For each of these statements answer Usually True or Usually False.
- Our house is a gathering place for the neighborhood kids.
- My children have daily chores.
- Throughout the day, I give my child choices, instead of orders.
- My children are in bed at the same time almost every night.
- My kids use "Please" and "Thank you" when they talk to me.
- I use "Please" and "Thank you" when I talk to my kids.
- My instructions tend to be brief and specific.
- I don't give in to a child's nagging, whining, and pleading.
- We have specific family rules and everybody in the family knows them.
- When I say, "I mean it," my kids know this and they do as I ask.
- My kids clean up their own messes.
- Our family eats dinner together.
- I trust my children.
- I am consistent in the things that I say "no" or "yes" to.
- When a problem occurs, we address it, solve the problem, and then it's over.
- I compliment my children at least twice as often as I criticize them.
- I'm involved in PTA or other school activities.
- The first things I say to my children in the morning are pleasant and loving.
- The last words I say to my children at night are pleasant and loving.
- I learn about parenting by reading books and articles or by taking classes.
These statements reflect parenting skills that together create a strong parenting plan. The best answer to each of these questions is "Usually True." Take some time to ponder any statement to which you have answered "Usually False." Ask yourself why the preferred answer is "Usually True" and determine what changes you can make in your family to better reflect the concepts presented in each statement.
Sometimes the decisions we make when parenting our children are not really decisions at all—but more like knee-jerk reactions. It takes time and effort to create and follow a good parenting plan. It's well worth the effort, since a good plan will make your daily decisions easier and help you be more consistent with your kids. The end result is calmer parents and well-behaved children.
Reprinted by permission of Elizabeth Pantley, author of Parent Tips, Perfect Parenting, and Kid Cooperation: How to Stop Yelling, Nagging, and Pleading and Get Kids to Cooperate.