Repetition important in raising children

Published 9:46 am Monday, March 23, 2015

QUESTION: What are the most important numbers for parents to remember when raising their children?

ANSWER: In my opinion, those numbers are 7, 10 and 15. Seven is the number of times parents need to be ready to be consistent when they are enforcing a family rule. The important word is “consistent.” All children test boundaries, experimenting to see if we mean what we say always or sometimes. If we are inconsistent in our response to our rules, not enforcing them when we are tired or it is inconvenient, our children will keep on testing. If parents are consistent 7 times in a row, it is very likely that “testing” will be greatly reduced.

Ten is the number of affirmations that need to balance one correction or critical statement. “Positive is better” when relating to children. When we describe to our children what they are doing that we appreciate, they are likely to repeat that positive behavior and the criticism in our families will decrease. As parents, we hold up a mirror for our children when we tell them what we like and what we don’t like about them. Cooperative children usually have parents who are skilled at helping their children see themselves as friendly, helpful and creative. Children with positive self-esteem believe they are liked, feel capable and know how to influence other people positively.

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Fifteen minutes a day of focused attention, following our children’s interest in playing or conversation — without giving instructions or making decisions — is like gold in the bank for children. Children who feel emotionally satisfied are much more likely to cooperate when we do need to give directions and set limits.

If you would like to talk with a parenting specialist about the challenges in child raising, call the toll-free Parent WarmLine at 1-888-584-2204/Línea de Apoyo at 877-434-9528.