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This message is especially directed to grandparents and other relatives who find themselves raising children, and is useful for all parents.
Child-ren’s development flourishes when they have close, trusting relationships with the adults who care for them. Keeping a close interactive relationship is one of the most important things you do with children.
Here are some ideas for you as you as a parent especially when parenting youth who have gone through rough times and may not be as receptive to you as you might wish.
• Delight in your children. Greet them affectionately each day. Show that you enjoy them.
• Build trust. Let children know that they can count on you. Respond promptly to a child who is crying. Tell children when you are going to leave the room. Keep your promises.
• Slow down and spend quality time with your children every day.
• Use caring words. Along with those words, use a sensitive tone and control the volume of your voice. For example, when comforting an upset child, you might say, “You are having a hard time. I can tell by your tears that you’re feeling sad. Let’s sit down together and figure out how to help you feel better.”
• Offer children opportunities to make decisions whenever possible. Give children two or three clear alternatives when a choice is theirs to make. You are showing that you respect their decision-making skills.
• Set predictable, consistent daily routines. Establish a few simple, reasonable, positive rules for behavior. Always follow through with consequences when a rule is broken. Children need to know what to expect and where their limits are.
• Consider your child’s behavior from her viewpoint. Children have reasons for their actions, whether or not those reasons are clear to adults. Before you decide on a method of discipline, put yourself in your child’s situation. She may not have the language to express her frustration so she acts on her feelings in an unacceptable way.
• Even when it is difficult, continue trying to build a positive relationship. Adjusting to a new home just takes a while sometimes. Misbehavior or withdrawal are often tests to find out whether you will stick with the children or give up. Try to focus on their positive characteristics.
If your child is giving you a difficult time or seems out of control after everything you have tried over a long period, you may want to check with a mental health professional. This person will be able to determine other factors that might be influencing your child’s behavior, such as drugs, alcohol or other problems. By providing regular and consistent care, you help children learn that they can trust you to comfort them when they are tired, upset, or frightened. With your calm, patient, loving presence, children learn to deal with all of the changes in their lives.
This information was provided by Dr. Carole Gnatuk, UK Extension Specialist for Child Development. Source is Dodge, D. T. (2010). Teaching Strategies, www.teachingstrategies.com.
If you are a grandparent or other relative raising a relative (grandchildren, niece, nephew or other relative), we are starting a special support group here in Carroll County. This group will meet at 6 p.m. the first Thursday of the month. Our first meeting is on May 3. All details are not worked out yet, so if you are interested, please let me know and I will be sure you get information about this group so you can attend.
Dates of interest
March 28: Extension Homemakers Council, 1:30 p.m. Carroll County Extension office.
April 4: Senior Event planning meeting, 1:30 p.m., Carroll County Extension office.
April 17-18: It’s Sew Fine Sewing Expo classes, evening program, pre-registration required. For information, contact the Carroll County Extension office at (502) 732 -7030
Grace Angotti is Carroll Co. Extension agent for family and consumer sciences. Call her at (502) 732-7030 or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.