Life Skills Development/Unit One/Relationships/Lesson

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The beginnings of Parenthood ...


/==What is Parenting?== Parenting is the process of raising and educating a child from conception until adulthood. This is usually done in a child's family by the mother and father (i.e., the biological parents). Where parents are unable or unwilling to provide this care, it is usually taken on by close relatives (including older siblings) and grandparents, adoptive parents, foster parents, godparents, or institutions (such as group homes or orphanages). Parens patriae refers to the public policy power of the state to usurp the rights of the natural parent, legal guardian or informal caregiver, and to act as the parent of any child or individual who is in need of protection (i.e. if the child's caregiver is exceedingly violent or dangerous).

What makes a person a good parent?

Being a good parent means creating a loving, safe environment for your children as they grow from baby to toddler, right through to the teenage years. You'll need different skills for each stage, but at all times your child will depend on you. You'll become the expert on your child and on what they need to grow into happy, healthy adults.

Loving your child, with no strings attached, is the most important thing you can do. But you'll also have to make a huge number of decisions about the best way to bring up your child. Of course this responsibility brings joy and excitement - but it can be overwhelming, frustrating or even boring at times. Most people manage these emotional and practical challenges with a mixture of love help from relatives and friends, good advice, common sense and luck.

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Self Assessment

Question: Can poor parenting lead to psychiatric disorders in children?

Answer: Yes, say investigators from Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute. In an 18-year-long study of nearly 600 families, they found that kids who grew up with neglectful or abusive parents were significantly more likely to have mental problems later in life, regardless of whether there was a history of mental disease in their immediate family.

Researchers began the study in 1975 when they identified 593 families in two New York counties who were taking part in the Children in the Community Study. The average age of the children at the time was 6 years old. Maladaptive parental behaviour — defined by factors such as inconsistent enforcement of rules, loud arguments between parents, difficulty controlling anger at the child, low educational expectations, verbal abuse, etc. — was assessed via psychosocial and psychiatric interviews at the beginning of the study and then again in 1983, 1985-1986, and 1991-1993.

Results showed that most of the kids who experienced high levels of maladaptive parenting during childhood suffered from psychiatric disorders in adolescence or early adulthood. The researchers also found higher levels of maladaptive parenting among parents with psychiatric disorders. Children with parents who had psychiatric disorders but were still good parents fared no worse than those with parents who exhibited neither signs of mental illness nor poor parenting skills.

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Self Assessment

Child development: stages and how child learns

Question: What is learning?

Answer: Learning is to gain knowledge, understanding, or skill. (This is in accordance with the great Webster.) An even broader definition of learning is "any permanent change in behaviour that occurs as a result of a practice or an experience." This makes what is taught to our children even more important as it has the potential to have a lasting affect in their behaviour.

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Self Assessment

Question: How do children think?

Answer: Children are a bundle of ideas and thoughts. If you ever really look at your child you will see that these thought patterns are much different from that of an adult and can certainly be expressed in much different ways.

Therefore, there are four different stages of learning or development that each child experiences.

1. Sensorimotor

This is from the ages of birth to about two years old. During this time the child's primary mode of learning occurs through the five senses. S/he learns to experience environment. The child touches things, holds, looks, listens, tastes, feels, bangs, and shakes everything in sight. For this child the sense of time is now and the sense of space is here. When the child adds motor skills such as creeping, crawling, and walking--watch out--his/her environment expands by leaps and bounds. The child is now exploring their environment with both senses and the ability to get around.

This just doubled your job as a parent because now you need to start dealing with such things as protection and guidance. This mode of learning actually continues through the age of twelve, but becomes less acute as the years go by.

2. Preoperational

This is the stage between ages two and seven. During this stage the child is busy gathering information or learning, and then trying to figure out ways that they can use what they have learned to begin solving problems.

During this stage of his/her life your child will be thinking in specifics and will find it very difficult to generalise anything. An example would be a ball: A ball is not something that you use to play a game; it is just something that you throw.

This is the time when a child learns by asking questions. You will begin to think that if you hear the word ‘why’ just one more time that you will go crazy. The child generally will not want a real answer to his question at this point. For example, when he asks ‘why do we have grass?’ - He simply wants to know that it is for him to play in. No technical answers for now.

The child in this age group judges everything on the ‘me’ basis - How does it affect me? Do I like it? You get the idea! This child also has no ability to go back in time and reason. If you miss your opportunity to explain or punish when it happens - forget it for they have.

3. Concrete Operations Period

This is the period of time when your child is between the ages of seven to ten or eleven. This is a wonderful age as this is when children begin to manipulate data mentally. They take the information at hand and begin to define, compare, and contrast it. They, however, still think concretely.

If you were to ask a pre-operations child, "How does God hear prayer?" They would most likely answer that He has big ears. The concrete child would put a little more thought into it and answer something like this: "God is smart and he made some special earphones just so He could hear me."

The concrete operational child is capable of logical thought. This child still learns through their senses, but no longer relies on only them to teach him. He now thinks as well. A good teacher for this age group would start each lesson at a concrete level and then move toward a generalized level.

An example of this would be:

Statement: Joey is kind:
The teacher would start out by telling about what Joey did to be kind.(Concrete)
Then she would talk about how Joey went about being kind.(Less concrete/More general)
From there she would teach that Joey is kind.(General concept)
A seven to ten year old is very literal in their thinking. That means that he will take everything that you say, do, and teach at face value--What they actually and literally mean. BLACK is black and WHITE is white. These children have a difficult time with symbols and figurative language.

4. Formal Operations Period

This period begins at about age eleven.

At this time the child will break through the barrier of literalism and move on to thinking in more abstract terms. He no longer restricts thinking to time and space. This child now starts to reflect, hypothesize, and theorize. He actually thinks about thinking.

In the formal operation period, children need to develop cognitive abilities. The following is a list of six simple categories of cognitive abilities:

  1. Knowledge of facts and principals - this is the direct recall of facts and principals. Examples: memorization of dates, names, definition, vocabulary words.
  2. Comprehension - understanding of facts and ideas.
  3. Application - needs to know, rules, principles, and procedures and how to use them
  4. Analysis - breaking down concepts into parts.
  5. Synthesis - putting together information or ideas.
  6. Evaluation - judging the value of information.

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Self Assessment

Question: What are some key learning facts?


  1. A child rarely learns in isolation.
  2. Learning most generally takes place in a setting of children within the same age group.
  3. Some factors that affect learning are motivation, peer relationships within the group, and communication between the child and the teacher.
  4. Other factors are environment, physical setting, emotional atmosphere, and social and cultural norms.

The older children your child gets, the more capable s/he is of learning and storing information. The older our children get the more responsible we become in helping them to fine tune their new found capabilities.

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Self Assessment

Question: What are the stages in child development?

Answer: Stages of development in children:

4 years

  • Physical development
Can climb a ladder; walks up and down stairs with ease.
  • General Child behaviour
Fully toilet trained; can almost dress and undress self; eats with fork and spoon; washes and dries hands.
  • Language
Engages in coherent conversation; gives name, age and address; understands time.
  • Typical personality
Uses imagination to try out new things; increasingly self sufficient; lively and can share, but not always successfully.
  • Common normal ‘problems’
Noisy and assertive; willful; makes up stories; explores, wanders; shows off, swears.

5 years

  • Physical development
Runs quite well, right or left-handedness now fairly clear.
  • General behaviour
Dresses and undresses without aid; washes and dries face and hands; plays constructively; draws recognisable humans and houses; elaborate make believe group play.
  • Language
Speaks fluently and can count objects up to about 20.
  • Typical personality
Serious minded; practical; cooperative; learning to share; thrives on praise.
  • Common normal ‘problems’
Can tell fanciful tales (using imagination); swears; may still suck thumb.

6 years

  • Physical development
More skillful with hands; may be able to ride a bicycle; starts to lose first teeth and acquire permanent molars.
  • General behaviour
Casual and careless in washing and dressing; draws pictures with some supporting detail; knows left hand from right hand.
  • Language
Begins to read and prints letters and simple words; reads and writes numbers; adds and subtracts single digit numbers.
  • Typical personality
Excitable, impulsive and changeable; may seem rude or aggressive.
  • Common normal ‘problems’
Mild sex play; exhibitionism in toilet; fearful—sounds, ghosts, being lost; slow to follow instructions; wants to be first and to have the most; boasts.

7 years

  • Physical development
Shows some elementary skill in bat and ball games, skipping, hopscotch; can to learn to swim or to play musical instrument.
  • General behaviour
Shows increased awareness and understanding of the world around; polite and anxious to impress.
  • Language
Reads simple words and sentences; prints large and small letters; adds within 20 and subtracts within 10.
  • Typical personality
Quiet and thoughtful; shows sense of responsibility.
  • Common normal ‘problems’
Forgets instructions; “Nobody loves me”; jealous of older siblings getting more privileges; sex play but occurring less often.

8 years

  • Physical development
Physical play very lively; sporting skills develop markedly.
  • General behaviour
Bathes, dresses, sleeps and eats well; talks to strangers; takes part in team sports; drawings show some proportion and perspective.
  • Language
Reads with understanding; learns running writing; starts to add and subtract two or three digit numbers and multiply and divide single digit numbers.
  • Typical personality
Self reliant, sociable and outgoing; active; may be critical of others; popularity and success are very important outside the family; aware of own failures.
  • Common normal ‘problems’
Failure hard to cope with; tempted to cheat; does not finish tasks and may cry if failure is mentioned.

9 years

  • Physical development
Adept with hands and fingers; special skills such as in sport and music become evident.
  • General behaviour
Well behaved; perseveres in work or play; self-sufficient and may enjoy being alone.
  • Language
Masters basic techniques of reading, writing, adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing; reads stories and writes brief letters to relatives.
  • Typical personality
Sensible; self motivated; may be shy in social situations; may talk about sex information with friends; interested in body organs and functions; less afraid of dark; not afraid of water.
  • Common normal ‘problems’
Worried and anxious; has physical complaints such as stomachaches and headaches when has to do disliked tasks; rebels against authority; sex swearing beginning; perseveres with tasks.

10 years

  • Physical development
Has natural command of basic physical skills such as dressing, feeding, ball games and bike riding.
  • General behaviour
Quite the little adult—able to shop alone, go to school camps; asks about social issues.
  • Language
Reads well; does long multiplication and long division by one digit numbers; writes stories up to about a page in length.
  • Typical personality
Cool, calm and collected; generally a peaceful age; accepts parent’s word as law.
  • Common normal ‘problems’
Interest in smutty jokes and name-calling and may physically fight with siblings.

11-12 Years

  • Physical development
Early adolescence; rapid physical change with the development of pubic hair, breasts in girls, pimples and gawkiness.
  • General behaviour
Develops strong sexual feelings; concern with own identity and values; wants to be listened to and taken seriously; experiments and takes risks; questions parents’ values.
  • Language
Continues to develop language and numerical skills.
  • Typical personality
Impulsive; strong emotions; large mood swings; self-conscious; relates strongly to age mates; less dependent on family; wants more privacy.
  • Common normal ‘problems’
Takes risks; rebellious; over sensitive about appearance; over optimistic; confident; unrealistic; preoccupation with sexual matters; doesn’t want to join in family activities.

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Self Assessment

Question: What are some tips on parenting teenagers?

Answer: Perhaps the only thing more difficult than being a teenager is parenting one.

While hormones, the struggle for independence, peer pressure, and an emerging identity wreak havoc in the soul of the adolescent, issues of how much autonomy to grant, how much "attitude" to take, what kind of discipline is effective, which issues are worth fighting about, and how to talk to offspring-turned-alien challenge parental creativity, patience, and courage.

If adolescence can be conceptualized as a journey from childhood to adulthood, parenting adolescents can also be thought of as a journey.

To guide a child to adulthood, to ingrain values, to help negotiate social relationships, and to see new ideas, ideals, goals, and independence emerge in a child can be the adventure of a lifetime. Like any adventure, the thrill is in the journey.

Challenges conquered sweeten success, and while failure is in part unavoidable, no one can know how the balance of success and failure measures out until the journey is complete. As long as the journey continues, there is hope: a chance to turn failures into success, weaknesses to strengths.

Like any adventure, the challenges are unique to each traveler. Even the same parent will experience different challenges as each child is guided through adolescence. Because each journey is unique, there is no way to smooth all the bumps, anticipate all the challenges, or detonate all the land mines beforehand. However, there are aspects of the journey that appear to be universal.

Although teenagers will make their own choices, a good home life can increase the odds that kids will avoid many of the pitfalls of adolescence. Particularly, a kind, warm, solid relationship with parents who demonstrate respect for their children, an interest in their children's activities, and set firm boundaries for those activities may directly or indirectly deter criminal activity, illegal drug and alcohol use, negative peer pressure, delinquency, sexual promiscuity, and low self-esteem.

There is not only growing consensus that some parenting techniques are better than others, but also contribute to the development of emotional stability and social responsibility in children.

There are three major areas that are crucial to the parent-adolescent relationship – connection, monitoring, and psychological autonomy.

  1. A sense of connection between a teenager and parent provides a backdrop against which all other interaction takes place. If the parent-child connection is consistent, positive, and characterized by warmth, kindness, love, and stability, children are more likely to flourish socially. Adolescents who describe their relationship with their parents as warm, kind, and consistent are more likely to initiate social interaction with other adolescents and with other adults. They are more likely to respond to others positively and with greater empathy. They are more likely to be self-confident in their relationships with others, and to be more cooperative with others. Also, teens with these kinds of positive relationships with their parents on the whole struggle less with depression, and have higher self-esteem. Relationships characterized by kindness and devoid of unkind words or acts appear to be important to healthy adolescent development.
  2. The Monitoring Process is crucial to successful parenting. Teenagers who report that their parents take a genuine interest in their activities are more likely to avoid trouble. Teens whose parents know who their friends are and what they do in their free time are less likely to get into trouble than their peers. In the context of a warm, kind relationship, parental monitoring of teen activities comes across as caring rather than intrusive. Teenagers whose parents monitor them are more likely to avoid activities like lying, cheating, stealing, and using alcohol and illegal drugs. Parental monitoring of adolescent behavior inhibits not only the opportunity for delinquent activity, but negative peer pressure to be involved in such activity as well.
  3. Parental encouragement of psychological autonomy development. Psychological autonomy is nurtured in children when parents genuinely respect their teen's ideas, even when the ideas are contrary to their own.

Encouraging independent thinking and the expression of original ideas and beliefs, validating feelings, and expressing unconditional love are ways to nurture psychological autonomy. The opposite of psychological autonomy is psychological control, which is characterized by changing the subject, making personal attacks, withdrawing love, or inducing guilt to constrain intellectual, emotional, or psychological expression by the adolescent that is incongruent with the parent's way of thinking. Adolescents who report that their parents are likely to use techniques associated with psychological control are more apt to struggle with depression and to exhibit anti-social behavior.

The combination of connection, monitoring, and psychological autonomy may sound simple, but the simplicity of the directions can be frustrating to navigators when they are lost. Translating general ideas into specific behaviors, and then into patterns of interaction can be a challenge, especially if one or both parties are already entrenched in less productive patterns of interaction. The task of establishing a warm, caring, positive, relationship characterized by kindness with a teenager whose favourite phrases are "you just don't understand" and "leave me alone" can be daunting.

While it is true that one of the main developmental tasks of adolescence is to separate from parents, and that peer influence takes on greater and greater importance during teen years, there is still no substitute for the parent-teen relationship.

It is important to spend time with teenagers.

Parents who wish to enhance their connection with their teenager often find that choosing leisure activities wisely can do much to further the cause. In addition to the opportunity to spend time together amiably, engaging teenagers in fun activities that foster sportsmanship, service, creativity, intellectual development, etiquette, honesty, and respect for each other brings all of those aspects into the parent-child relationship, providing an enjoyable forum for both teenagers and parents to practice those skills with one another.

Engaging in recreational activities with teenagers is a way to connect regularly in a pleasant setting. Regular, positive interaction is crucial if discipline is to be effective. When the parent/child relationship is built on a foundation of warmth and kindness, it can withstand the unpleasantness of discipline. Parties to relationships void of such a foundation often either disengage or become conflicted in the face of the uncomfortable consequences imposed by discipline.

Spending leisure time together also gives parents a leg-up on the monitoring process. First, it cuts down on the amount of free time kids spend without supervision. Second, discussions about friends and other leisure activities tend to come up easily, and can be discussed in a relaxed atmosphere. Often, parents get a chance to know their teenager's friends through recreational activities, either by attending school or team performances in which their child is involved with friends, or by allowing a child to invite a friend along on a family outing.

Perhaps the most difficult thing about the monitoring process is that it is a delicate balance between too much and too little, and it requires the energy to set firm limits when it would just be easier to let things slide. It requires continued vigilance on the part of parents to ensure that they know where children are and what they are doing. It also requires that parents enforce consequences when family rules are broken. Although discipline is genuinely unpleasant for all involved, attention to monitoring activities and providing consequences for inappropriate behavior on a daily basis will alleviate major heartache later.

Parents should remember that the prime directive of adolescence ("independence or bust") prohibits teenagers from admitting that having parents set firm boundaries is actually reassuring.

Adolescence is a time of change and upheaval.

Family rules and boundaries can provide a sense of stability to teens that are struggling to decipher relationships, roles, and even their own personalities. Although they may protest loudly against being required to live up to certain standards, when they have a hand in crafting those standards, and when those standards are demanding but fair, teenagers will flourish. Having something steady, firm, and predictable in a head-spinning world is like being handed a map, with NORTH plainly marked. Clear boundaries and standards are the gauge by which all other information is measured.

Disciplining teenagers is difficult, but it is critical if teens are to learn that their behavior has consequences.

Engaging children in the process of setting the rules can eliminate some of the odiousness of enforcing rules and assigning consequences before the rules are broken.

When parents include teenagers in establishing clear rules about appropriate behavior and consequences, the arguments over rules and punishment can be brought to an end. Children can no longer claim that punishments or expectations are unfair, and parents can take on the role of calmly enforcing the pre-arranged consequences instead of having to impress upon the child the seriousness of the problem and scramble to find an appropriate punishment.

The temptation to react emotionally when children break rules is alleviated because a breach of the rules is no longer perceived as an assault on parental authority, since it is by the authority of the family, not the authority of the parents, that the rules were established. Helping to set the rules may not dissuade teenagers from breaking them sometimes, but it can help parents to avoid a power struggle with their teenagers.

Another big trap in parent-teen relationships is the confusion of psychological control (the opposite of psychological autonomy) with discipline. Demanding a certain level of behavior of children does not exclude allowing, or even encouraging them to think and express opinions different than one's own.

Too many parents get caught up in focusing on controlling their child, believing that controlling the way their child thinks will translate into controlling what their child does. By using guilt, withdrawing love, or invalidating feelings or beliefs, the parent hopes to make the child see things the parent's way, ensuring compliance with parental expectations.

There is a fine line here; one of the roles of parents is to help children make sense of the world by offering explanations or interpretations of events. It is when these parental offerings take on the tone of exclusiveness – when parents cannot respectfully consider and discuss a teenager's interpretation of his or her own experience – that psychological control has taken over.

Parents should also be aware that it is the teenager's perspective on the forcefulness of the suggestion that counts. Psychological control is damaging if the teenager, regardless of parental intention, perceives it as excessive. While a parent may feel that a discussion has taken on the tone of a healthy debate, to a teenager the same interchange can feel absolutely crushing.

Interestingly, boys are more likely to report that their parents squelch their psychological autonomy than are girls. Whether this is a difference in the way parents actually relate to teenage boys versus teenage girls, or whether it is a difference in perception of boys versus girls is unclear.

When discipline becomes a matter of calmly enforcing family rules about behavior, many of the problems associated with psychological control are alleviated.

When children have a problem with delinquency, parents generally tend to respond to it with less behavioral control, and more psychological control as time goes by. This appears to set up a vicious cycle, as teenagers respond to both lack of monitoring and the presence of psychological control by acting out or becoming more delinquent.

If parents can break this cycle by treating delinquent behavior with increased monitoring rather than attempting to control it by inducing guilt, withdrawing love, or other means of psychological control, teenagers are more likely to respond with better behavior.

In short, parents who concentrate on trying to control their child's behavior rather than trying to control their child are going to have much more success and a lot less grief.

Parents, who expect that children will sometimes act in ways that are inappropriate or undesirable, but prepare for such behavior by involving their children in the formulation of rules and consequences, may discover that the joy is in the journey, and heaven is found along the way.

Parents would do well to concentrate on a three-pronged approach to managing the journey.

First, a positive relationship with their child is essential to success. When parent-child interactions are characterized by warmth, kindness, consistency, respect, and love, the relationship will flourish, as will self-esteem, mental health, spirituality, and social skills.

Second, being genuinely interested in children's activities allows parents to monitor behavior, which is crucial in keeping teens out of trouble. When misbehavior does occur, parents who have involved their children in setting family rules and consequences can expect less flack from their children as they calmly enforce the rules. Parents who, together with their children, set firm boundaries and high expectations may find that their children's abilities to live up to those expectations grow.

Third, parents who encourage independent thought and expression in their children may find that they are raising children who have a healthy sense of self and an enhanced ability to resist peer pressure.

Parents who give their teenagers their love, time, boundaries, and encouragement to think for themselves may find that they actually enjoy their children's adventure through adolescence.

As they watch their sons and daughters grow in independence, make decisions, and develop into young adults, they may find that the child they have reared is, like the breathtaking view of the newborn they held for the first time, even better than they could have imagined.

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Self Assessment

Question: What are some ways of disciplining teens?


  1. Define the boundaries before they are enforced. Teens have the right to know what is and is not acceptable behavior before they are held responsible for breaking the rules. You cannot say, "You have to be in by 11:00 p.m." and not tell your teens what the consequences are for being fifteen minutes late, thirty minutes late, or one hour late. If you are going to enforce curfew by the minute, then say so. If you are going to have a fifteen-minute grace period before they are officially late, then say so. Either way let them know in advance what the consequences are for breaking curfew.
  2. Avoid making impossible demands. Sure all parents would love their kids to take extra courses, get high exam scores, and have 4.0 report cards. But few teens are capable of being whizzes in the classroom. Even in this era of grade inflation, a straight-A report card is still a rare event in school these days. By the same token, some dads want to relive their glory days on the gridiron, so they place subtle pressure on their sons to be football and cricket players when in actuality they contribute to the team in a backup role. Parents should set the bar, but it takes a thoughtful parent to place the bar just high enough to push his or her teen to greater heights without deflating the ego. Is your teen performing at a level that makes sense for his or her gifts and abilities? If so, you have set the bar at the right height.
  3. Distinguish between irresponsibility and willful defiance. Teens can act goofy sometimes or like little Machiavellians. There is a difference between irresponsibility, such as leaving the car windows down overnight when a rainstorm hits, and willful defiance, such as coming in after midnight when he knew full well he should have been home an hour earlier. This is an area where you can show grace – God's grace – as you effectively discern what your teen's motives were for his or her acts of negligence or defiance.
  4. When defiantly challenged, respond with confident decisiveness. Intuitively you know the difference between irresponsibility and willful defiance, and when your teen has thrown down the gauntlet, you must respond in kind. It is suggested that when children "make it clear that they are looking for a fight, you would be wise not to disappoint them!" When nose-to-nose confrontations happen, it is extremely important to know ahead of time what you will do in order to respond confidently.
  5. Reassure and teach after the confrontation is over. Remember how you hugged your toddler after a spanking to let him know that everything was going to be all right? You do not spank teens, of course, but they still need to hear your reassurance that you love them. You may need to remind them of the ways they can avoid correction or punishment in the future. Teens never outgrow their need for reassurance after times of discipline.
  6. Let love be your guide! It does not do any good to get into a shouting match. Sure, your teens will do things to make you angry, but you must keep your cool. During these few remaining years they live under your roof, you have a powerful opportunity to model adult ways of handling conflict, which will help them in the workplace and in their relationships in the future.

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Self Assessment

Question: How Can You Help A Child Learn Self-Control?

Answer: It is possible to help a child foster self - control. The following are but a few suggestions on how you can help your child learn to control his or her behaviour at various points in their development:

  • Birth to age 2: Infants and toddlers frequently get frustrated because there is a large gap between the things they want to do and what they are actually able to do. They often respond to those frustrations with temper tantrums. You may be able to prevent your child from having an outburst by distracting him or her with toys or other activities. By the time your child is 2 years old, you may want to use a brief time-out (when your child is taken to a designated time - out area - a kitchen chair or bottom stair - for a minute or 2 to calm down) to show that there are consequences for outbursts. Time-outs can also teach your child that it's best to take some time alone in the face of frustration, instead of throwing a temper tantrum.
  • Ages 3 to 5: At this stage, you may want to continue to use time-outs. But rather than sticking to a specific time limit, it is a good idea to end time-outs as soon as your child has calmed down. This can be an effective way to encourage your child to improve his or her sense of self-control. It is also a good idea to praise your child for not losing control in situations that are frustrating or difficult.
  • Ages 6 to 9: As your child enters school, he or she will likely be able to understand the idea of consequences and that he or she can choose good or bad behaviour. It may help your child to imagine a stop sign that he or she needs to obey and think about a situation before responding. You may want to encourage your child to walk away from a frustrating situation for a few minutes to cool off instead of having an outburst.
  • Ages 10 to 12: Older children are typically able to better understand their feelings. Encourage your child to think about the situation that is causing him or her to lose control and then analyze it. You may want to explain to your child that sometimes the situations that are upsetting at first do not end up being as awful as they first seem. You may want to urge your child to take some time to think before responding to a situation.
  • Ages 13 to 17: At this point, your child should be able to control most of his or her actions. But you may need to remind your teen to think about long-term consequences of his or her actions. Continue to urge your teen to take time to evaluate upsetting situations before responding to them. Also encourage your child to talk through troubling situations rather than losing control, slamming doors, or yelling. At this point you may need to discipline your child by taking away certain privileges, for example, to reinforce the message that self-control is an important skill.

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Self Assessment

Question: What are some Parenting Tips for Fathers?


Ten Ways to be a Better Dad

  1. Respect your child’s mother. One of the best things a father can do for his children is to respect their mother. If you are married, keep your marriage strong and vital. If you are not married, it is still important to respect and support the mother of your children.
  2. Spend time with your children. How a father spends his time tells his children what is important to him. Treasuring children often means sacrificing other things, but it is essential to make time for your kids. Kids grow up so quickly and missed opportunities are forever lost.
  3. Earn the right to be heard. All too often the only time a father speaks to his children is when they have done something wrong. Begin talking with your kids when they are very young and take time to listen to their ideas and problems.
  4. Discipline with love. All children need guidance and discipline, not as punishment, but to set reasonable limits. Remind your children of the consequences of their actions and provide meaningful rewards for desirable behavior.
  5. Be a role model. Fathers are role models to their kids, whether they realize it or not. A girl who spends time with a loving father grows up knowing she deserves to be treated with respect. Fathers can teach sons what is important in life by demonstrating honesty, humility, and responsibility.
  6. Be a teacher. A father who teaches his children about right and wrong, and encourages them to do their best, will see his children make good choices.
  7. Eat together as a family. Sharing a meal together can be an important part of family life. It gives kids the chance to talk about what they are doing and is a good time for fathers to listen and give advice. Most importantly, it is a time for families to be together each day.
  8. Read to your children. Begin reading to your children when they are very young. Instilling your children with a love for reading is one of the best ways to ensure they will have a lifetime of personal and career growth.
  9. Show affection. Children need the security that comes from knowing they are wanted and loved by their family. Parents, especially fathers, need to feel comfortable and willing to hug their children. Showing affection every day is the best way to let your children know that you love them.
  10. Realize that a father's job is never done. Even after children are grown and leave the home, they will still look to their fathers for wisdom and advice. Fathers continue to play an essential part in the lives of their children as they make decisions about schooling, new jobs, and as they grow and, perhaps, marry and build their own families.

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Self Assessment

Question: What are some parenting Tips for Non-Married Fathers?


  • Children need to feel loved by both parents and know that they do not have to choose one parent over the other.
  • Keep a flexible routine and leave room for spontaneity. Help your child feel that he has two homes, mom's and dad's, where he feels free to come and go. Live as close to each other as possible.
  • Talk to each other and keep focused on the subject of your children. Children should not serve as the direct line of communication between the two of you.
  • Take the anger out of your communications. Do not use your child as a way to get back at each other or validate your anger with each other.
  • Get help dealing with the inevitable anger from a broken relationship. Learn to communicate in a less reactive, more proactive, way.
  • Help to prepare your child for visits. Be positive about the experience.
  • Share information. Have a calendar with all the family engagements written on it and let the other parent know of any changed plans.
  • Set up a system for monthly phone calls or meetings with a specific list of required issues to discuss.
  • Never talk badly about the other parent in front of your children.

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Self Assessment

Question: Can parenting be linked to delinquency in African American children?


Delinquent Children of Delinquent Parents'

Addressing this issue from a realistic perspective, children only become delinquent as a result of delinquent parenting. Studies show that preventing a child from becoming delinquent must begin with good parenting skills and by understanding what reasons children stray toward delinquency. Some of the most common reasons are below:

  • Children are harbouring bitterness and anger toward one or both parents.

Why children harbour anger toward a parent can be the result of a recent divorce or break-up of the parents or even a new marriage, and they may feel mistreated or neglected by the parent as compared to others.

These are legitimate reasons for a child to show anger toward a parent simply because many parents are not aware how to relate to their child in such situations. These are normally times for the parent to grow and learn and they often forget about the child's growth.

  • An argumentative household where the parents argue and curse at one another will quickly give any child a complex.

They become defensive because this is normally the mood in the house when one parent is defending him or herself against the other. Children take this mood and incorporate it into their character and it surfaces at school and around friends, which leads to hostile social relationships.

  • The parents are juvenile or delinquent in their own behaviour.

When adults act under their age range by participating in reckless lifestyles, such as having the "party" mentality, entertaining many friends in the home with alcohol and or doing drugs, the child will believe this life is a normal behaviour.

They will adopt many of their parent's traits and grow to live the same lives. When parents do such things as steal cable, watch bootleg movies, purchase stolen goods, cheat on taxes or any other system of society, the child will take notice and believe that every one cheats, drinks, does drugs, and or parties.

  • The child is left alone for hours and maybe days at a time.

More often than reported, children are left to fend for themselves. There have been reports from school authorities that children come to school with bad hygiene, malnourished because no one is home to cook or there is no food in the house, in addition to the physical abuse of children teachers notice.

Even when children are left at home alone for three to 4 hours everyday because the parent is working they can become bitter overtime for feeling neglected and unloved. Children need to feel love from their parents or they will seek it elsewhere.

  • Children are not disciplined effectively.

Despite what mainstream culture passes as modern day discipline for children, i.e., timeout discipline, child-parent contracts, and restricting and confiscating play-things, as opposed to a good ole' spanking and a two hour lecture afterward about what is acceptable and what is not.

Not to imply that spanking cures all, but if it is practiced early on when children are very young like two and 3, there is a better chance that that child will heed all warnings afterward and well into their teen years. A parent may never have to spank their child again if the rules and hierarchy of authority is enforced from the beginning.

  • Children get bitter when they feel the parent is showing favouritism toward other siblings or someone new to the family such as a new spouse or a boyfriend or girlfriend.

Many parents are guilty of this and do not realize that it truly affects the child. Children see more affection and attention being given to another and they experience jealousy, which leads to resentment.

When any of the above issues go unresolved they become deep-seated disorders within a child. Low self esteem, depression, and disrespect become entrenched in the child and they display their anger in forms of rebellion. Not all acts of juvenile delinquency result in court and or jail time, but can resort to drug use, teen pregnancies, and runaway's, even suicide.

Once the problems become deep-rooted, the child seeks to fill the voids left by parents. There are hundreds of immoral and illegal acts that children find to fill these voids and by the time they begin to practice them it is almost too late to re-establish the parent-child bond. When the bond is permanently broken the relationship becomes a power struggle between the parent and the child, which often leads to either violence or the parent disowning the child.

There are many cases where parents have tossed their child into the world too early because they have failed to raise that child properly and it is too late to start again. There is no such thing as a child who is born a bad seed, but there is something called bad parenting.

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Self Assessment

Question: What are some good parenting tips?

Answer: Raising kids today is arguably harder than ever before, but there are some ways to help ease the stress and strain of raising your little ones and prevent behaviour problems through good parenting.

  1. Establish "together time". Establish a regular weekly routine for doing something special with your child – even if it is just going out for ice cream
  2. Do not be afraid to ask where your kids are going and who they will be with. Get to know your kid’s friends – and their parents – so you are familiar with their activities.
  3. Try to be there after school when your child gets home.
  4. Eat together often. Meals are a great time to talk about the day and bond.
  5. Be a better listener. Ask and encourage questions. Ask your kid’s input about family decisions. Showing your willingness to listen will make your child feel more comfortable about opening up to you.
  6. Do not react in a way that will cut off further discussion. If your child says things that challenge or shock you, turn them into a calm discussion.
  7. Be a living, day to day, example of your value system. Show the compassion, honesty, generosity and openness you want your child to have.
  8. Know that there is no such thing as "do as I say, not as I do" when it comes to your kids.
  9. Examine your own behaviour.
  10. Reward good behaviour consistently and immediately. Expressions of love, appreciation, and thanks go a long way – even for kids who think themselves too old for hugs.
  11. Accentuate the positive. Emphasize what your kid does right. Restrain the urge to be critical. Affection and respect will reinforce good (and change bad) behaviour. Embarrassment or uneasiness will not.
  12. Create rules. Discuss in advance the consequences of breaking them. Do not make empty threats or let the rule-breaker off easy. Do not impose harsh or unexpected new punishments.
  13. Set a curfew. Enforce it strictly, but be ready to negotiate on special occasions.
  14. Have kids check in at regular times. Give them a phone card, change or even a pager, with clear rules for using it.
  15. Call parents whose home is to be used for a party. On a party night, do not be afraid to stop in to say hello (and make sure that adult supervision is in place).
  16. Listen to your instincts. Do not be afraid to intervene if your gut reaction tells you something is wrong.
  17. Let your children know how much you care in every situation you can, and especially when they are having problems.
  18. Keep a positive attitude about your ability to be a parent. Trust your instincts.
  19. Take care of yourself. Meet your needs for support with other adults so you can establish healthy parent-child boundaries.
  20. Take time to teach your children values while they are young. Live your own values every day.
  21. Make your home a safe, secure, and positive environment. Provide appropriate privacy for each family member.
  22. Get involved in your child’s school, your neighbourhood, and your community. You, not the teachers and other authority figures in your child’s life, are responsible for parenting your child.
  23. Set clear rules and limits for your children. Be flexible and adjust the rules and limits as they grow and are able to set them for themselves.
  24. Follow through with consequences for your children’s misbehaviour. Be certain the consequences are immediate and relate to the misbehaviour, not your anger.
  25. Let your children take responsibility for their own actions. They will learn quickly if misbehaviour results in unpleasant natural consequences.
  26. Be a guide for your children. Offer to help with homework, in social situations, and with concerns about the future. Be there to help them direct and redirect their energy and to understand and express their feelings.
  27. You are separate from your child. Let go of the responsibility for all of your children’s feelings or outcome of their decisions. Your children’s successes or failures are theirs, not yours.
  28. Provide an environment for your children where a foundation of mutual appreciation, support, and respect is the basis of your relationship into their adult years.

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