7 Tools Every Parent Must Have

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I’d like to welcome back our favorite School Psychologist, Dr. Valerie Allen. She’s sharing with us today an important topic I call Parenting 101. Here are some great tips to help you be a successful parent in 2017!

Basic Training for Successful Parenting


Dr. Valerie Allen

The joy of parenting is often lost in the rush of day to day events. Trying to juggle the demands of work, school, shopping, piano lessons, and visits to Grandma, make parenting hard work, with little time to have fun. Here are some basic tips to keep things running smoothly on the home front while enjoying time with your children.

  1. Rules: there should only be a few rules (God only had 10 Commandments!). Fair rules apply equally to everyone. Firm rules do not allow plea bargaining. Clear rules have specific expectations stated in positive terms (talk quietly vs. don’t yell!)
  2. Consequences: should be brief. (do not threaten to ground a child until he is 30!). Consequences must have consistent follow up every time. It is best to use natural outcomes as often as possible rather than imposing a consequence. It is better to withhold a privilege than to impose punishment.
  3. Transitions: should be smooth. It is best to have a daily agenda listing times and events. Provide advance notice 10 to 15 minutes before changing activities, state your expectations of what is to happen next, and explain any changes in the routine or schedule.
  4. Choices: should be allowed, but limited to one choice within the two or three selections you have offered. (Would you like cereal, eggs, or pancakes?)You need to support your child’s choice without criticism and encourage him or her to be independent.
  5. Respect: should be given to all children unconditionally. You need to separate the “doer” from the “deed” and remember “bad behavior” does not mean “bad child.” Have private conversations with your children about their misbehavior and avoid the embarrassment and shame of an audience.
  6. Attitude: start and end the day with a positive comment, give hugs and kisses often, encourage verbal expression and physical demonstration of affection. Recognize that everyone is entitled to his or her own emotions.
  7. Promises: if you make them, keep them; if you cannot, be sure to explain this to the child.   Negotiate or compromise to make good on the promise for next time.

Your relationship with your youngster lasts a lifetime, so make it as positive as you can. Be sure to tell your child “I love you” every day in every way.

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Dr. Valerie Allen is a child psychologist in private practice. She presents seminars for parents and professionals in the field of child development and has published two children’s books, “Summer School for Smarties” and “Bad Hair, Good Hat, New Friends.” Oh yes, she has also raised six children! You can learn more about her at www.DrVAllen.com or purchase her books at www.amazon.com/author/valerieallen