Thursday, July 14, 2011

Family rules based on your values

Sneak Peek Friday

I am honored to have worked on the Academy of Coaching Parents International's HeartWise book called Parenting Responsively for Connection. Along with 10 other ACPI Certified Parent and Family Coaches; I wrote the book to help parents answer some difficult parenting issues. Every Friday this summer YOUR Parenting Question Blog will share a short excerpt from this book. We hope that you find them information and helpful. If you like what you read and you would like to order the E-book you may do so here at Strong Roots Family Coaching.

Create your family-rules based on your values and as a family
Once you have identified your list of values, sit down with your children who are old enough to understand and come up with the rules together. Children, as young as 3, understand simple rules of right and wrong. Teaching them where to put their lunchbox, shoes and coat each day when they walk in the door is a simple place to begin. Or modeling cleaning up the playroom together at the end of each day is another example of instilling values and rules at an early age. If your children are still young, you will want to make sure that you participate in these activities with them. Model how to take off your shoes at the back door or hanging up your coat rather than laying it on a chair. Do a "Power 15" to fun music to clean up all the toys. There are several reasons why doing these things together and talking about them as a family are important, even for young ones. First, it models planning, discussion and conversation skills and teaches your children the value of open communication. Second, it makes your children feel like important, valued members of the family. They will feel loved and respected by your allowing them to participate in these discussions. Finally, because they helped to create the rules and did not have them dictated to them, they will feel more invested in following the rules.
I was talking to a mom recently who has two boys, ages 6 and 8. The older son has taken on more responsibility around the house and feels very important and values. She realized the younger son was acting out and misbehaving because he did not share those feelings. He did not know what his "role" in the family was. She realized that he needed a job to call his own so that he would feel valued and respected like his older brother. It may sound like she was treating them differently, but she wasn't loving one more than the other or giving one more privileges than the other. What she realized was that she had given the older son more responsibility because he was capable of doing more. She was treating her younger son like a baby, but he needed to be treated like an equal. One simple shift to creating a simple weekly chore for her 6-year-old to call his own, empowered him and made him feel important. Simple actions and conversations like this one boost self-worth and self-reliance in our children. If we want our children to be independent and resilient, we have to create opportunities at home for them to practice.

Dr. Minette Riordan
ACPI Certified Parenting Coach and Trainer
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