Parenting and Family Strategies and Rules
- Spend “special" time with each child each day, even if only 10 to 15 minutes
- Be a good listener
- Notice the behaviors you like in your child ten times more than the behaviors you don’t like
- Don’t tell a child ten times to do something.
- Expect a child to comply the first time
- Never discipline a child when you are angry or out of control - take a time-out
- Enforce consequences in a matter-of-fact and unemotional way
- Don’t nag or yell or criticize your child
- Give a child choices between alternatives: you can choose A or you can choose B and this is the consequence - it is your choice
- Get on the “same page” with your partner or other parent and support each other.
- Never disagree or go against the other parent in front of the child: talk about your disagreement in private and, if you change your mind, present a united front to the child
- Remember, you are always role-modeling how your child will act – good and bad
- Make sure you take time for yourselves as parents so that you can nourish each other and yourself
- Teach your children from your own experiences - children love to hear about their parent’s lives and how they dealt with their own problems.
What The Best Dads (and Moms) Do To Raise Badass Daughters Or [What Dads and Moms Do to Empower their Daughters]
If my dad hadn't been so supportive, I probably would have never traveled the world solo at nineteen, let alone founded my own company.
There's plenty of discussion on how to get more women to become leaders, entrepreneurs, engineers, and scientists, and I believe fathers play a big part in making that happen.
While the community I grew up in molded young girls into future stay-at-home-moms, my dad was teaching me that the world was my oyster. His parenting has undoubtedly shaped me into the fearless female entrepreneur and rapper that I have become.
Dads (and Moms), here's what you can do to help your daughters become badasses, no matter what they want to become:
1. Let them know it's okay to be different
In our social media-driven world, it's extremely hard for people to not care about what others think. I'm not got going to lie: my mom and I haven't always loved my dad wearing all camo, calf-high wool green military socks, and a floppy outdoors hat. But I've come to really respect how he is so unapologetically himself, without worrying what others think. It's kind of the ultimate freedom. Entrepreneurs get a lot of praise after they've become successful, but much of their journey is filled with criticism and people doubting or questioning them, especially when they're trying to do something really different that's never been done before. If you're going to survive the endless roller coaster of entrepreneurship, you can't let this get to you.
Even if your daughter doesn't want to be an entrepreneur, she should know that it's totally fine to be different and do things differently--whether that's how she dresses, thinks, or what makes her happy.
2. Teach self-reliance
My dad has never told me, "Don't worry, a [boy/guy/man] can do that for you." He always supported my independence, telling me that I could accomplish anything I wanted with enough hard work and the right strategy.
Since I was four, he encouraged me to think of ways I could make my own money--whether that was picking walnuts for cash, selling fruit, or some other side hustle. Around that time he helped me open my own bank account and taught me how to save and invest my money. By age five, I had already saved more than a hundred dollars and was buying the toys I wanted with my own money.
3. Sharpen their minds like a sword
For as long as I can remember, time in the car with my biologist dad meant solving math, science, or word problems. Asking questions and thinking about why and how things worked was always encouraged. And he would ask me questions to make me think too, whether we were observing animals in nature or how people make decisions.
Empower your daughters to ask "why" and teach them strong critical thinking skills so they can make better decisions for themselves.
4. Always have their backs
I've been a rule-breaker and rebel since kindergarten. Luckily, the world is now a much friendlier place for girls than it was for my mother or grandmothers, but girls still have lots of things up against them. I constantly got in trouble in elementary school for rejecting gender norms and fighting outdated rules and chauvinistic policies. Thankfully, no matter how many times the Principal would call my house, my dad always had my back.
Merely knowing my dad was there for me--even if the most he could give me was his sympathetic ear--meant a lot. This still gives me the strength to keep hustling and persevering on the toughest days.
5. Praise intelligence and work ethic --rather than looks
Instead of focusing on my appearance, my dad gave me praise for solving hard problems, getting good grades, and learning new things. Instead of saying things like, "You're so pretty," I would hear, him say, "You're so smart; you can do anything" or "I'm so proud of you; you're such a hard worker."
While these are simple little things, dads' comments have a huge impact on daughters' sense of self-worth and how they shape their identities and careers.
6. Encourage risk taking
I am a daredevil because of my dad. Whether I was jumping off the roof with a rope swing or traveling around the world solo as a teenager, he encouraged me to be just as fearless as any boy--if not more so.
I was at one of the lowest and most broke points in my life when I started my company. Pretty much everyone thought I was crazy and reckless; most of them told me to "try to go get a job with Google"--but not my dad.
He reminded me that if I didn't do this now, when would I ever do it? And better yet: if you have nothing, what do you really have to lose?
7. Love them even when they fail.
My dad has often been the first person I called when I'm facing a crisis. I always know that I can tell him anything, and that he will listen to my problems without judging me for my mistakes. He always ends these conversations with, "Okay, I wish you the best of luck, but just know I love you no matter what."
And somehow that always makes daunting challenges and failure a little bit less scary
Pick your battles and win the war (with pre-adolescents and teens)
There are so many opportunities with teenagers to argue and fight about what they want to do, who they want to do it with, how they want to dress, color their hair, insert metal into their mouth, nose, ears or other places that you’d rather not think about. But, you can’t argue or fight over everything-you won’t have enough energy to do what you want or need to do in life. You have to give a little (as long as the teen is not in any danger and it is up to you whether you consider tattoos or piercing is dangerous) so that you can stand up for what you believe is really important.
As a rule of thumb, there is an 80/20 rule that says 80% of the time, you can agree to disagree but 20% of the time, you will get your way. In other words, you will choose to fight 20% of the time and hope that nothing terrible happens to your child the other 80% of the time. In this way, what you fight for will take on added importance since you have not vetoed your teen on the other 80% of what he or she wants to do. And you can remind your teen of that percentage.
You are also role-modeling prioritization, making what’s important worth discussing and fighting for, even though you know you will win because, dear parent, you still control the money, the house, the car and your rules run the house. Given that you have all the power, you can be gracious 80% of the time and hold the line for the other 20%.
Age-by-Age Guide on the Effects of Divorce on Children
By Laura Broadwell
Learn how to discuss divorce with your child at any age based on their understanding of the situation and the impact it will have on their life.
Divorce represents a pivotal and often traumatic shift in a child's world -- and from his perspective, a loss of family. When told of the news, many children feel sad, angry, and anxious, and have a hard time grasping how their lives will change. The age at which a child's parents divorce also has an impact on how he responds and what he understands about the new family structure. Here is a brief summary of what children comprehend at different ages and how you can help ease their transition.
Effects of Divorce on Babies
Birth to 18 Months
During infancy, babies are able to feel tension in the home (and between their parents) but can't understand the reasoning behind the conflict. If the tension continues, babies may become irritable and clingy, especially around new people, and have frequent emotional outbursts. They may also tend to regress or show signs of developmental delay.
How to ease the transition: Children this age require consistency and routine and are comforted by familiarity. Therefore, it's helpful to maintain normal daily routines, particularly regarding sleep and meals, during and after the divorce. Provide your child with his favorite toys or security items, and spend extra time holding him and offering physical comfort. Rely on the help of friends and family, and be sure to get plenty of rest so you'll be alert when your baby is awake.
Effects of Divorce on Toddlers
18 Months to 3 Years
During the toddler years, a child's main bond is with her parents, so any major disruption in her home life can be difficult for her to accept and comprehend. What's more, kids this age are self-centered and may think they've caused their parents' breakup. They may cry and want more attention than usual, regress and return to thumb sucking, resist toilet training, have a fear of being abandoned, or have trouble going to sleep or sleeping alone at night.
How to ease the transition: If possible, parents should work together to develop normal, predictable routines that their child can easily follow. It's also important to spend quality time with your child and offer extra attention, and ask trusted friends and relatives to do the same. Discuss your child's feelings (if she's old enough to talk), read books together, and assure her that she's not responsible for the breakup.
Effects of Divorce on Preschoolers
3 to 6 Years
Preschoolers don't understand the whole notion of divorce and don't want their parents to separate -- no matter how tense the home environment. In fact, divorce is a particularly hard concept for these little "control freaks" to comprehend, because they feel as if they have no power to control the outcome.
Like toddlers, preschoolers believe they are ultimately responsible for their parents' separation. They may experience uncertain feelings about the future, keep their anger trapped inside, have unpleasant thoughts or ideas, or be plagued by nightmares.
How to ease the transition: Parents should try to handle the divorce in an open, positive manner if possible, as a child this age will reflect his parents' moods and attitudes. Preschoolers will need someone to talk to and a way to express their feelings. They may respond well to age-appropriate books about the topic. Kids this age also need to feel safe and secure and to know they will continue seeing their noncustodial parent (the one with whom they don't live on a regular basis). Set up a regular visitation schedule, and make sure it's adhered to consistently.
Effects of Divorce on School-Age Children
6 to 11 Years
If school-age kids have grown up in a nurturing environment, it will be only natural for them to have a fear of being abandoned during a divorce. Younger children -- 5- to 8-year-olds, for instance -- will not understand the concept of divorce and may feel as if their parents are divorcing them. They may worry about losing their father (if they're living with their mom) and fantasize that their parents will get back together. In fact, they often believe they can "rescue" their parents' marriage.
Kids from 8 to 11 may blame one parent for the separation and align themselves with the "good" parent against the "bad." They may accuse their parents of being mean or selfish and express their anger in various ways: Boys may fight with classmates or lash out against the world, while girls may become anxious, withdrawn, or depressed. Children of either gender may experience upset stomachs or headaches due to stress, or may make up symptoms in order to stay home from school.
How to ease the transition: Elementary-school children can feel extreme loss and rejection during a divorce, but parents can rebuild their child's sense of security and self-esteem. Start by having each parent spend quality time with the child, urging her to open up about her feelings. Reassure her that neither parent will abandon her, and reiterate that the divorce is not her fault. (Likewise, parents should not blame one another for the split, but explain that it was a mutual decision.) It's also important to maintain a regular visitation schedule as kids thrive on predictability -- particularly during times of turmoil.
Finally, since school, friendships, and extracurricular activities are of increasing importance to kids this age, encourage your child to get involved in events and pastimes she thoroughly enjoys. Help her rekindle her self-esteem, and encourage her to reach out to others and not withdraw from the world.