Helping Your Kids Grow Up

It is a parent's responsibility to ensure that their children develop into responsible young adults. This may seem like a daunting task initially but it doesn't need to be that difficult. Possibly the most important factor is the setting of ground rules and then implementing and reinforcing those ground rules. Rules and routine will help your kids learn good from bad and right from wrong.

Handled well, it can also ensure they have good self-esteem and are confident enough to handle everyday situations. Start young with regards to ground rules, because the earlier you introduce them the more effective they will be and they will be easier to learn. You may not believe that your kids can remember anything from when they were toddlers but these are extremely formative years and if you get it all right when they are that young, they will take their experiences with them throughout life. Using a combination of positive and negative reinforcement is the most effective way to do this.

A positive reinforcement lets your kids know when they have done something correctly and it encourages them to perform the same action. It can be as simple as a verbal well done to a hug or a reward. On the other hand, a negative reinforcement informs them when they do something wrong. Slapping isn't necessary and you should try to base the negative reinforcement around the action.

Remember when your children are very young that they aren't yet aware of what is right and what is wrong. You aren't punishing them when they do something wrong, you are indicating that the action they performed was wrong and they shouldn't do it. By calling your kids bad or shouting at them, you may in fact damage their self-esteem and their confidence. Be firm but don't be personal.

S. Stammberger is editor of Kids Kids. A resource center for parents with tips to help your child learn not only to survive, but to thrive and grow in a chaotic world.

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