Raising kids is incredibly rewarding-and challenging. In fact, it may be the hardest job you'll ever have. The 24/7 schedule is exhausting. And there's no instruction manual. Often, we muddle through by asking other people, reading books, doing things the way our parents did (even though we swore we never would) or just learning from trial-and-error. But while it's true that parenting is a hard job, no one should have to struggle through it alone. Whether you're a parent, a grandparent or other care provider of an infant, toddler, elementary school child or teenager, most of us could use some advice.
Triple P Santa Cruz County is excited to debut a parenting column - created to provide a forum for sharing parenting questions and answers to help strengthen your relationships and give you practical solutions to everyday parenting challenges.
Each month we'll share questions and answers about issues most all of us can relate to, such as bedtime, food, tantrums, homework, siblings, the teen years and more. And we'll provide tips and ideas based on the world-renowned Triple P Positive Parenting Program that is available in Santa Cruz County. If you have a question, please drop a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let's start off with a few questions that helped motivate us to create this column.
We've had a great summer but now it's time to get back into the school routine. My two boys are having a hard time getting out of the house in the morning. And getting to bed at a reasonable hour is becoming a nightmare. We miss the summer mood at home. What can I do to keep the stress down? --Lisa, Santa Cruz
Changes in the daily routine can be a challenge for kids and the switch from summer fun to the school schedule is among the hardest. Try holding a family meeting to set a clear routine and expectations for the morning and the evening. Ask your kids for their input on what they can do to help make mornings and evenings go more smoothly. Once everyone understands their role and your expectations, post the new routines on your refrigerator for reference. You'll be surprised at the difference a few small changes can make.
My daughter just started Kindergarten and is really clingy when I drop her off. I want to be there for her since it is such a new experience, but I also don't want to encourage this behavior. What can I do? --Anna, Watsonville
For most kids, Kindergarten is both exciting and scary. There are many things that bring uncertainty: new school, teacher, classmates, food routine, etc. You can help your daughter by setting aside a few minutes at home each morning to check in with her, listen to her concerns and plan ahead for the drop-off. Be clear with your daughter about what to expect at the drop-off (example: tell her you'll be walking to class, giving her a kiss and then saying goodbye). Remind her that you will be back to pick her up after school. Spend a few minutes after school to review the day. Before long, your daughter will recognize this routine and become more comfortable with this transition.
teenage daughter is just plain rude to me sometimes! If she doesn't
like what she hears, she rolls her eyes and walks away. Her behavior
makes me mad and even embarrasses me sometimes. I'm frustrated with her
and I'm worried that something is wrong in the way I'm parenting her.
What can I do differently? --Carlos, Scotts Valley
Rude and disrespectful behaviors in teens are pretty common and definitely cause for frustration. Here are a couple ideas to try: First, teach your teen how to express her opinions in a positive manner by setting a good example. Stay calm and patient with your teen, even when it's hard to do. It is also important to recognize and appreciate when she shows positive behavior. Second, truly show an interest in what your teen talks about-whatever the topic is. Doing so shows her respect and strengthens your bond. If these tips don't produce the desired result, consider setting rules and limits for communication or developing a behavior contract that sets your expectations for positive, respectful communication.