Remembering parenting strategies

Published 7:01 pm Saturday, July 25, 2015

QUESTION: Is there any easy way to remember effective parenting strategies?

ANSWER: Several of the most effective parenting strategies can be linked to these numbers: seven, 10 and 15.

Being consistent is an important parenting strategy. When you decide to make a rule, be sure you are willing to stay firm and friendly and follow through seven times in a row.

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Parents are ineffective getting compliance when they don’t follow through because they are tired, pre-occupied, or embarrassed in front of other people. It helped me to understand the importance of the number seven, when it was explained that a comedian will keep a joke in his repertoire if it gets a laugh (the reward) four out of seven times. Our kids make decisions on the same principle; they “work the odds.” If we are inconsistent, they will keep testing the rule.

If we are consistent seven times in a row, our children will quit testing; the more times we are consistent, the less they will test.

Affirming our children is an important parenting strategy. We need to look for the positives and tell our children what we appreciate about them and what they do.

It seems to be a fact of human nature that we remember the criticisms more than the affirmations. Effective parents balance one criticism with 10 verbal affirmations to their children. Be generous with those positive words and phrases.

The most cooperative children get 15 minutes of focused attention from their parents daily: 15 minutes of either play or conversation that follows the child or teenager’s lead. During the 15 minutes of focused attention, no parental directions are given and no parental decisions are made. Other times are for teaching, explaining and decision-making. If a young child wants to repeat the same song again and again, we smile and sing with them again and again.

If an older child wants to talk about an interest we find absurd, we relax, listen and even ask a friendly question or two. Those 15 minutes a day are a great relational investment. Remember, rules without relationship equals rebellion.

If you would like to talk about raising children, call the toll-free Parent WarmLine at 1-888-584-2204.. For free emergency child care call Crisis Nursery at 1-877-434-9599. Check out and the PRC Specialty Library (105 First Street SE, Austin).