Richard Greenberg, best-selling author of “Raising Children Other People Like to Be Around” offers these philosophical tips that will pay dividends for years to come including:
Lead by example: kids should be taught to leave a trail of people who have only nice things to say about them. Parents should model empathy and respect for others, exemplifying the mantra “what you do matters.”
• Give kids chores: several studies support the notion that doing regular chores has numerous developmental benefits and it doesn’t hurt to have a little help around the house.
• Monitor the progress of homework: it’s certainly a struggle, but “executive skills” (organization of time) will pay off when they enter the job market. Teach them how to use their planners and check them every once in a while. Encourage them to ask for help and be a teammate, not a boss. If need be, minimize the distractions: outlaw TV and other non-homework related electronics.
• Allow kids to struggle and even fail: even as one of the hardest challenges of parenting, everybody makes mistakes and parents should encourage their kids to learn from them. As W. E. Hickson said: “If at first you don’t succeed… try, try again.”
• Make sure they have time to get bored: for children, play is work. When they’re left to ponder, their imaginations kick in. Limit electronics during free time and don’t feel the need to entertain them. “Go bang your head against the wall until you think of something to do,” might be a good response to “I’m bored.”
Richard Greenberg is the Los Angeles based blogger of www.commonsensedad.com.