6 Tips to Avoid the Most Common Parenting Mistakes

Blame the parenting gurus if you are confused about about praise,  natural consequences, and the uses and abuses of punishment.  These tips should help.

6 Parenting tips

Parenting tip one: Stop treating children like adults.  Keep the following in mind when teaching children to obey reasonable rules. 

  1. Pre-school kids live very much in the moment. So if you yell “No”  or even spank that moment is bad; but if quickly followed by a hug and the words  “Good going” that moment is good, and so on and so on.
  2. Pre-school kids do not code reality well. Which is why adults have to keep the little one’s safe. Example, a kid wearing a super man cape who thinks s/he can fly down a flight of stairs and not get hurt.  How to help: Start early on to label things as “Make-believe” or “Fun Fantasy.” Do this with Santa Clause, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny. The kids will not understand and the fun will go on, but you are at the same time teaching a child to figure our what is real and what is not.
  3. Thomas Phenlan’s One, Two, Three, Magic. works best when rules are being broken.
  4. Once a child can read concrete rewards for good behaviors (token system)  is useful.  Not getting a reward becomes a punishment.  Kids Making Change explains token systems so all can understand.
  5. Teens are designed to question the rules of adults. Moreover, when with peers, the best good kid can be lead astray by those breaking rules.  What helps? Being forced early on to obey reasonable rules. Then as the teen years approach allowing your children to spread their wings and learn from life. This is when the advice of the communication experts starting with Thomas Gordon’s Parent Effective Training works best. 
  6. All kids of all ages and that includes many adults needto beforceably stopped when engaged in behavior that hurts physically or is immediately dangerous.  That is when the STOP Plan works well.

The Stop Plan

Parenting tip two: keep rules simple. That is the purpose of linking all rules to the word “Respect.” The younger the child, the more some things need to be drummed into his or her little head.  To paraphrase the song: “You’ve got to taught before you are six or seven or eight not to do the things your parents hate.”

Parenting tip three: Model what you want. Most parents don’t, but for the big rules you must and you must so consistently.

Parenting tip four: Talk less and act more. The communication experts have made talking and explaining a fetish. You zone out when talked at, and so do your kids.  That is why  1-2-3 Magic  works. Three word and you take action.

Parenting tip five: Make sure the child knows the punishment for breaking a rule when being punished what rule was broken.  Amazed me as a foster parent that when asked what rule had been broken necessitating a punishment, many teens confessed to a host of other sins, but not the one I was punishing them for.  Enlightening and eventually lead to this  CARE Plan.

The CARE Plan

Parenting tip six: Reward more than punish.  Think for a minute about how often a small child hears “No.” No is important for children to hear,  but children also need to hear what they are doing well.  Why  once the “No” is obeyed, “Thank You” or “Good listening”  needs to follow and  along with a hug for the young ones and a happy face for teens.

There are other ways to make the good times rock more often than the necessary negatives.  Special times, just because I love you gifts, well placed praise, family fun and games are just a few.

More tips from the Parenting Gurus I trust: Jean Tracy  who is a fellow graduate of the Bryn Mawr School of Social Work and Social Research. This link takes you to her videos. I am jealous of her talents, amazed by every post of hers I read,  and grateful she is a friend.

Kenneth Blanchard and his One Minute Manager – meant for the busienss world but excellent advice for parents and a very quick read.

Hiam Ginott –  he started the emphasis on communication, but did not think it solved all problems.

Supper Nanny Jo Frost She does family meetings, rule setting, rule enforcement and time outs  perfectly.

Adam Katz – Dog trainer.  Dog trainers get punishment and reward better than most parenting gurus. Adam Katz is my favority on-line dog trainer. In this link he talked about how the Hippie generation – almost me – has messed up dog training. I cringe everytime I see Dogs pulling their owners around in the park instead of the owners being in control.

I often link my posts to the WordPress Daily Prompt.  Today’s suggested:  Don’t You Forget About Me – Imagine yourself at the end of your life. What sort of legacy will you leave? Describe the lasting effect you want to have on the world, after you’re gone.

I discuss this in my eBook Know Your Mission So You Can Reach Your  Goals. I think every parent’s mission, should be to be remembered as tough and loving.


Remember sharing is caring and the easiest way to practice kindness is to share this post if you found it helpful.  Share it even if it doesn’t speak to you, it will speak to some. Didn’t like it?  Comment and tell me why and how to improve.



These links are for those not familiar with Emotional Intelligence or the idea of Emotional Fitness.

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