Creative Child

Parenting Tips from A to Z: J-R

by Rebecca Eanes

Parenting Tips Continued...

M is for Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the state of being conscious or aware of something. It applies to many aspects of our daily lives, but for this parenting tips article, mindfulness may be most important when brought to our interactions and reactions. Being mindful of when our buttons are pushed, when stress levels are too high, when we are feeling disrespected or unappreciated, when we are speaking with the tongues of our parents, and when we are continuing old patterns of poor reactions is essential to positive change.

Read The Top 5 Ways to Parent Mindfully.

N is for Negotiation

This isn’t something that is normally advised in most parenting tips articles. In fact, it is often the opposite that we hear – be consistent, hold your ground, and don’t negotiate! Respectful negotiation needs to be encouraged, not shut down. It’s a valuable skill that children need to learn. Let’s not be afraid that our authority will wane if we listen and consider our child’s point of view.

I think the fear is that, if we allow occasional negotiation, our children will take advantage of us and try to negotiate everything. There is certainly a time for “I said no, and that’s final,” and I’m not suggesting we negotiate with our toddlers all day about cups and shirts and chicken nuggets. I’m simply suggesting that we not be so quick to throw our weight around and show our children the respect and courtesy of hearing their side and considering their point of view when appropriate.

O is for Open Communication

Keeping open communication is so important in raising children, and this is directly tied to listening. They will be more open to us if we listen attentively and with empathy and seek to understand their worlds. They need to feel safe in speaking with us and know that we will respond with sensitivity. When parents are quick to criticize or brush off a child’s concerns or feelings, communication shuts down. They begin to look elsewhere for validation. Parents get shut out as connection and trust erode.

To keep communication open, be mindful of your reactions and responses, listen to understand, be willing to negotiate when appropriate, and stay connected. (See how all these tips work together?)

P is for Play

We’ve all heard about the fantastic benefits of play. The question is, are you prioritizing it or are you still too bogged down with other tasks to make time for it? Is your child getting enough unstructured play, or is there barely enough time for meals and a bath after all those scheduled activities? I know life is busy, but here’s your gentle reminder to slow down and play for a while.

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Q is for Quality Time

Many of us spend large quantities of time with our kids. The question is, how are we spending that time? Is our attention divided? Many times, quality time is the cure for behavioral issues, disconnection, whininess, and other problems because when our child’s attachment tank is full, they are happier and more cooperative.

Genevieve Simperingham of The Peaceful Parent Institute says this in her article titled The Benefits of Spending Quality One on One Time with Your Child, “Spending quality one on one time with your child is usually the medicine that’s needed when things become chaotic or out of balance in the family.  Spending a whole day, or even half a day, or just an hour of quality one on one time with a child that is genuinely child focused (preferably following the child's lead) will invariably bring a parent back to be more in touch with their child.”

R is for Respect

Respect is one of the 5 principles of positive parenting as outlined in my book, Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide. The following is an excerpt from the book.

As human beings, children deserve the same consideration we afford to others. Children need to be treated in a thoughtful, civil, and courteous manner, just as we treat other people. Research has shown that children who have loving, nurturing parents grow a bigger hippocampus, which promotes better memory, learning, and stress response. Therefore, we respect a child’s mind when we are nurturing and positive.

We respect a child’s body and dignity when we choose not to hit her to cause deliberate pain for training purposes. We respect her personhood when we give space to allow her to explore and develop at her own pace. We respect her spirit, acknowledging that each child comes with her own unique spirit, which is to be honored.

Look for part 3 of this series soon!

Rebecca Eanes is the bestselling author of multiple books including Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide, The Positive Parenting Workbook, and The Gift of a Happy Mother. She is the grateful mom of two boys. 


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