The Harassed Parent

When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around.

But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished by how much he'd learned in seven years.

(Anonymous, often erroneously attributed to Mark Twain)

How often do parents hit their heads against that attitude! Parenting is never easy, but for a job that requires no previous experience and has no formal training course, most do it remarkably well.

Let's face it - where would you be without your kids... OK... stop thinking about that world cruise and a new Beemer!

A wise or prudent parent, if faced with issues and problems should not just rely on yelling back at disruptive or over-demanding children. There are techniques and tips to help available out there in cyberspace.

Do you find yourself banging heads with your two year old - who is just being a two year old - hey "the 'ego' has landed"!

Of course, your teenagers know more than you do - don't they... or do they?

And, of course, their constant bickering and fighting is easily dealt with... right?

One of the best clues I ever discovered is don't buy into the power game with kids. As a parent, as a teacher or whatever! You won't win.

So don't ever fight with them. Settle the problem when the kids are not angry.

Don't even think about arguing with them. You only hype them up and it's not worth it. If they persist in trying to get you to react, simply leave them in the room and go to your bedroom or parents den. Talk about frustrating didn't get a rise out of you after all... and they probably didn't care whether they won or not - they are establishing themselves (so they think)

Remember, behavior, rather than words, is the greatest teacher. And, your life as a guiding star (read parent for that) will be easier if you:

are consistent
a listener
communicate positively
give praise, not just punishment
exercise self control yourself - especially if you expect the kids to.
when you say 'no' mean it - buy don't over use it. Yes, works better, in the right context
be a parent, not a pal
spend time with the kids - regularly
stay married and in love (if possible)

Knowing their parents love each other and work together at their marriage is the greatest basis for stability in a child's life.

Peter Damien Ryan
Is a qualified family counselor

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