Thursday, February 2, 2012

The 7 Secrets of Successful Parents: Part 1

The 7 Secrets of Successful Parents:
Tip Number 1 

By Marianne Neifert, M.d.

According to an article from, Marianne Neifert's life has been devoted to children and families -- her own, and those she's encountered in her career as a pediatrician. Her first baby was born only a few months before she started medical school, and her fifth child arrived seven years later, on the final day of her pediatric residency. These two paths -- medicine and motherhood -- have been inextricably intertwined; they've often enhanced -- and sometimes competed with -- one another.

But over the years, as she has helped her own children journey into young adulthood and worked with countless families in her career, she has gained some hard-earned perspective and insights into raising kids. No parent will have all the answers all of the time, but these simple parenting guidelines can help make your time together as a family that much richer.

As her parent, you're the first one to convince a child of her worth and help her venture into the world with confidence. You can make her feel cherished by giving her your time and attention daily, whether by reading a book, playing, or talking together. For instance, try to spend a little one-on-one time with your child when you get home, before you do anything else. After picking her toddler up at daycare, one mom I know uses the walk home as a way to reconnect. If she runs into friends, she'll wave at them but won't stop to chat; she's learned that it frustrates her daughter too much.

Show your child that you value her by acknowledging her feelings, and by listening when she talks. It's easy to let your mind wander as a toddler or preschooler babbles on, but kids are very good at picking up on when you're distracted. Having a focused conversation with your child -- rather than just responding with the occasional "Uh-huh" -- builds up her vocabulary at the same time that it boosts her self-esteem.

The way you encourage your child is also important. By emphasizing her efforts ("You sure seemed to enjoy working on this picture for Grandma") over her results ("I like the way you stayed inside the lines this time"), you'll show support and foster self-approval, and make her less reliant on the acceptance of others.

Come back tomorrow and read tips 2 and 3 on how to be a successful parent.


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