaches that violence is acceptable and many kids who are spanked are in turn more aggressive and become the bullies on the playground. It is also harmful to children emotionally. Kids who are physically punished have increased anxiety and depression, problems in relationships, and lower self-esteem. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics clearly urges not to resort to hitting under any circumstances.

So what is the alternative to get your unruly child under control? Physicians recommend trying some of these non-violent discipline strategies instead:

1. Positive reinforcement. Praise your child when he or she does something right instead of waiting to punish them when they do something wrong. Say things like “I’m really happy with the way you shared your toys with your sister today.”

2. Time out. This strategy works well for both the parent and child. Often parents hit because they are angry, frustrated or tired and are responding irrationally. Set a specific “time-out” spot or room where your child has to go for a designated amount of time. This takes both of you away from the moment and allows time to calm down.

4. Ignore the behavior. In many cases kids are acting out by whining, complaining, or throwing a tantrum because they are looking for attention. Don’t give them your attention when they are acting in this manner. Show them that you will only pay attention when they are acting appropriately. Of course, this is not suggested if they are doing something dangerous or harmful to themselves or others.

5. Create a reward system. When you provide incentives for your children to behave, they will be more motivated to do so. When the kids are younger, a star chart works well.

6. Teach problem solving and judgment skills. When everyone has calmed down, explain to them what they did wrong and what you expect of them next time. For example, “When you go to Aunt Sally’s house, please don’t criticize her cooking or whine that you dislike the meal in front of her!” Or, “Instead of pushing your friend out of your way, ask her politely to please move.” Talk about ways to solve these issues.

7. Provide a consequence for misbehavior. Instead of hitting, try taking away a desired object or activity. “I would like to buy you a new Xbox game, but you are not allowed to play at all until you get your grades up.”

8. Walk away from the heated moment. Call a friend for support or go for a run. Don’t engage with your child until you’ve had time to regain your composure.

These techniques help promote better behavior from both parents and children. While they may not result in immediate obedience, over time these practices will build a healthier and happier family.

Tips To Encourage Resiliency In Children of Divorce

Divorce is an extremely difficult decision for most parents to make. Many worry that it will permanently scar their children and even consider holding off on the process until the kids are older and have moved out of the house. They endure the financial arguments, the religious differences and the child-rearing decisions in the hope that this arrangement is still better than a separation for their kids. So is this the right answer for a couple that just doesn’t see eye-to-eye? If you’ve tried everything and are still miserable than there is actually some good news. Despite all the stress and trauma of watching their parents fight and eventually separate, approximately 75 – 80% of children of divorce go on to be well-adjusted adults. They are able to move from the hardship and pain and go on to do well in school, have stable careers and build lasting intimate relationships. What it comes down to is really how you and your ex handle the divorce and the subsequent co-parenting.

What seems to highly benefit children during this time is resilience. This is the psychological ability to successfully adapt and recover from life’s challenges and obstacles. Some people are just born with the personality to naturally stay strong in the face of adversity, however most learn this trait “on the job”. Learning resiliency during a parents divorce actually helps kids to become good problem solvers, look at tough situations more optimistically, gain self-confidence and self-control, and acquire good communication skills. These are all attributes that contribute to a successful adulthood.

Resiliency is an ability that can be learned. Parents can contribute to their child’s success in coping with divorce by focusing on the following tips:

1. Explain what is happening. Be open and clear with your kids so they understand that this is not something they caused, it’s simply between you and your spouse. Do not place blame on either parent.

2. Explain that it will take time to get over the sadness, but that you both love them and will be there for them. Continue to encourage discussion every step of the way and stay as involved as possible in all aspects of their life (even if you are no longer the primary caregiver).

3. Stay optimistic! Even if this isn’t your natural mode of operation, practice looking at the bright side of things. Role modeling this behavior will help your children do the same.

4. Focus on your child’s strengths and abilities to improve their self-confidence. Many kids feel like they are somehow inferior because they don’t have a two-parent household. Help build self-esteem by giving them age appropriate responsibilities and praising their success in accomplishing them. Point out their skills and what is going right in their life (even the smallest thing) to show them they can and will continue to succeed.

5. Encourage them to be flexible and model what it means to go with the flow. For example, if you have a meltdown every time their father is late for pick-up, they will learn that this is how to handle the situation. Instead, focus on something positive that is coming from the tardiness like there is more time to complete homework or call a friend.

6. Create a strong support system of friends, family and neighbors so your children know there are people out there rooting for their success! This gives them an added sense of stability and safety, which in turn contributes to optimism and confidence.

In the end, many older children of divorced parents reflect back at the time and consider that as traumatic as it was, they are better and more resilient people because of it.

Avoid Typical Co-Parenting Mistakes With These Seven Tips

You and your children can thrive even after going through a difficult divorce. Educating yourself on the challenges you will face and how to best handle situations that most commonly arise will help you provide a safe, loving and structured environment. Divorce impacts every family member, but you can help minimize the negative impact on your kids by following these tips on parenting mistakes to avoid:

1. Don’t fight in front of the children. They hear every word you are saying and it only causes anxiety and fear. They are already worried about what their future is going to look like. This just adds fuel to the fire so do your best to speak on the phone out of earshot or even better, email. Using email allows everything to be documented in writing so there are no misgivings about what is expected. In addition, kids that are raised in environments in which it’s okay to constantly fight have a higher incidence of modeling this behavior at school because they think it’s the only way to communicate or get what they want.

2. Don’t make your kids the messenger. You don’t want to talk to your ex for fear that it will incite more rage, so you ask your kids to tell their dad/mom something. You might even think that this is good for them because it gives them a feeling of maturity and inclusion. Unfortunately, it puts them in a situation in which they have to bare the brunt of the reaction and then try to negotiate a resolution. It makes the child feel as if it’s his/her responsibility to resolve the conflict. This is unfair and is a poor way to communicate with your ex.

3. Don’t expect too much. Just because you and your spouse have decided to call it quits doesn’t mean that your children need to turn into little “adults”. Sometimes parents assume that their kids are mature and have more understanding of gratitude, empathy and the emotional world around them than is reasonable for their developmental stage. Pay attention to what is appropriate age related behavior.

4. Don’t try to become your child’s best friend. There are many reasons parents try to do this. One is that they are trying to win over the child to be on their side so the child wants to come to stay or live with them. Or, you are lonely and looking to replace the relationship you lost. However, this will ultimately backfire. Your child needs an adult role model for comfort and guidance, not another friend.

5. Be consistent! There are four different recognized parenting styles and they all consider being inconsistent harmful behavior. If you are sometimes playful and lax and let the rules fall to the wayside, while at other times very strict, your children will be confused and not know what path to take.

6. Don’t expect punishment to be the answer for all behavioral issues. Make an effort to instead parent positively on an ongoing basis. This means giving positive feedback when the kids are doing things right. If you do decide to take away privileges, consider how you are doing it, otherwise it can quickly become ineffective. For example, don’t take one thing away that can easily be replaced by something similar like confiscating the DS but letting them continue to play Xbox. Or, don’t make the mistake of taking something away for too long. You run the risk of having the child forget that he even likes it or wants it back.

7. Try to keep the same set of rules in each household. After you take your court ordered parenting class for divorce, do your best to come up with similar rules and expectations for each parent’s house. This teamwork gives your children the stability and structure that they need to thrive.

Online Court Ordered Parenting Education Programs Are The Hassle-Free Way To Go!

Taking an online parenting class during the transitional time of divorce can make good parents even stronger. Many parents worry about how the break up of the family unit will affect their kids. The answer is that you have the ability to reduce the amount of stress and pain your child goes through by educating yourself with new skills and by keeping their well being your top priority.

With one out of every two marriages ending in divorce, there is plenty of research to draw from that shows that children do best if both parents remain involved in their lives and do their best to cooperate with one another. As a parent, you can actively choose to make the process less devastating by providing stability in both homes, listening to your child’s needs and keeping a calm and positive attitude. The key to minimizing the emotional turmoil is to work together with your ex, no matter how angry and deeply hurt you might be.

In most situations, courts will mandate that parents take a co-parenting class prior to finalizing the divorce to help teach adults the skills they need to reduce conflict and raise children in a safe, stable two household environment. Our online classes are also greatly utilized by parents who come to us again a few years after divorce as their kids are hitting new ages and new behaviors. For example, one client called in yesterday saying that he wanted to revisit the topics because now that his kids were hitting their pre-teen years they were beginning to act up and had started pitting the two parents against each other again. He wanted to review stress management techniques to calm down before addressing them and ways to best speak with them.

Taking an online parenting class is a rewarding and effective way to educate or re-educate yourself on various parenting topics like boundary-setting, rewards and discipline, useful co-parenting strategies, blended family dynamics, and how to speak with your kids for the best results. Classes are designed to meet the requirements for court ordered parenting education, but can be accomplished at home instead of having to go into a classroom. Everything is 100% online, so you can sign-up and get going immediately. There’s nothing to download, no paperwork to keep track off, and nothing to print out. Participants simply login and out with any Internet connected computer device whenever it fits into their busy schedule. And, it’s completely self-paced so if you want to spend a couple weeks learning the material for a short time each day, you can. Or, you can choose to get through the entire thing in one sitting.

Help Your Child Maintain Healthy Self-Esteem With An Online Co-Parenting Class

When a couple decides to end their marriage, one of the biggest concerns is how their children will handle the breakup. Many research studies show that children are very resilient. Most make it through this tumultuous time relatively unscathed and are able to go on to have healthy relationships in their adulthood. The children impacted the most negatively are those whose parents are continuously fighting in front of them. These are kids that are caught in the middle of their parents’ arguments, whose parents criticize each other in their presence and use them as a go-between because they are too angry to actually speak to each other. Children of divorced families might feel insecure and abandoned or rejected by a parent. They might feel guilty that the divorce is their fault, which ultimately translates into depression, anxiety and fear.

One of the most important things that divorcing parents can do for their children is explain to them that they are still loved and are not the reason for the divorce. No matter how stressed or angry they are at one another, it’s important to continue to work together and respectfully communicate for the sake of the kids. Children whose parents repeatedly fight in front of them, don’t feel safe and often end up with low self-esteem. Focusing on your children’s best interest and not your own needs and wants during this time is paramount for their lifelong emotional stability.

A necessary key to success is having self-esteem. Children who feel confident about themselves and the world around them are better able to be independent, act responsibly, have pride in themselves (both their strengths and weaknesses) and react to difficult situations in an appropriate way.

Some tips for nurturing your child’s self-esteem include:

1. Let them know that they are loved and valued without any strings attached.

2. Pay attention and listen closely. Acknowledge their feelings by letting them know you understand instead of telling them that they are overreacting or are incorrect.

3. Be empathetic to their feelings. Point out the good qualities they have to show them that just because they can’t do one thing, they can do another.

4. Impart in them a sense of responsibility by giving them tasks that are age appropriate and that they can do on their own to prove their self-worth.

5. Be encouraging and praise effort. Don’t wait for your children to achieve particular goals, but give them positive feedback along the way. “I like the way you studied for that test.”

The bottom line is that early positive experiences with adults have a great deal of influence on your child’s self-esteem. If you are going through a difficult divorce, you will most likely have to take a court ordered co-parenting program to reinforce the skills you need to raise healthy, well-balanced children. You will be happy to know that most judges will now allow parents to take these co-parenting classes for divorce online. This enables the parent to learn at home without having to worry about finding childcare or missing any work. Online classes are available 24/7 from any Internet connected computer device like an Ipad, Laptop, Tablet, PC or even a Smartphone. Simply get approval from your attorney or judge to take a convenient and affordable online parenting or co-parenting class and you are on your way to becoming the best parent you can be!