Over the years, I have gathered an arsenal of parenting ideas that actually work.  My plan is to present them to you in a clear, informative way.  These ideas have come from friends, family, parenting books and my own direct experience.  Naturally, I will not be highlighting my epic fails at parenting (i.e.- potty training).  This is only because I care about you and wish your children are/were potty-trained well before they near the age of four.  With whatever I present to you, I want you to always keep your individual approach to parenting in the forefront.  Of all the parenting advice I’ve ever encountered, I am most open to the ones that allow for my unique spin or allow for some wiggle room.  When advice is given as ‘this is the only way’, then it makes me lose confidence in it.  Life and parenting are too varied to have an ‘only way’ option.   So, please, take what I offer you with a grain of salt.

This past week I went to pick my eight year old up from a friend’s house.  When the friend’s mom opened the door, my son came out and instead of greeting me or thanking his host said, “What are you making for dinner?”  Shockingly, this did little to motivate me to bust out my culinary skills anytime soon.  I was completely underwhelmed by his lack of manners, too.

The friend’s mom shared this tip with me.  She said she has a rule in her house, if her kids want to ask her a question upon seeing her, they first must ask her how her day was.  Then, they must wait and listen to her answer before she fields their requests.

This sounded so brilliantly simple to me, that I immediately implemented this rule in our house.  My ten-year old quickly caught on, and my eight-year old is getting there.  It amazes me when they ask me about MY day.  I have been so focused on taking care of other people, that I sometimes forget that I actually have things happen to me that I might want to share.  I think this will be a good empathy builder for them over time.  It seems endless repetitions are the only way for my boys to learn something and this is a good, daily practice for them.

If you have any parenting tips like this one, please email me at:  diana@riverviewcounselingservices.com

I look forward to learning from you and hope to share your wisdom on this blog so other parents can benefit from it.

Written by Diana DeVaul, MSW and Parent

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