With four children at home, Holly and Rodney have their hands full dealing with a host of different parenting issues. They talk with parenting expert Dr. Michele Borba, who shares tips on how parents can help their children as they go through the different phases of childhood.
- Pay attention to what your children are saying. "What children want is undivided time," Dr. Borba says. "The number one thing that tells a kid you are tuning in is eye contact. If you could make one rule in your house, when you are talking to your child, always look at the color of their eyes." She says that helps a child know you are really there.
- Help them learn how to tell the truth. Dr. Borba says many children go through phases where they embellish stories, especially when they are young. How do you encourage them to tell the truth? Figure out what is causing the lie, she says. Give your child the attention he needs at a moment when he is not lying so he doesn't feel like he needs to lie to get attention.
- Be prepared for your "tweenage" children to pull away from you. The preadolescent years are the core years—especially for girls, Dr. Borba says. Your daughter may gravitate more toward her peers and pull away from her parents, leaving you feeling like you are losing all power. Dr. Borba says during this stage, it's important to be open and receptive to her and continue to be a hands-on parent.
Help your child avoid being bullied by teaching him how to cope. Teach your child the "CALM" way to avoid bullies:
- Stay Cool if you get picked on, because if you react, the bully wins.
- Assert yourself using a comeback skill. For example, use sense of humor, Dr. Borba suggests.
- Look the bully in the eye. If you look more confident through your body language, you are less likely to get picked on.
- Make your voice sound like you mean it. Don't whine or pout—instead use a strong voice and turn and walk away.