A: You are teaching your children that the way to handle strong feelings, like anger, is to act it out instead of describing how you are feeling. Children need to know that it is okay to be angry as long as it is expressed in a respectful manner. You model that for them by saying in a matter-of-fact way: "You need to know I am angry with you right now for disrespecting me."
Q: What are you teaching your children when you make threats you don't intend to enforce?
A: You are teaching your children to ignore you and continue with their behavior because they don't believe the consequences will happen. It is best policy to establish a consequence in advance of situations: "If you choose not to clean your room when I ask, you will lose all of your electronic devices for the rest of that day." Then, when your child makes a bad choice, you can execute the consequence calmly: "I'm sorry you chose not to clean your room - you will now lose your devices for the rest of the day. You will get them back tomorrow if you decide to clean your room."
Q: What are you teaching your children when you argue with them after a decision has been made?
A: You are teaching them that you are not really in control and they might be able to change your mind if they wear you down in a long argument. When possible, it is best to listen to your child's request and allow them to influence your decision with their input. Ask questions, get the facts and then make an informed decision. If your child wants to argue, tell them you have listened to them, but the answer is still no and you will not discuss it anymore. If the arguing persists, warn them that a consequence is about to occur and walk away.
Q: What are you teaching your children when you praise and affirm them regularly?
A: You are teaching your children that you value them and that they have self-worth. Noticing your child's positive behaviors and commenting on them teaches your child that they can get your attention not only when they misbehave, but when they are being respectful and responsible. Regular expressions of how much you love them teaches them that their true worth is not defined by good grades or behavior. Make opportunities to
say "do you know why I like you?" and describe one of their positive attributes. Nurturing parents raise secure and confident children.