Here are the wisest commandments ever commended to parents:
1. Thou shalt be consistent. Do as you say you will. Children know where they stand when you are consistent, follow through and mean what you say.
2. Thou shalt expect children to contribute (without being paid). Expect children to help at home but don't expect them to do so graciously all the time. Here is a question to ask yourself from time to time: What do your children do that someone else relies on?
3. Thou shalt encourage regularly and persistently. Remember that encouragement and praise will get children a lot further than criticism and punishment so be your child's best encourager rather than his fiercest critic. Encouragement helps a child link his or her self-esteem to the process, rather than the results of what they do.
4. Thou shalt put responsibility where it belongs. Treat children and young people as you want them to be. If you want responsible, capable children then treat them as if they are responsible. The best way to develop responsibility is to give it to children.
5. Thou shalt know that children and young people only see one side of any issue. Thou shalt take everything they say with a large grain of salt. Not that children and young people lie, but they have been known to exaggerate or see facts only from their side.
6. Thou shalt show love and affection to your children. Thou shalt say you love each of your children at least once a day. Knowing they are loveable is the basis of self worth, regardless of their age.
7. Thou shalt catch children and young people behaving well. Pay attention to your child's positive behaviour more than their negative behaviour. What you focus on expands so if you focus on the positive behaviour that is what you generally get. Give descriptive feedback so that your children know what they did well. E.g. That was great the way you two worked out the TV-watching problem without arguing. You both compromised a little which is smart.
8. Thou shalt develop independence in children from the earliest possible age. Never regularly do for a child the things he or she can do for him or herself. Remember, your job is to make yourself redundant.
9. Thou shalt set limits and boundaries for children and expect that they will push against them. Children and young people need limits and boundaries as they make them feel secure.
10. Thou shalt keep a sense of humour when dealing with children. This will help you keep things in perspective. It may seem improbable some days but they will soon grow up and be out of your hair and be a living, breathing reflection of YOU.
And, the supreme (and most important) commandment:
Thou shalt be a good role model for your children. Show rather than tell children and young people how you want them to communicate, behave and live. Children learn what they live and, as parents, your actions speak louder than your words.
- Borrowed with pleasure (from Michael Grose's 10 commandments of parenting)
For information about Michael's Parent Boot Camps, workshops and Parent Coaching programs visit www.parentingideas.com.au