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Children’s Chatter: Be an effective parent with your child

By Susan Matherly

If you decide to prepare a new dish for supper, you typically follow a recipe.  Likewise, if you have bought an item that needs to be assembled, you most likely will read the directions to ensure you assemble it correctly. When it comes to parenting, there is no instruction book to follow for what some may describe as a challenging but fulfilling responsibility.

Parents want only the best for their child. One of the most important things you can do as you raise your child is to nurture his self-esteem. Your child starts developing his sense of self as a baby, absorbing your tone of voice, your body language and your expressions. Make sure you praise your child for his accomplishments, no matter how small, and also allow him to do things by himself. This will enhance his confidence while also making him feel capable and independent.

Being consistent with the discipline of your child is also important for being an effective parent. Your child needs you to set limits for his behavior in order to grow into a responsible adult. If your child exceeds those limits or breaks a house rule, you should be prepared to discipline him.

While being a parent is not the only role you have as an adult, it may be the most important and you should always make time for your child. If you work outside the home, you likely feel pulled in many directions as you juggle home and work but make sure to set aside time every day to do something special with your child.

You will want your child to learn to be respectful, friendly, honest, kind and tolerant. The best way to teach those traits is to model them yourself. It’s also important to take the time to explain to your child why you make the decisions you do and why you expect certain things from him.

Susan Matherly is director at A Children’s Place, a service of Ephraim McDowell Health.  She has a bachelor’s degree in health and exercise science and a master’s degree in public health education.  She can be contacted at (859)236-7176.