Parenting for Prevention
“Parenting is not easy. But when children reach middle school and high school, the job becomes a whole lot harder! As our children get older, it is no longer possible to insulate them from the negative influences of the media; peer pressure takes on a whole new dimension; and hormones wreak havoc on young bodies and emotions. Out newly emerging young “men” and “women” pull away from us, feeling the need to be independent and “grown up”. We, on the other hand, still feel the need to continue parenting: To promote positive values, to encourage positive behavior, to nurture them, and to keep them safe.”
So how do we do this while still giving them
the freedom they need to grow up?
- Be mindful of what kind of reinforcement you are providing. The value of positive reinforcement vs. negative reinforcement with our children is immeasurably more affirming and yields favorable results.
- Set limits and establish boundaries with known consequences. This is the best way to parent. It reduces arguments, anxiety, rebellion, and unneeded conflict. Family rules and rituals create less stress and more cohesion as a unit.
- Know and practice positive family/parent/child interactions. Take 10 minutes a day to positively interact as a family unit. Plan the week- family dinners, Sunday night quality family time.
- Be aware of Stress and Anxiety. These feelings are normal. How we manage them is the key. Be aware of what you model. Practice stress management regularly, know the signs of stress and anxiety and intervene early. See our section on Stress & Anxiety Management for more information.
- Be attentive to Protective Factors (vs. risk) in your child’s life. The more Protective Factors evident in your child’s life, the less likely they are to exchange in high risk behaviors. See our section on Protective Factors for more information.
- Model expression of anger in a healthy manner. Anger is a common, normal emotion. Youth need to learn how to express it in a healthy way. Lead by example!
- Effectively communicate within your family. Effective communication skills are key to a happy, healthy family. Utilize active listening skills, communicate without anger. Set the standard by communicating with your children regularly.
- Utilize your resources. The county provides plenty of tools to help strengthen the family unit for all different circumstances and situations. A family partner at Harvest Family Success Center is always available to help, anytime and at no cost. Call us to make an appointment (908)-237-0465.