How many times have you stood face to face with your child, and thought to yourself: Where do we go from here? How can I help my child out of this situation? What approach should I take to become a good parent? Every parent has countless experiences such as these, for example when their child stands in the middle of the mall or supermarket and demands that something is bought for them, starts crying and screaming to the point of a tantrum that includes lying on the floor and flailing around.
At moments like this, we often think: I wish I had a parenting manual to tell me what to do, one that has been proven to work and that has clear rules that tell me where to start and how to deal with each and every situation. Well, you’ll probably be happy to hear that we’ve come across something that’s as close to a parent “handbook” as we can get, and we simply call it "The Ten Commandments of Good Parenting".
The man behind this tool is Dr. Lawrence Steinberg, an esteemed professor of psychology at Temple University in Philadelphia, USA - one of the largest and leading professional training institutions in the US. In his famous book, The Ten Basic Principles of Good Parenting, Steinberg breaks down 75 years of research. Parenthood, emphasizes Dr. Steinberg, is one of the most studied fields in the social sciences field, and the research evidence for the rules and principles he has formulated in his book are very consistent and clear.
Steinberg's approach, based on the extensive professional knowledge he has acquired over the years, says that good parenting should encourage caring, sincerity, self-control, kindness, cooperation, and joy of life in the child; as well as features such as intellectual curiosity, motivation, and achievement. All these help to protect children from the development of anxiety, depression, eating disorders, anti-social behaviors and more. So if you relate to these important things, and understand that Dr. Steinberg's principles are valuable, you should learn his "10 Commandments.”
Dr. Steinberg explains that this is one of the most important principles: You must know, understand, remember and internalize that your actions are of great importance to your children who are watching you all the time so that in whatever situation you are in, no matter how stressful or unpleasant, don’t respond rashly, just think for a moment and do things in a way that your children can learn from. In every such situation, just before you lose it or do something instinctual in front of your children, stop and ask yourself, " What exactly do I want to accomplish and is what I’m about to do going to serve this purpose?"
Steinberg stresses in his book that it is simply impossible to give a child too much love because there is simply no such thing. Behaviors that we sometimes think of as a result of the child's spoiling are not caused by excessive love, but are often the product of an attempt to compensate the child with other things instead of true love-such as leniency, lowering expectations, or material gifts. True love is something you can and should give your child more and more of, and there is no reason to limit it.
Being an involved parent is something that can take a lot of your time and requires a lot of hard work - Steinberg agrees with this fact, but he argues that involvement is very important and that you should rethink your priorities and organize your life for this goal. It does sound demanding, but Steinberg recommends that you sacrifice your personal wishes for the child's needs, and be with him/her mentally as well as physically. However, it is important to emphasize that the concept of "being involved" does not mean doing your kids’ homework, or correcting it on a daily basis; "Homework is a tool for teachers to know whether the child is learning or not," says Steinberg. "If you do the homework, you're not letting the teacher know what the child is learning."
Your child goes, develops and grows from year to year, their life is actually a long process of growth and maturation - you must keep up with their pace, and understand how their age affects their behavior. What does that mean? Steinberg demonstrates this with a fairly common form of behavior that tends to occur in 13-year-olds - they suddenly become distracted in school, their grades start suffering, they start arguing about everything and being rude to their teachers.
At this stage you are faced with a dilemma: Should you force them back to the "straight path" or try to accept their behavior not to hurt their self-esteem? Steinberg explains that your child's problem can be the result of different things - perhaps it stems from depression they may have fallen into, perhaps due to lack of adequate sleep at night, or perhaps due to the development of learning disorders; the root of the problem must be diagnosed by a professional. By doing this you adopt a parenting style that tries to solve the problem and not just react to its symptoms.
According to Steinberg, if you do not know how to conduct your child's behavior while they are still young, they will have a hard time managing themselves when their older and you’re no longer around. At any time of day, night or day, you should ask yourself the following three questions: Where is my child now, who is there with them and what are they doing? These questions will allow you to understand what set of rules you need to set for the child. Remember that the rules that the child will learn from you are going to shape the rules that they will adopt for themselves in life!
Setting boundaries helps a child develop self-control, while encouraging independence helps him/her to develop a sense of self-direction and confidence. In order to succeed in life they need both, Dr. Steinberg says, stressing that it makes sense for the child to try to stretch the boundaries and push toward greater autonomy in their life - this is not rebelliousness or disobedience, but part of human nature, wanting to be in control rather than feeling controlled by someone, and therefore you must encourage and nurture it within the possible and correct limits.
It should be said clearly - if the rules you set for a child change every day in an unexpected way, or if you enforce them randomly - the misbehavior that might develop is your fault alone, not their fault. Your most important and essential disciplinary tool is consistency. Make it clear to your child that you the rules are not open for negotiations, make sure they keep them regularly, but at the same act wisely and patiently – because if your authority is based on intelligence rather than on power, your child will be less likely to challenge it. When parents are not consistent, the child may be confused, so force yourself to be persistent in enforcing your rules, no matter what.
Perhaps to most of you, this will seem unnecessary to even say, but you’ll be surprised to hear that there are many who need this reminder: Don’t ever, under any circumstances, raise your hand on your child. Dr. Steinberg goes on to say: “Children who are spanked, hit, or slapped are more prone to fighting with other children. They are more likely to be bullies and more likely to use aggression to solve disputes with others." There are many ways to instill discipline and correct behavior for children, and hitting is not one of them.when they speak to you, treat them kindly and try to please they where and when you can. The nature and quality of your relationship with your child will be the most meaningful basis for the relationships they will have with others.
Good parents have expectations that they want their children to stand up to - it's natural and true, according to Dr. Steinberg, but it is important to explain and clarify these expectations to children of all ages. You should remember that what seems obvious to you might not be obvious and clear to a 12-year-old child, even if they’ve already gone through a few different experiences in his life, and therefore you must be careful to explain things to the reasoning behind your rules and decisions.
Although this is the bottom line of most of the other commandments, it should be made clear: The best way to receive a respectable and worthy attitude from the child is to treat him/her with the respect he/she deserves and to treat him/her with the kindness, courtesy, and politeness in which you treat others; Talk to them patiently and politely, respect their opinions, pay attention to them