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Being on the threshold of adulthood, your teen will be required to make umpteen decisions—-big or small, each day. Learning to use the decision-making process effectively, would help your teen to move steadily towards the goals set and help him/her to develop into a contributing, productive and successful adult.
Studies indicate that teenagers, who are consistently allowed to make decisions affecting themselves and who frequently participate in the family decision-making process, are more likely to feel confident, competent and better equipped to cope with life's challenges. These teens will ultimately mature and learn significant lessons from their successes and mistakes.
Here are 4 simple steps to help your teen in the decision-making process:
1.Model appropriate behavior
As a responsible parent, you are already proficient in decision-making skills. Let your teen see you making good decisions by weighing several pros and cons. By modeling this type of appropriate behavior, your teen will learn to follow suit and do likewise. Keep in mind that your teenager is fast becoming a perceptive individual forming his/her own judgments on various issues. Allowing your teen the freedom to sift through all the information he/she has gathered, could simplify the decision-making process for your teen.
2. Encourage connectivity
Connectivity is a two-way street; your teen needs to learn how to effectively connect with others—-family, teachers, relatives and friends. There's a lot your teen can learn through these communication. You could initiate frequent conversations and discussions pertaining to your teen's interest. Encouraging your teen to take the lead and arrive at making decisions, could raise his self-esteem and self-confidence.
3.Empower your teen
Help your child to feel empowered at home and school by allowing him/her to make decisions pertaining to long-term and short-term goals. By making independent decisions, your teen will be better able to make the right choices pertaining to the many issues and problems he may be required to face from time to time. Empowerment could trigger competence, generate independence and improve your teen’s performance, ultimately leading to greater success in all areas of life.
4. Avoid being judgmental
Be prepared that your teen, however competent he/she may be, could very likely make mistakes as a result of bad decisions made.It could happen that he/she may even be lead to undesired behavior. However, it's best that you avoid being judgmental or critical at all costs. Making mistakes does not make him/her a "bad" kid. Try to be tolerant of your teen's failings and use the unfortunate incidents, as a valuable lesson for your teen.
Parents, your guidance, encouragement and support can be most valuable in helping your teen to make good decisions eventually. By being respectful and not reproachful, your teen will learn to respect you, take you into confidence and be proud of your continual support. Provide your teen plenty of opportunities to think, decide, act and solve his/her own problems. In doing so, your teen’s decision-making process can be greatly enhanced.
Sources: Be a Parent, not a Pushover by MaryAnn Rosenthal
The Good Teen by Richard Lerner
The paradox today is that in spite of our advancement in every field of human endeavor, parents tend to overly protect their children and fail to set limits, impose discipline and say a firm "no" to their children.
Child-rearing experts have cited several cases where parents attempt to fulfill their child's every wish, whim and fancy; the result being, that children no longer obey their parents and lack the ability to live up to their parent's expectations. There have been warnings from psychologists and counselors urging parents not to turn their children into out-of-control brats. In a number of families, it is the children who seem to be running the homes as substantiated from the programs like 'Super Nanny.'
It is therefore advisable that under no circumstances, should parents underestimate their parental role or their powerful influence on their child. Some parents simply do not have the heart or the inclination to say no to their child for whatever their demands may be. However, parents need to understand that their reluctance to exercise authority is not an effective mode of parenting; on the contrary, they are failing to provide what their child needs most: Discipline. Discipline indeed, is the bedrock of good character and it can be the foundation for your child's future successes. So, how should parents say a firm "no" to their child?
Here are three basic tips on how to say no to your child:
1. Be realistic in your approach and approach. Allow your child to live and learn in a normal world. Avoid showering your child with undeserved praise like, "you are a genius" if he brings an A or "you are so wonderful" when he/she makes an attempt at homework. Children need to know that approval, praise and accomplishment, can only be forthcoming by effort and hard work.
2. Deal with your child's anxiety and fear in an appropriate manner. Let your child know that your love and respect will not be dependent on his/her failure or success. Tell him/her that as long as the intention and effort is there, its O.K. to make mistakes or fail; in fact, this could be the best way to learn and succeed.
3.Set clear rules and reasonable expectations of your child’s behavior. Use the far-fetching "power of no" and say no to your child—- even several times a day if required, instead of caving in to his/her demands. This will teach your child the most valuable lesson—- respect for your authority. Rules provide structure; your child needs it to refrain from seeking instant gratification.
Parenting is an exciting journey through life; make it a fruitful one for yourself and your child. Remember, there is no magic formula for parenting; nor is there perfect parenting. Accept your child's limitations and find balance between discipline and indulgence to best suit your family needs. By consistently adopting the above techniques, you will not only learn to effectively say no to your child, but also simultaneously teach him/her to accept your "no" gracefully.
Raising Respectful Children in a Disrespectful World by Jill Rigby
Being honest is the core element in maintaining all meaningful relationships. It is imperative for all parents to be honest with their kids. Your honest intent, your integrity and your sense of purpose, can be valuable tools to serve as guiding forces to your kids' future. By keeping this in focus, you would be better able to communicate the values which you think are most important and meaningful to you as parents.
Let us consider here WHY it is important for parents to be honest with their kids:
~ Develops a trusting relationship
All children thrive when they are able to trust their parents implicitly. The basic foundation for any trusting relationship is to be honest with each other. Kids today are sharp; they keep a tab of their parent's behavior and watch how much they adhere to the values they preach to their kids. It is how parents relate to their kids and the messages they convey through their daily inter-actions that can shape their kid's future.
~ Sets a good example
Parents hold a strong influence on their kids. Hence it is of primary importance that parents make every possible effort to set a good example to their kids. Most kids would like to emulate the behavior of their parents. Besides, if your kid has noticed you have been lying about anything either to your spouse or has heard you lying in your conversation to your friend or boss, your kid is bound to be disappointed and confused not knowing why you chose not to be honest. This unintentional outcome could have an adverse negative effect on your kid.
~ Helps kids to feel secure
Kids, whose parents refrain from lying to them about anything, are generally secure in their relationship with their parents. Kids who feel secure are more open in their communications with their parents; they are fully aware that 'honesty is the best policy.' Their parents freely and honestly discuss family matters with them like dad losing his job or mother having a health problem; such kids are better equipped to handle setbacks and disappointments in their lives in their later years.
~ Leads to kid's future successes
Kids, whose parents have been honest with them throughout their lives, have greater chances of success in their own personal, professional and social lives. These kids generally have high self-esteem and confidence. They turn out to be adults having strength of character and get to be highly respected members of the society.
Parents, who make every effort to be honest with their kids, are almost always successful in raising good kids- - -kids who have the potential of becoming responsible and productive adults. Honesty, which is one of the finest human qualities, can be administered by all parents regardless of race, religion or socio-economic status. All that is required of parents is an open heart and a willingness to make a positive difference in their kids' lives.
Source: Raising Happy, Confident Kids by Dr. Jenn Berman
A gift can be a natural expression of love for your family. During the Holiday Season, the art of gifting holds special significance both to the giver and the recipient. The essence of choosing great gifts lies in the degree of "thoughtfulness" that goes into the process of gifting. A gift carefully chosen, conveys the message of love and affection. Finding appropriate gifts—-especially for your family, is possible by anyone who is enthusiastically interested. The key is to give gift-finding a little thought and come up with the best of gift ideas.
Here are some keys to help you choose great gifts for your family this Holiday Season:
You could choose great gifts if you ensure that the gift is meaningful to the recipient. A meaningful gift pleases the recipient. Consider the age and the interest; observe and think awhile. Recognizing and acknowledging what he/she would value would be an important factor in choosing the gift. Your gift could be something small and inexpensive and yet could make the recipient very happy.
A great gift is eye-catching; it catches the recipient's attention; this kind of gifting requires giving attention to details. Perhaps the idea could spring from casual conversations made unawares by the family member. Or it could be linked to an inner desire or interest that had caught this person's attention.
A gift that reflects your loving attention could be most appreciated and treasured. Your thoughtfulness in spending time and individual effort is a valuable gesture in itself and adds to the ingenuity of the gift chosen. It could be a hand-knitted cardigan for your son or a hand-embroidered shawl for your daughter or a carefully compiled family album for your grandparents. Such gifts show your genuine care and thoughtfulness.
Spontaneous gift springs from the heart and carries with it the message of love and good-will. Such a gift delights the recipient as it is given out of love and the desire to make the recipient feel important; it generally conveys the message, "“you matter to me.” At most times, such spontaneous gifts are an expression of one's warm feelings towards those who are important in your life. These carry a simple message of appreciation, acknowledging the worthy place this person has in your life.
Gifts are best appreciated when they are received on time for special occasion. Timely gifts enhance its significance and purpose; it makes the person happy to be remembered and thought of kindly in a special way. Choosing great gifts is in itself a joy, a distinct privilege which we all could avail of. By putting into practice some of the above guidelines, you can perfect the fine art of gifting. How true it is that, “Gifting, in whatever form, is one of life’s greatest pleasures.” Rebecca Russell
Alas! Not many today, have the time or inclination to practice this fading art form.
Hope is a powerful ally in ushering peace, harmony and happiness not only individually, but more so, to the extent of encompassing the whole family. Instilling hope, is the greatest gift you can give to your family. Hope empowers people with renewed strength to go on cheerfully despite the circumstances. When negative forces begin to creep in and everything else fails, the element of hope could have a stabilizing effect on the entire family.
Hope has the power to strengthen the will; it can energize one's resolve to combat any limitations or obstacles. Most importantly, there is every possibility that hope can successfully create a suitable climate for finding rational solutions to your family's problems.
Here are some constructive ways to instill hope:
Hope is built on the foundation of a strong belief system. It ignites a belief that no matter how troublesome your current situation may be, there is every possibility of it taking a turn for the better. Example: A loved one, who is afflicted with a chronic medical condition or some dire circumstances, can greatly benefit from this super gift of love. By instilling hope, you are giving the person a new lease on life. You are helping that person to believe that 'this too shall pass'; there will be a better day.
Hope can inspire a person to 'never say die!' Harboring a strong belief system with hope, can tantamount to believing that there's always room for improvement if one stays open to imbibing fresh avenues in the right direction.
Simple and straightforward communication can be the most effective one. It can awaken and revitalize a person's deeply embedded latent spirit with 'hope.' By communicating effectively, you can inspire your family to follow their dreams, stand resolute with the courage of conviction and rouse themselves to action.
Listening attentively to their woes, can be one of the most important parts of communication. By simply listening sympathetically, you can lighten the burden and lead your family to discover that indeed every 'cloud has a silver lining!'
Creating a mental capacity- - - a vision, that a better tomorrow is possible and well within grasp, can compel your family to hold on to their hopes and dreams. Instilling hope in your children, could significantly impact their academic performance. It can spur them on to put in hard work and make good use of all available resources; it could infuse them with a sense of purpose and motivate them to attain greater success.
Hope can prompt your family to move beyond simple acceptance- - - making a concentrated effort to generate positive action and make a renewed effort to circumvent and beat the odds.
It has rightly been said that 'faith can move mountains.' Faith is an affirmative state of mind through which a person's thoughts, desires and goals can be translated into action. When hope is reiterated with faith, a person can find ways to weather the worst storm and open avenues to a brighter future. As a caring member of your family, you can help your loved ones to bounce back from a state of hopelessness by instilling hope.
Caring relationships like those between parents and children, can serve as fountainheads of hope. It can withstand many trials and tribulations and culminate in having a profound positive impact on people's lives.
While instilling hope in others, what counts most is your sincerity and dedication; this can make your family member’s lives a bit easier and better. The element of hope helps people to rebuild their lives and survive crisis in the worst of circumstances.
Today, many problems can be solved if family members learn to give of themselves freely. When this happens, many hopes can be fulfilled and many dreams can be turned into reality. Make sure to infuse your family with this magical ingredient, ‘Hope.’
Ways to have a Better Family Life
The core element to a better family life begins with you parents. The responsibility of creating a better life for your family rests on your shoulders. Every family is unique in its overall perceptions. However, irrespective of race, color, culture, socio-economic status or academic background, there are some common factors like health, prosperity and happiness all families aspire for in order to ensure a better family life for their loved ones. So what can you do to improve the family life for your children?
Here are 10 vital steps to a better family life:
1. Focus on your family
Its important that parents take time to focus on their family.Your family needs to practice caring, understanding and cooperation for the common good of all. Being successful in your career may be important; but it is all the more important to focus the needed attention on your family. Give your family the gift of uninterrupted time; remember: your presence is much more important than your presents
2. Set clear goals
Every family's perspective may differ on this issue; but it is necessary to come to an understanding and arrive at common goals based on family values like integrity, kindness, respect and compassion. These core values can strengthen family ties and are the prime factors in improving family life.
3. Make appropriate lifestyle changes
Making appropriate lifestyle changes for the whole family is critical to improving the quality of your family's life. Cutting back on excesses of any kind like smoking, drinking alcohol, late night partying or excessive use of television and internet can all be detrimental to family' well-being. Make it a habit for the whole family to follow a daily routine of eating, sleeping and doing chores at regular hours.
4. Maintain good health
Better family health is the fundamental step to a better family life. Developing healthy habits in children like getting adequate sleep, exercising regularly and eating nutritious meals, can all contribute towards maintaining good health. Children especially need to be educated on the value of eating the right foods and avoidance of junk food.
5. Communicate effectively
Good communication improves relationships. It is the key to a better, happier family life. When members of the family are polite and respectful to each other, harmonious relationships can be created. This leads to taking time to review the day's happenings, discuss any concerns and consider others viewpoints- - - all of which can lead to a better family life.
6. Prioritize family needs
Prioritizing family needs entails cutting back on some luxuries and giving careful consideration before spending. The money thus saved could perhaps come in handy to facilitate the need of any one of your family member due to some unforeseen circumstances. Example, an adult member may become physically handicapped or a younger child may need help in academics by way of tutoring. Under such circumstances, a better family life can only ensue by carefully weighing the pros and cons and prioritizing family needs.
7. Maintain financial stability
Financial stability can be maintained when each family member is made to understand the need to save for ‘a rainy day.’ To make this happen parents need to make sure that their finances are in order - - -in terms of family's income, expenditure, savings and debt. It would be a good idea to evaluate your family’s needs from time to time. Evaluate your current situation and write down the changes needed in your family's spending habits to ensure the financial stability of your family.
8. Provide a pleasant home environment
Creating a positive, safe home environment devoid of stress is important - - - especially while raising children. Keep a lively cheerful atmosphere; encourage sharing family activities like reading, singing, dancing and playing games together. Children need to be taught safety rules right from an early age; younger children need to be warned against the use of electrical gadgets and guided in the right direction.
A better family life also entails keeping in touch with the outside world. Enjoying the great outdoors and having fun together by organizing picnics to the park or visiting places of interest, can provide fun for the family and enhance the quality of family life. Try re-connecting with family friends and extended family to revitalize your social life.
10. Be good role model
Being a good role model to your children can be the most impressionable aspect of a better family life. By your words, behavior and actions, let your family take a giant step forward to making your home a haven they can return to time and again. Take time to teach your family important life skills; encourage their growing independence and appreciate their efforts in pursuit of a better family life.
Family members, who are genuinely concerned about others in the family, take pride in their family and share each other's joys and sorrows. They are loyal, considerate, patient, helpful and forgiving. They habitually pool in their best efforts to contribute to a balanced, happier and better family life. Spare no efforts to be a part of a loving, caring family; it is one of the sweetest joys of life.
Source: Living Life the Better Way by Rajendra Pillai