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Mommy, may I? Nine tips on parenting

Sharon Pieters from gives advice on how to maintain your position as a parent and stay firm with your child.
/ Source: TODAY

It used to be that a doctor would make a house call if your child had a fever, but these days it's not high temperatures that have doctors dropping by ... it's temper tantrums. Sharon Pieters of has some parenting tips.

Don’t you sometimes find yourself wondering, “Is there a better way to parent?”  You’ve probably perused the labyrinth of parenting books out there, and still feel like your questions are sometimes left unanswered. Good news: YOU’RE NOT ALONE!! More good news: I’m about to offer up some simple yet effective parenting tips that you can easily incorporate into your lifestyle. I think it’s great that you love your children unconditionally and that you want to provide them with every opportunity; however, your main responsibility should be to provide them with appropriate boundaries; social skills; etiquette; manners and responsibility.

These pointers will help you regain your position as the parent by illustrating to your child that you’re establishing boundaries that will be followed through with consistency. Furthermore, your children will begin to take you more seriously as soon as they see that there are negative consequences associated with not following your boundaries.

Many parents are so emotionally attached to their children that they often can’t see things as objectively as they would like. It is important that you not lose sight of some of the most core parenting methods, such as the following:

  • Children get rewarded for good behavior (encouragement): Playing nicely; helping out; not interrupting when you’re talking; sharing; putting away their toys. Take time to notice the “little” positive things that your child does, and make a point of saying “Honey, thanks for picking up your clothes, that’s great!”
  • Establish boundaries: Establish boundaries that work for you and stick with them 100 percent — with consistency. If bedtime is 8 p.m., then 8 p.m. means bedtime, so don’t buy into manipulation and negotiations. Remember that life is full of boundaries: As adults, we don’t interrupt when someone is talking and we certainly don’t throw food around a dinner table. It’s up to you to teach your young child these basic boundaries at an early age.
  • Rules for time-outs: When your children don’t listen or if they start performing because they’re not getting what they want, do not scream and keep repeating yourself — rather get their attention (go up to them and connect so that they actually hear what you’re saying), give one warning, and if they continue, then immediately send them to the time-out. The time-out begins after one warning and the clock starts when he/she is quiet (choose an appropriate time that has an impact on your child — for example, some three-year-olds only respond well after 15 minutes in time-out. After the time, explain why she/he was placed in a time-out, and how she/he can prevent it from happening next time. Your child then needs to offer a sincere apology.
  • Do not feel that you always need to play with your children: Teach them that it’s okay to play on their own; they become more independent and creative this way. You may have to direct them to an activity and get them started, however be sure to move away so that children can learn to entertain themselves.
  • Do not feel the need to always buy stuff for your children: They’ll learn to appreciate the simple things in life and become better human beings because of that (beware of overindulging and entitlement). Try having your child learn to “earn” certain items by doing certain basic “life chores,” such as tidying up his room, with the help of a reward chart.
  • It's okay to say no: Children are actually fine with a “no.” If you’re buying yourself something and they want a new item, it’s okay to say no. If they want to go to the park, the pool, etc., and you don’t, it’s okay to say no. They wont feel cheated, deprived or unloved with no’s. They’ll actually learn that this world offers both yes's and no's.
  • Choices: Offer your children a choice out of two — that way they still feel they have some independence, but at the same time you’re in charge. Remember to keep things simple: If you’re in a restaurant, don’t give your 3- to 6-year-old a menu; instead tell them they have a choice between two items.
  • Doing It’s important to show your children that life isn’t simply a “free ride” and you can illustrate this by not catering to their every demand, and at the same time have them doing certain tasks on their own (such as putting on their shoes or carrying their own backpack to daycare or school).
  • Be a Children have lots of friends, but they only have one or two parents. It is up to you to teach them basic life skills: manners, social etiquette and responsibility.

For more tips and information from Sharon Pieters, visit her Web site at