As a parent who has successfully raised three wonderful kids to adulthood, I am now qualified to give my readers parenting advice––free of charge.
When I was a young mother, my father said, "Don't ever hit your kids, but don't ever let them think you won't."
I tried to follow this advice, but I was never able to make my dad's threatening face. It was the one that said, "Shape up, now!"
True to Dad's suggestion, we never spanked our kids; however, they knew we weren't going to also. As a result, we found successful discipline strategies that came in creative and silly doses. My favorite threat was the one concerning teeth. "If you don't ______________, we're not going to let you brush your teeth!"
Ooooh. This one scared our kids into doing what we wanted because what could be worse than not being allowed to brush your teeth? Furthermore, teeth brushing became a reward, rather than a fight to make them do it. Hint: Start this when the kids are young or it won't work.
Another silly punishment we used involved the love seat in our den. If our kids fought with each other, they had to sit on the love seat until they learned to love each other. They had two choices: get along or have the most miserable punishment ever.
The most important parenting advice I can give is for you to teach your children to take care of themselves. Next time your child has a problem with a coach or teacher, don't be in a hurry to rush in and fix it for them. Make your child deal with the problem his or herself. They should be the one to approach the adult and address their concerns, not you. You step in only as a last resort when their attempts do not work. Knowing how to talk to an adult has been my kids' greatest life skill. Please parents, don't hover!
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