Did you resolve to build a better relationship with your kids this year? Have more deep conversations? Then you'll be interested to know that the most important skill for parents in talking with kids is listening. What your kids need from you is your full attention and empathy.
Ask the Child Psychologist
The most important parenting skill is to manage yourself. Intervene before your own feelings get out of hand. Take care of yourself so you aren't venting on your kids. Stay calm, so you can access your own innate wisdom and generosity.
Go through each child's room with them and create a "give-away" box of gently used items to pass on to kids who need them. Don't force kids to share before they're ready. And don't force your kids to give things up "because others are needy." Giving shouldn't be painful.
It's the thought that counts, and the love that goes into it. No need to spend a fortune on gifts, your kids will love making them for grandparents, cousins and teachers, and the recipients will treasure them. Remember that your goal is to have fun with your child and give a token of affection.
I believe that the best advice on toilet training is that if the child is ready, it happens very easily. If not, a power struggle often ensues, since you can lead a child to the potty but you can't make him go. And we all know that no one wins a parent-child power struggle.
Want more family togetherness and deeper meaning this holiday season? First, just say no to everything that feels obligatory. Then pick a few traditions -- not a whole list. You'll find they gain meaning as you revisit them every year, regardless of whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanza, Christmas, or Solstice.
I often hear from women concerning their husband's kids from a prior relationship. They notice that Dads who don't live with their kids find it challenging to stay connected, and describe the difficulties of integrating these kids into the family when they come to visit.
Wouldn't it be terrific if you found yourself on January 1, rested, refreshed, and contented with your life? Does this fantasy seem alluring, but impossible? It isn't. More and more parents are saying no to the Holiday Frenzy and inviting connection, joy and reflection into their homes in December.
Strong willed children can be a challenge to parent when they're young, but if sensitively parented, they become terrific teens and young adults. They're self-motivated and directed, they go after what they want, and they are fairly impervious to peer pressure.
Children, like the rest of us, handle change best if it is expected and occurs in the context of a familiar routine. A predictable routine allows children to feel safe, and to develop a sense of mastery in handling their lives. As this sense of mastery is strengthened, they can tackle larger changes.