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What Can Parents Learn From Teachers

Top 8 Positive Parenting Tips From a Former Teacher

Before I ever became a mom, I was a teacher. While I don't claim to be a perfect teacher or a perfect mommy, I do believe that I relate to children quite well, thanks in part to my time spent "in the trenches." Those six precious years of forging relationships, offering guidance, and teaching science to 150 students each year taught me several things that have also served me well as a parent. Keep reading for the eight most important.

1. Go Your Own Way

When you feel the need to discipline, be sure that this urge is coming from a bona fide need to do what's right and not from a knee-jerk reaction to do things that were done to you as a child. This is how unhealthy cycles repeat themselves. Go your own way and always do what's in the best interest of your children.

2. For Every Negative, Find 10 Positives

We probably don't remember it, but it can be very hard to be young. Everything is new and must be learned from scratch. Sure, children will need to be corrected. But for the sake of your child's self-esteem and the harmony of your home, be sure to compliment them many more times on what they do right than correct them on what they've done wrong.

Examples: 

You brushed your hair very well today and it looks fabulous.

I love how you set the table without even being asked.

That's very sweet of you to draw me a picture today at school. I love it!

3. The Connection Makes the Difference

The reason that I was able to get through to even the most difficult student (as well as my fiery toddler when she's upset) is because I take the time every day to forge that relationship with them. Spend at least 10 minutes each day tuning everything else out but your child and then shower her with love and attention. Your connection will be strong and her responsiveness to your requests will be greater.

Remember that favorite teacher you never wanted to disappoint? Well, it's time to start sprinkling some of that flavor onto your parent/child relationship. The great thing is it works both ways.

4. Child Acting Out? Put Your Ears On!

Remember, children are new to this great big world and they don't always know how to deal with the situations and emotions contained within. When your child starts to inexplicably act out, remember that she needs you more than ever. Start listening, really listening to her and help her express what she's feeling. After the emotions have subsided a bit, you can then try to come up with and explain an acceptable way to channel that emotion or feeling for when it happens again.

5. Be the Rock

No, I don't mean the wrestler, I mean create safety and calm for your child. You don't want your child to be afraid of you or label you as someone who flies off the handle. If your child can safely come to you and share their hopes, dreams, fears and everything in between, you will be able to help guide and steer her through rough times. If you appear unavailable or scary, your child will lean on someone else instead. 

6. Don't Be a Broken Record

I had a mom who nagged, and frankly, I hated it. I quickly taught myself how to tune her out and during my teen years, we didn't seem to like each other very much. For recurring problems that make us feel like we are saying the same things over and over again, find a more creative solution. If you're repeating yourself time and time again, your children have stopped listening by now anyway.

Examples: 

If she has a messy room, try giving her some organizational tools to help clean it up easily.

If she has a messy closet and has cleaned it up recently, hang a world's cleanest closet sign on their closet door. How can you go back to being messy with that hanging there?

If your children are always forgetting to do their homework, make a standard family "table time" where common chores like homework, paying bills, and making grocery lists are all done together.

7.  Give Your Child the Power

Children need to learn from a very young age the concept of cause and effect. Instead of them thinking that you are making every decision for them and that you are punishing them, they need to realize that the decisions are actually their own. And with decisions come consequences. Consequences can be good or they can be bad, but they will always occur. Every cause  has an effect and your child is in control of that. This is a lesson that will serve them well and will teach them to reflect on their own behavior and how they could have chosen to do things differently.

8. Above All Else, Be Consistent

This is by far the rule of all rules in my opinion, and it doesn't just apply to teaching or to parenting. You have to talk the talk and walk the walk. Do what you say you're going to do, or don't say it at all. Empty threats undermine your authority and make your child lose respect for you. Never say it if you won't do it and never forget to follow through if a line has been crossed. Children crave consistency. In an unpredictable world, your child wants to be able to depend on what you'll do and say at all times. If you begin to make idle threats, you will begin to lose that special relationship with your child. I've seen it time and time again . . . a child will push you and push you because she is merely seeking a boundary. Do everyone a favor and give it to her, each and every day.

This applies to both mom and dad. Consistency must occur between parents as well as within each parent. If dad's a pushover and mom always has to be the enforcer, both the spousal relationship and the parental relationship will suffer.

Well, there you have it . . . words of wisdom from a woman who became a teacher first and a mother second. What parenting tips did I leave out? Do you agree or disagree with any of the above? Don't hold back, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Image Source: Shutterstock
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Mary1369932921 Mary1369932921 2 years
With your experience of being a former teacher and now mommy, I would like to get your input on the following issues I am presenting with: I have a 7 y/o little girl. She currently attends 2nd grade. While schools years for me have been nothing but pure hell, bullying, and an emotional roller coaster--I have learned there are good/bad teachers, and on a daily basis I try to balance that out. There is prejudice with students/parents, again I try to balance that out. So for a long story, short. My child has been labeled from bully to monster to thief, you name it. While I have proof and with discussion with other students and parents it was one of those situations that unfortunately the homeroom teacher just did not like my child or me for the fact that I always stand by my daughters side. In the end her report card, read as a criminal record. She is very smart and a good kid...in the end, we have moved towns and therefore have a new school this year. I was already warned that she would be labeled with whatever information the former school/teacher posted on her report card. I was told to prepare myself. Well school started and now after over a month, she was sent to the office twice in one day: Here are the scenarios I was given. I even recorded my daughter after asking her what happened several times (of course her not knowing), to capture the distress all of this is causing her and how it is affecting her emotionally. 1st scenario: In line for lunch, a classmate was in front of her. He dropped his "lunch card" and the rule is that you have to go to the back of the line. So my daughter moved one step forward. The classmate after picking up his card, pushed her and caused her to bump into the person that was behind her. She immediately looked at him and said "sorry." The boy said it's ok. Then the classmate again pushed her. She reported it to the "lunch teacher" and was sent to the office. The boy causing the incident, which she reported, was not sent to the office or questioned. He of course said "she did it and is lying." 2nd scenario during recess. A female classmate, while they were in line waiting for jump rope, budged in front of my daughter. My daughter said hey the rule is not to do that. The girl said I don't care. When my daughter said she would report it to the teacher, the girl got in her ear and yelled (NOOOOO). Then after my daughter went to report it to the teacher after she yelled, the girl said my daughter was lying. IN the end she was written up 3 times "behavior reports" and was told by the principal, teacher and lunch teacher: I BELIEVE THE OTHER KIDS BECAUSE THEY HAVE BEEN HERE LONGER THAN YOU AND YOU ARE A NEW STUDENT. Now clearly, isn't there something wrong with this? She is distraught about the whole situation. Going back to the things she remembers from the school before. What do I do? I will make it worse if I confront the teacher/principal about why they would say something like that, immediately unjustifiably accuse her of something, and the other students were not reprimanded for anything. This is what is bothering me. HELP ME PLEASE, I don't want to create more issues. While I have not read the report (she forgot it on her desk as her backpack is in her locker), I can only imagine what it would say. THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!
MaryKurzawa MaryKurzawa 3 years
You hit the nail on the head with all your points. Parents are learning on the job just as kids are learing their way in this world, it's never to late to spend time building a relationship with your child and building them up, it truly is the best way to give them a successful future. What I have noticed is that some parents take the "relationship building" part to mean just friendship with stuff like mom/daughter mani/pedis as their quality time, I think that actually just promotes using mom as a means to get something instead of just real quality time of sitting on the couch discussing the day or painting each others nails.
Kel33830 Kel33830 3 years
I found these parenting tips to be great and applicable to everyone. These are the types of things that are personally always on my mind when interacting with my children. Children are vulnerable, as well as learn by example. Children require a healthy and nurturing environment with proper guidance, love, respect, positive reinforcement and structure, in order to be the best that they can be.
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