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Positive Effective Parenting
By Carol Lynne
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2012 Carol Lynne
All right reserved.
Chapter OneFamily Systems
Major goal of this book 3 Parenting today vs. yesterday 4 Our job as parents 5 What effective parents do 5 Family systems 6 Healthy/adaptive families 6 Unhealthy/dysfunctional families 7 Boundaries 8 Different types of dysfunctional roles 10 Parenting styles 11 Parenting styles quiz 13 Other parenting styles 14 Positive effective parenting 17 How to be a positive effective parent 17 From a child's point of view 18 Family system evaluation 18
"Positive Effective Parenting" will benefit everyone who has the responsibility for the care and well-being of children everywhere.
MAJOR GOAL OF THIS BOOK
For more than 15 years I have had the privilege of offering guidance to many families and individuals who attended my Positive Effective Parenting classes.
The major goal of this book is to give you some understanding and skills that will enable you to put some P.E.P. in your parenting STEP. It will help you to raise happy, successful, self-regulating adults by using Positive Effective Parenting skills. This parenting education workbook is designed to help you make changes in your children's attitudes and behaviors. It will give parents, and other child care providers, ways to decrease conflicts, stimulate communication and cooperation, raise self-esteem and enhance what is already working. It can also help you change the quality of adult-child relationships through specialized training geared to all who are responsible for the care and well-being of children
WHAT YOU WILL LEARN IN THIS POSITIVE EFFECTIVE PARENTING WORKBOOK
The developmental needs of your children at different ages.
How to express your anger in a healthy way.
How to nurture, empower, validate, encourage and respect your children.
How to encourage positive changes in your children's behavior and attitudes.
How to reduce conflicts and provide effective means for conflict resolution.
How to heighten the confidence and self-esteem of your children.
How to engender mutual respect and cooperation.
How to treat your children with respect and dignity.
Learn about your child's temperament.
Learn how to mange stress and anger.
Learn how to parent a child of divorce.
Learn how to design strategies for healthier approaches to parenting.
Your major goal as a parent is: _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________
PARENTING TODAY VS YESTERDAY
Why do parents need training? Isn't parenting something we just know how to do? Can't we just do it like our parents did? We turned out OK. These are questions many of you may be asking right now, and the answer is No! Raising children is one of the most difficult jobs we will face in our lifetime. Yet it is the one for which we may be the least prepared. Learning "on the job" or modeling our parents' parenting techniques can be full of pitfalls. Stanley Kruger put it well when he said, "Of all the responsibilities people are called upon to undertake in life it is hard to imagine one more perplexing and more demanding or a more rigorous test of wisdom and patience and judgment under fire than that of being a parent. Nor one for which most people are so poorly prepared." This statement is very true. Parenting is one thing we weren't taught in school; no parenting 101. For a long time, our society has demanded special training for all kinds of workers who deal with children—teachers, counselors, psychologists, social workers, and child psychiatrists. Yet the only way most of us learned to parent was from modeling our parents, and that is similar to the blind leading the blind.
The need for training parents is becoming well recognized because it is more and more evident that many child-rearing methods of the past aren't working today. The reasons for this are mainly related to social change. In recent years there has been a shift in our society from an autocratic attitude to a democratic attitude and the demand for social equality has presented challenges most people, especially parents, are not well prepared to meet.
Most of us grew up in an autocratic society where there was a "pecking" order of superiors and inferiors. In the home, the father was the highest authority, mother was subservient to him and the children were subservient to them both. Everyone knew their place and acted accordingly. However, society has made some drastic changes in a very short period of time. There are many reasons for these changes including TV, movies, computers, the decrease in two parent families and the decrease in extended family support. The important thing is that the switch from an autocratic society to a more democratic society has brought about fundamental questions about the proper basis for social order. Groups of people once thought to be in a lower position within society become tired of being treated as inferior. Examples of this are workers organizing unions to protect their rights, minorities demanding equal treatment and women who are challenging the principle of the "superior" male.
Of course children have been influenced by this change in social relationships and they have decided that they have rights too. In seeking their rights, children are no longer willing to submit to the arbitrary rules of adults. The old "Do it because I said so," rule is no longer acceptable to many children. It's becoming evident that the relationship between parents and their children has changed and that parenting styles we once thought were effective don't seem to be working any longer.
What do we do now? We must be willing to create a new relationship between adults and children. We must develop new Positive Effective Parenting techniques based on "democratic" principles and techniques that will empower children to grow into responsible, self-regulating adults. These new techniques must be based on the principles of equality and mutual respect. Equality, as it is used here, does not mean sameness. Adults and children are not the "same" physically, mentally (knowledge base), legally or economically. Equality here means that the children are recognized as being equal to the adults in terms of their worth as human beings and that they are entitled to always be treated with dignity and respect.
OUR JOB AS PARENTS
Our job as parents is not to control our children but to empower them so that they learn to control themselves. One of the most empowering things you can do for your children is to validate their feelings and thoughts. Parents need to take care of basic needs that children are not developmentally capable of taking care of themselves. We must provide an atmosphere in which they can be and feel safe to explore, learn and grow into responsible, self-regulating adults. How do we do this? We do it by setting limits within which they can explore and set some of their own boundaries. Basically, parenting is providing someone with something they need to live and grow that they can't yet give themselves and to teach them the skills necessary to eventually be self-sufficient. President John F. Kennedy put it well when he said, "A child mis-educated is a child lost."
WHAT EFFECTIVE PARENTS DO
1. Set and maintain appropriate limits based on the child's age and development.
2. Permit choice. They give children an opportunity to make their own choices within appropriate limits.
3. Hold the children accountable for their decisions without using blame.
4. Use encouragement generously.
5. Validate the children's feelings.
6. Influence and teach rather than control and dominate.
7. Empower their children.
8. Discipline rather than punish.
9. Practice mutual respect. We must give respect before we can get respect.
10. Communicate openly and positively.
11. Use natural and logical consequences rather than retaliatory ones.
12. Cut down on power struggles between parents and children.
Parenting does not happen in a vacuum. It happens within a family system. So let's start by examining these systems.
A family is simply a structure or system made up of two or more parts or people. Each part or person is unique and at the same time part of the whole. For the whole to be strong and healthy, each of the parts must be individually strong and healthy.
A good analogy of this would be the mobile. If you bump one of the pieces not only does it move but it affects all of the other pieces as well. The other interesting and very predictable thing that will happen to the mobile is that every individual piece will eventually return to exactly the same spot that is was in before you bumped it. This is the principle of balance.
The mobile tells us a lot about the principles of systems in general, which includes the family system. Family systems have a definite structure to them. The family is more than just individual people. Each member of the family has his place. It would not be the same family if we were to change any of the individual members. Changes in one member in the family affect all of the other members but not necessarily in the same way.
A family is a whole unit with its own identity and it is defined by how all the members interact. In other words, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. This is known as synergism.
Like other systems, family systems always try to return to their original state. They try to maintain balance.
Why do we need families? What function do they serve? Actually, the family serves several functions, such as:
Maintenance functions: food, clothing, shelter.
Safety functions: protection from harm.
Sense of belonging: love, warmth, nurturing.
Spirituality: not formal religion but the relationship with the universe, unexplained, etc.
Families exist then to provide a safe and nurturing environment or atmosphere in which we can best live and survive. Of course every family provides for these needs and carries out these functions differently. Just like with any system, family structures can breakdown. So, let's take a look at some of the differences between healthy and unhealthy families.
All families have problems and experience stress. Healthy families handle problems and stress in a healthy way. Everyone works together to find solutions to family and or individual problems. Healthy families can adjust when something interferes with the balance of the family. In healthy families members get to make mistakes. Healthy systems leave room for human error and imperfection.
In healthy families members listen to each other. Expressing wants and needs is acceptable. Emotions and feelings are validated.
In healthy families, feelings and thoughts are genuine, honest, loving and considerate. In healthy families there are no family secrets. Healthy families have clear boundaries. Clear boundaries are required for optimal functioning. Clear boundaries leave no question as to who is the parent and who is the child. Parents don't feel that they must give up or disclaim their adult power, and children don't feel that they must assume premature adult responsibilities. Children do not feel the need to fill the needs that the parents really should provide one another. If this happens, the emotionally parentified child is at risk for becoming the problem that parents polarize or unite around. When boundaries get muddied they collapse and lead to unhealthy alliances, such as Mom and child against Dad. This is basically an unsuccessful attempt to resolve conflict. The very foundation of any HEALTHY family is clear boundaries.
In healthy families boundaries are flexible; there are no rigid roles or rules. In healthy families life is relaxed. The family atmosphere is loving, nurturing and no member is more important than any other.
Healthy families allow autonomy or separateness. A healthy family will allow its members to be largely self-determining; make their own choices about their lives. Children will be allowed to find out what they like and don't like about the world, what they want to do for a living, etc. They will be allowed to have some privacy and a sense of uniqueness as well as belonging. Both parents and children will be allowed to change their minds about things like careers and roles as their needs change or as their personalities develop over time. Parents and children are allowed to love each other without having to be enmeshed and tangled up in each other's lives.
Healthy families also function to promote self-esteem or a sense of worth in each member. Each member of the family praises rather than criticizes. All use healthy skill building rather than relentless pushing and demanding for perfect performance. A healthy family will let each person find and have that sense of personal value, dignity and worth.
UNHEALTHY /DYSFUNCTIONAL FAMILIES
In unhealthy families, boundaries swing back and forth between ridged and diffuse. Roles, rules and expectations are rigidly defined and always fulfilled. The atmosphere in the home is cold, frozen, extremely polite, boring, foreboding and it abounds in secrecy. There is little evidence of friendship among family members and little joy in one another.
Family members are hopeless, helpless and lonely. They try to cover up as they endure misery or inflict misery on others. Members of the unhealthy family don't listen to each other and individuals rarely speak up when there is a problem. There is a communication breakdown.
There is little evidence of friendship among family members, little joy in one another and humor is sarcastic and cruel; adults tell children what to do and what not to do. The family is expected to be 100% efficient, predictable and stable. Since this is impossible, any variance from these expectations of perfection must be justified. It has to be someone's "fault."
Therefore, a child usually ends up becoming the scapegoat. And the other members of the system also develop dysfunctional roles which we will discuss later.
What exactly are boundaries? Boundaries are invisible lines that are like a psychological fence around us and are defined by us. There are three categories of boundaries and they include psychological and social issues: 1) Individual Boundaries; 2) Family Boundaries, and; 3) Intergenerational Boundaries. Within each type, we can have three boundary states: Rigid Boundaries (too strong); 2) Diffuse Boundaries (too week); and 3) Flexible Boundaries (healthy.)
INDIVIDUAL BOUNDARIES: invisible lines, which are defined by the person themselves.
Rigid Individual Boundaries: nothing gets in and nothing gets out.
Diffuse Individual Boundaries: you are able to do what ever you want to anyone and others are able to do anything they want to you.
Flexible Boundaries: allow things in that you are comfortable with while keeping things out that you are uncomfortable with.
FAMILY BOUNDARIES: invisible lines that surround the family as a whole unit.
Rigid Family Boundaries: no talk, no compromising, rigid roles and rules.
Diffuse Family Boundaries: no sense of unity, no one seems to be in charge, no clear limits and rules.
Flexible Family Boundaries: active listening, open communication, feelings validated, sense of family unity, clear limits and rules.
INTERGENERATIONAL BOUNDARIES: invisible lines separating adults and children.
Rigid Intergenerational Boundaries: love not shown, rigid roles and rules, cold and empty feeling, little interaction between adults and children and no empathy.
Diffuse Intergenerational Boundaries: children put into adult role, adults lean on children and adults ask children to fill their emotional needs.
Flexible Intergenerational Boundaries: adult and child roles well defined, children loved and well cared for.
Excerpted from Positive Effective Parenting by Carol Lynne Copyright © 2012 by Carol Lynne. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Chapter One Family Systems....................1
Chapter Two Child Development....................21
Chapter Three Behavior....................45
Chapter Four Temperament....................59
Chapter Five Discipline & Consequences....................75
Chapter Six Discipline....................87
Chapter Seven Assertiveness Training....................99
Chapter Eight Anger Management....................127
Chapter Nine Stress Management....................163
Chapter Ten Feelings....................185
Chapter Eleven Children of Divorce....................205
Quotes, Mottos & Poetry....................219