10 Basic Principles of Good Parenting – Part 5

parents kissing babyThis is part five of 10 Basic Principles of Good Parenting post based on Laurence Steinberg’s book with the same title. Here are principles nine and ten with their major concepts also listed.

9. Explain your rules and decisions. “Good parents have expectations they want their child to live up to. Generally, parents over-explain to young children and under-explain to adolescents. What is obvious to you may not be evident to a 12-year-old. He doesn’t have the priorities, judgment or experience that you have.”

  • Make sure your expectations for your child are clear and that they are appropriate for your child’s age.
  • Children are more likely to follow the rules when they know the reasoning behind the rule. The following are general guidelines for what type of reasoning is necessary for children of different ages. Explanations need to be…
    • <6: Reasonable
    • 6-11: Reasonable and logical
    • >11: Reasonable, logical, and consistent with other things you have said or done.
  • “Because I said so” is not a reasonable explanation to give your children. This is a parent asserting their power of their child. Your child should respect you as the parent but should obey you because you are correct, not because you have power.
  • Take the time to hear your child’s point of view. This will help your child know their opinions matter and help them develop the skills to make correct decisions.
  • It is best to admit when you were wrong or made a mistake to teach your children by example.

10. Treat your child with respect. “The best way to get respectful treatment from your child is to treat him respectfully. You should give your child the same courtesies you would give to anyone else. Speak to him politely. Respect his opinion. Pay attention when he is speaking to you. Treat him kindly. Try to please him when you can. Children treat others the way their parents treat them. Your relationship with your child is the foundation for her relationships with others.”

  • Don’t just talk to your child, but talk with them. To have a two-way conversation with your child…
    • Pay attention to what your child is actually saying.
    • Ask for your child’s opinion or viewpoint.
    • Ask questions that require detailed answers.
    • Don’t interrupt.
    • Be genuine.
  • Enjoy the stage of development your child is in, don’t rush them to the next stage, and let them act their age.
  • Remember that children learn to treat others by the way they are treated at home by their parents. By treating your child with respect, they will learn to do the same with others.

These are 10 simple principles that, when applied, help parents build better relationships with their children and develop better parenting practices.

Nobody is perfect, so we can all work on becoming better parents for our children by reflecting on these principles and trying to more fully encompass them in our lives.

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