Thinking ahead, avoiding problems

• Write down your parenting goals. Be specific about behaviors, principles and long-term outcomes that are important to you. It’s easier to anticipate, plan and prevent problems when you know what you’re trying to achieve!

• Involve your children in discussions of your family’s goals, values and priorities.

• Review your parenting goals from time to time. Keep your long-range goals in mind, especially when dealing with day-to-day issues and events.

• Think prevention! Focus on encouraging positive behavior, rather than looking for ways to punish or react to misbehavior.

• Anticipate what you’ll want in various situations. Anticipate what your kids will want in those situations. Look for ways to accommodate both sets of needs.

• Communicate the kind of behavior you’re looking for. Ask for what you want. Be specific and clear.

• Respond to misbehavior less reactively. Use conflicts as opportunities to learn new approaches or ways to prevent further conflict.

• Look for solutions, not blame.

• Remember that all behaviors happen in the context of your relationship. Keep the emphasis on the relationship—hopefully, it will be there long after a particular behavior is no longer an issue.

Excerpt from The Parent’s Little Book of Lists: Do’s and Don’ts of Effective Parenting, by Dr. Jane Bluestein, © 1997, Health Communications, Inc., Deerfield Beach, FL.

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