Parenting 101

April 8, 2010
By Nicole Mathtes BRONZE, Barrington, Illinois
Nicole Mathtes BRONZE, Barrington, Illinois
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Parents—have you ever felt “disconnected” with your child or felt like your child was pulling away from you? Have you ever felt unappreciated or even neglected by them? Or maybe your child seems to be annoyed with you and often talks back? Kids these days, they just don’t know how to behave. With a few simple parenting tips, you’ll be on your way to becoming the World’s Greatest Parent. Follow these guidelines and you’ll see great improvements in your relationships with your children.

Always listen to your child, when you have time. If you have a meeting that you’re running late for, a phone call that you just have to take, or an important e-mail to send, tell your child that you will “talk to them later.” Like the obedient child that he is, your child will wander off and keep their questions, problems, and emotions bottled up inside. Your child will trust you to keep your word. Phew, problem solved. And now you’ll only be five minutes late to that meeting! However, once you get home, don’t go straight up to your child’s room to talk to them like you promised. Instead, send that important e-mail that you keep meaning to send and let your child go to bed.

In special circumstances, such as arguments, do not consider your child’s side of the dispute. Simply tell your child that you know what’s best for them and that as a parent, you are right. If you’re punishing a child, do not explain to them why they are being punished. Just tell them they are grounded until further notice. Maybe next time they’ll rethink their behavior.

Give your children responsibilities at home, but only hold the oldest child accountable for his/ her responsibilities. Due to birth order, the oldest child is considered to be the “role model” for the other children, so it is their duty to do their chores, as well as pick up the slack for his/her siblings when they do not do their chores. Besides, since the oldest child is a dependable, sensible, hard-working person, they do not mind doing extra chores without being commended for taking on the extra work. Rest assured that by holding the oldest child accountable for all the work, your house will be nice and clean.

Similarly, make the oldest child your “guinea pig,” so to speak. Try new rules on the oldest child and later on, throw them out the window for the rest of your children. If a rule did not prove to be very crucial or beneficial for the oldest child, do not enforce that rule for your other children. For example, do not allow your oldest child to go off campus for lunch. But it is ok for you to allow the middle child to go off for lunch, even if he/she doesn’t have the best grades. Be harsh and strict with the oldest child so that he/she may be an example for your other children. Experiment with rules on your oldest child so that you may figure out how to best allow more freedom for your other children.

Continue to hold high standards for grades. If the oldest child received an “A” in chemistry, for instance, make it known that you expect your other children to get “As” in chemistry just like ________ did. Discount that your middle child may not understand chemistry as well as the oldest child did. After all, your children are from the same family; therefore they should have similar grades and personalities.

Enforce a curfew for your child. For special occasions, such as dances, allow your child to go to an after-party, but pick him/her up an hour before the party ends. Even though your child has been working hard in school and continues to keep up his/her responsibilities at home, do not reward your child for their good behavior. While your child might be embarrassed and upset because he/she was the first one to be picked up, inform your child that in your day, there were no such things as parties and dances that lasted past eleven and that you were only allowed to stay out until nine anyhow. Remind them that times have not changed.

Punish your child if he/she is not in bed before eleven on a school night. It is not like your child has a pile of homework, three tests to study for, and a research paper to write on top of holding a job and having chores to finish.

Moms—if you feel unappreciated by your children, remind them that you were the one gave birth to them and it was not easy to have them. Since choosing to have a child was not fun for you, guilt trip your children into helping out more around the house and participating in occasional family nights.

If you feel that your child is pulling away from you and that you cannot easily relate to him/her anymore, merely barge into his/her room, ignoring the protests from your child, and demand that your child tell you what is going on in his/her life. Despite the fact that your child may have mounds of homework, continue to press your child for details until finally, your child mutters an answer. When your child gets annoyed with your seemingly useless questions, force him/her to stay home on a Friday night for a “family fun night.”

These parenting tips are great for improving parent-child relationships. Procrastinating important discussions with your child, making the oldest child a “guinea pig,” refusing to listen to your child’s side of an argument, imposing “family fun nights,” punishing without explanation, and not rewarding your child for their hard work or good behaviors is vital in order to be a good parent. It is guaranteed that your child will appreciate your new parenting style.

The author's comments:
We were reading Mark Twain's "Advice to Youth" article and we were assigned to write satirical advice to a group of adults (teachers,parents, the government, etc.). I chose to write to parents, specifically from the oldest child's point-of-view.

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