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Stress Free Parenting

Updated on March 19, 2011
  1. Family decisions should become 'cabinet decisions' as soon as the children are old enough to understand simple questions. As in the cabinet, everyone can have a say. Parents should show a genuine interest in what the children say, but their decision has to be final.
  2. Plan leisure activities. The old cliche about 'families who play together stay together' is true. Joint interests will help the family through the difficult teenage years and lay the foundations for later adult friendships.
  3. Be straightforward and honest with your children. Discuss with them, and in front of them, the situation in the Balkans, the problems of one-parent families and the 'druggie' households on the other side of town. Never assume children are too young.
  4. Realism rather than liberalism produces happy children. Children should be taught to accept other people's frailties and peculiarities and should learn that it shouldn't make any difference to the way they are approached. On the other hand, they should also learn that, while many desires and feelings are understandable and natural, they often have to be kept in check. Having a realistic, honest appreciation of the motivations of other people in childhood can be life-saving.
  5. The children of two types of parents are most likely to appear in the psychiatrist's clinic. The children of both the over-strict disciplinarian and the over-liberal, youth-worshipping adult may be in trouble later. Statistics show that if a happy medium can't be reached, it's better to be over-liberal than over-strict.
  6. While it is almost impossible to avoid subconsciously putting pressure on children to do well, try and avoid it.
  7. There are types of children-parent relationships which, difficult as it already may be, make a family situation even more fraught. The parent-stepchild relationship is supposed to be the most difficult in the household. Aim for friendship and mutual respect. Unfair as it is, love usually evades these relationships and if there has been an expectation of it, there is disappointment on both sides.
  8. The other difficult relationship occurs in one-parent families. Usually some level or degree of emotional co-dependency develops between the parent and the child. The child has to be both child and locum spouse. This burden is too great for many children. They grow up too fast and appear unusually mature. Unfortunately, the experience stays with them and they will always thereafter seek to recreate it by finding mates who are dependent on them. They drift into jobs that utilize or exploit their caring natures but may not be fully stretching their other abilities.

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