Parenting Tips from Therapist Diane DuBois
- Make up as quickly as possible with your child if there's been any breakdown in connection, e.g. after a "meltdown" or angry outburst. You might say, "Let's start fresh" or "I'm ready to make up"; just something that says we can let go of difficult times and move to reconnection. It's never too early in your child's life to start that modeling! Always, always, always be aware of what you are teaching your child.
- Basic, but crucial: tell your child wonderful things everyday. You can't say "I love you" too much, and be specific in compliments. An example might be, "I really like how you were so calm when I said it was time for bed in ten minutes. I can tell you've been working on your patience!". Just make sure you are sincere.
- Like my tip to couples, create rituals out of your appreciations. You might have a nightly ritual where you tell your child one or two things that you appreciate or love about them. These could be as simple as "I appreciate that I only had to ask you to put your shoes on two times this morning!" (Realistic expectations are good; if it usually takes 20 minute for your child to put shoes on, he/she's doing better!). Or "I love your laugh; it makes me feel happy inside".