Every so often, a book comes out that truly shares our big-picture attitude about raising kids. What Great Parents Do: 75 Simple Strategies for Raising Fantastic Kids, by psychologist Erica Reischer, Ph.D., is packed with smart reminders about parenting priorities and how to actually do what you want to do. Here are a just few of her ideas that rang true for me.
A stands for Acceptance of your child, B stands for setting Boundaries, and C stands for Consistency. I particularly like the analogy of gravity that Dr. Reischer uses to describe the importance of being consistent with our kids about our expectations and how we respond to their behavior: “If, when you dropped something, it occasionally (or even once) did not fall down, you might keep dropping things to see if and when it would happen again. Kids whose parents are inconsistent will generally keep testing their parents’ limits and boundaries, since it’s part of learning how Mom and Dad work.” That makes sense.
I could have used this advice last night as I tried to stay positive when my daughter quickly got overwhelmed by her summer math homework. Dr. Reischer doesn’t mean you should let your kid get away with something anytime she offers an excuse, but to remind yourself that your child is “a work in progress with the intent to do better.”
Rather than just telling your child that she can do anything (whether it’s frustrating homework or growing up to be president), stay calm and to remind her that handling the tough stuff requires practice, patience, and perseverance.
That’s true for being a mom or dad, too. No one is perfect but that doesn’t mean you’re not already a great parent.
Diane Debrovner is the deputy editor of Parents and the mother of two girls.