Finding Effective Alternatives to Spanking Your Kids

When your children misbehave, it's natural to feel angry and frustrated. Your kids learn by experiencing how you handle your anger. If you choose to spank them, they remember that hitting others is a way to express anger.

A recent study was published on corporal punishment and discussed in a Deseret News article. "The study, which reviewed two decades of research on spanking, found that physical punishment has no positive long-term effects and many negative effects. According to the report, children who are spanked are more likely to exhibit depression, aggression, anxiety, feelings of hopelessness, drug and alcohol use and general psychological maladjustment."

If you could respond to your children's misbehavior in a way that was more effective and powerful than spanking, would you do it?  Most parents agree they would stop spanking if they had something equally or more effective. 

April 30th is International SpankOut Day. It was started in 1998 to raise awareness of the problems with spanking children and to provide alternatives.  Today you can learn those alternatives by taking one of  Priceless Parenting's online parenting classes - Ages 5 and Under, 6 to 12 or 13 to 18.  Start today!

Understanding the Impact of Groups and Friends on Your Children

Children’s friendships are complex. One of the most heartbreaking things is to see your children struggling to make and keep friends. Friends are so very important to your children and it’s one area where you have limited influence.

In their book, Best Friends, Worst Enemies: Understanding the Social Lives of Children, the authors describe the importance of social groups for kids.
Groups are the highways of childhood. Our kids are swept along, going at the same speed as the majority of the traffic. If the other children in your child’s school are going fifty-five miles per hour, then your child can move among them at a safe speed. If the other students are traveling at seventy-five miles an hour, it will be difficult – and socially dangerous – for your child to go fifty-five. So he or she will speed up to stay alongside his peers and may not dare to pull over to the side of the road for a break, as it feels too dangerous when the traffic is moving that fast.
They then describe how interacting with friends compares to being part of the group.
Friendship, by contract, resembles the side streets and back roads of childhood. Friends can go at their own pace; they can stop when they want to; they can get away from the speeding traffic. A girl who likes makeup and boys when she’s at school can stop and play with dolls with an old friend who reminds her of that recently abandoned pleasure. In the shelter of friendship, children can move at their own developmental pace.
If your kids are struggling with friends, this book is a wonderful resource for understanding the intricacies of children’s friendships.

New Tool Makes Picking Up Small Toys a Breeze

Do your kids love to play with Legos or other toys with many small parts? Is it a bit of a hassle when it comes to cleaning up?

Amy Fazackerley, a mom of three boys, was frustrated by the difficulty in using plastic bins and sheets for storing her boys' Legos. She invented a solution showing how easy it is to use in this video (and just look at how cooperative her boys are in stopping playing!)

Older kids can use it themselves and it makes cleaning up faster and more fun!

Kids Who Drink at Home Drink More Everywhere

What are your thoughts about allowing your kids to drink alcohol at home? Some parents feel that letting kids drink at home gives them a safe place to try out alcohol. However, researchers have found that kids who are allowed to drink at home drink more everywhere.

A team of European researchers set out to test the theory that parents can guide their teenagers into drinking responsibly by serving them alcohol. They looked at 428 Dutch families with two children between the ages of 13 and 15.Parents and teens completed questionnaires on drinking habits at the outset and again one and two years later.

The study results, published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, found that the more teenagers were allowed to drink at home, the more they drank outside of home.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has established April 21st as the day to start talking to your teens about alcohol. Parents who talk to their teens about drinking have teens who drink less. April 21st was selected since MADD would like parents to encourage their kids to wait until they are 21 before drinking.

If you want ideas about talking to your kids about drinking, MADD offers a free handbook to get you started. Don't delay, start the conversation today!

Finding a Common Approach to Parenting

Children cause stress in relationships. After you had kids, did you find you had very little time for yourself? Are you amazed at how much time and energy your children take? Both parents often feel like they are giving more than 100%.

An even bigger source of stress comes from differing ideas on how to best respond to your children's behavior. Until you're in these parenting situations, it's hard to know how either of you will respond. The likelihood you'll naturally agree on how to parent? Very small.

Disagreements are common:
  • "You're too hard on him!"
  • "You let her get by with too much!"
If you want to find a common approach to parenting, taking a parenting class is a wonderful opportunity to explore the pros and cons of different styles. You'll have a basis for discussing what you like and don't like about various approaches.

You and your spouse/partner can now take an online parenting class from the comfort of your own home for just $59:
You'll discover ideas from world-class researchers and parenting experts. It’s a great investment in both your relationship with your children and with each other!

If you live in the Seattle area, you are invited to join me for a 6-week parenting class at Evergreen Hospital in Kirkland, WA. Two sessions are available starting:
  • May 14 7:00 PM (ages 1 to 11)
  • May 16 7:00 PM (ages 12 to 18)
Space is limited. You can learn more and register today.

Do Your Kids Deeply Understand the Reasons Behind the Rules?

Living peacefully in a civil society requires rules. For example, when teens are learning to drive they learn many rules like what to do at a stoplight and the maximum speed to drive. Rules provide guidance and allow us to anticipate other people's behavior.

Games children play also have rules whether it's UNO or baseball. There are rules which all players must follow in order to play fairly. Games aren't much fun if some players refuse to follow the rules.

The Temptation of the Forbidden

While rules can serve as helpful guidance, they can also feel like big locks hiding buried treasure that are ever so tempting to try to pick. What treasure is so special that it needs such a big set of rules to protect it?

Doesn't hearing "Don't peak!" just make you want to peak? Rules can sometimes make the forbidden behavior even more attractive. It certainly adds to the excitement if you decide to break the rule!

It's natural for your children to want to test out the rules. They are curious to know what will happen if this rule is broken.

(read the rest of the article at Priceless Parenting)

Motivating Children to do Their Homework

Some children are internally motivated to get their homework done. If you have one of these children, you are lucky! However, if your children would rather do anything but homework, they may need a little external motivation. According to Margit Crane from Gifted with ADD, your attention can provide the extra motivation they need to succeed.

Every kid enjoys a little special attention. You can help motivate your children when they are doing their homework by bringing in something to munch on while they are working like hummus and crackers, a fruit smoothie, carrot sticks or strawberries.

If your children struggle in an area, find a way to be their assistant but not their boss. For example, if your child has difficulty reading and comprehending, you might help by reading one paragraph and then having him read the next paragraph. If you are reviewing something he's written and see spelling errors, you could point out “I found three spelling errors. Can you spot them?”

If your child is struggling to get started or feels overwhelmed, help him break homework up into smaller chunks. Start with a small, easy piece and then build on the success. For example if your child needs to draw a picture and write a short story about it, ask your child what he’d like to start with – the picture or the story.

You want to provide guidance without doing the homework for them. The only way they will learn is when they do the work themselves. Some parents also find it helpful to hire a tutor for either general topics like math or special tests like PSAT tutoring.

Questions to Ask When Dropping Your Kids Off for a Play Date

Play Dates are an exciting opportunity for children to spend time with their friends. According to Kim Estes from Savvy Parents Safe Kids, when your dropping your child off, there are a few questions you probably want to ask to make sure you understand what will be going on.

Who will be home?
Don’t assume that whoever is home at the time of the drop off will also be there the entire time. One mom was shocked to find out that her 5-year-old had been left home alone with the other 5-year-old while the friend’s mom ran a quick errand.

When should I pick my child up?
It’s a good idea to review with your child on the pick-up routine with your child on the way over – help clean up, say thank you and leave.

What’s the plan?

Find out in general what the children will be doing during their time together.

Do you have guns in the house?
When one mom asked this question the other parent responded “We do have guns but I don’t even know where they are!” If the answer produces a “red flag warning”, consider having the kids play at your house instead.

What are your rules about TV and computers?
If the kids will have unsupervised access to TV or the internet, your child may end up viewing something you’d find inappropriate.

If your child has any allergies or special needs, be sure to let the other parent know this. Also leave your cellphone number just in case they need to reach you for any reason.

Avoiding Saying Things You Soon Regret and They Don’t Forget

When you’re angry, you are far more likely to say something mean spirited to your children. You may say something that you regret almost as soon as you’ve said it.

One mom was furious with her middle school child’s behavior during a basketball game. She was one of the coaches for the game and he ignored her instructions while also causing problems for the team.

On top of that, he had a poor attitude in the car on the way home. This is when she lost it, swore at him and yelled “You are a disgrace to our family!” After calming down she regretted what she had said and apologized. However, he still remembered this incident years later.

Next time you’re angry, try having the fit in your head – don’t say anything out loud. Silent self-talk can save you from saying things you’ll soon regret and they won’t forget.

Fostering Growth using the Mentoring Parenting Style

What is your normal parenting style?  Do you give your kids orders?  Do you do a lot of things for them that they are capable of doing thems...