A summary of Dr. Lynne Kenney’s lecture, based on her book 10 Steps to More Confident Parenting
Note: The following are NOT the exact “10 Steps” in Dr. Kenney’s book, but rather a summarization of key points made in her lecture.
- Put yourself first sometimes. Take good care of yourself, staying “centered”, and finding time for yourself. The old adage rings true: “You can’t help others until you help yourself.”
- Find your passion and live it! This means knowing what your values are, and how you want to raise your family. By living it, you are putting your values effectively into action. Dr. Kenney makes the comparison of raising a family to building a house from the ground up; the values are the foundation, and a house won’t hold without a steady foundation.
- Have clear expectations and follow through with consequences. Your expectations should reflect your values, and the consequences should be logical. Dr. Kenney suggests discussing possible scenarios with children, and asking them to generate some ideas for consequences. She noted that it is often surprising how tough the children are on themselves!
- PATIENCE. Learn it, breathe through it, live it. Having a mantra during stressful situations helps; for example, “I am so grateful I have healthy, beautiful children.”
- Say “I’m sorry” and “Please forgive me.” These two phrases go a long way! It is important to commit to change the behavior you are sorry for.
- Practice what you preach. Children are ALWAYS observing, listening, and learning from us. They understand many of our values, just by watching us.
- Sit down with your family and write a “mission statement.” This is a way to put your values into one or two simple sentences that everyone will understand. For example: “We are kind with our words and bodies.”
- Don’t do things for your children that they can do for themselves. It might be easier, faster, or “less hassle” to do things for the kids, but it is your job to teach them skills for life. A sense of independence also increases a child’s feeling of competency, which builds their self-esteem.
- Know where your kids are and who they are with. This doesn’t just apply to teenagers going out with friends; this also means getting up from the computer to see what they are doing in the next room. It may feel intrusive at times; just remember, they are your priority!
- Quality time. The importance of spending face-to-face, quality time with your children can not be overstated. Get down on the floor with them! Participate in any way you can!
- Be a voice of reason. Don’t try to “solve” your children’s problems; TEACH them how to solve their problems. Walk them through the steps you go through and show them your process.
- Build trust. Trust is founded on reliability, honesty, and consistency. When you tell your children that you are going to do something, do it! The more consistent you are with this, the more reliable you become. This, again, is an example of practicing what you preach, and modeling desired behavior.