There are a number of parents and teachers who, without realizing it, repeatedly use the same strategies over and over again expecting that one day they will work. In truth, they do work occasionally, but not often enough to justify their continued use. Unfortunately the ‘once in a while’ effectiveness of a parenting approach actually serves to increase the unwanted behavior of the child. (Look up the definition and impact of intermittent reinforcement). While there is little debate on the importance of consistency and predictability in parenting, this concept refers to the use of effective strategies, not those that are unsuccessful. Developing a successful approach requires a lot of thinking and planning, taking into account factors involving the individual characteristics of both adults and children. The questions and statements to follow are intended to help begin the thought process required for the development of an approach to managing, teaching, and loving our children:
- What works for one child may not work for another
- Different parents may require different strategies
- Some people are natural managers, others need to be taught
- Practicing self-control is a prerequisite for working with children
- Primary caretakers are more important to managing children than part-timers
- Belief and commitment to what you’re doing will make it more effective
- Limits are expressions of love
- What worked for our parents may not work for us
- Saying it should be the same as doing it.
- Practice what you preach
Have faith in your parenting skills. You too, may be a work in progress, but if you parent thoughtfully and sensibly, your children will respond.