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Parenting Tip

October 30, 2012

Group Offenses Around Character Qualities

When you feel overwhelmed by the poor behavior of your children, here’s an exercise that will give you some direction. In fact, this activity is good for any parent looking for ways to help children grow, but it’s especially helpful when you’re confused and overwhelmed by a problem’s complexity or deeply rooted nature. Take out some paper and make a list of the offenses committed by your child or the problems you’ve seen in your child in the last few days. This isn’t a list to show to your child but is a working list so that you can gain some perspective in your discipline. You’re looking for examples of problems that need to be addressed. In this step, you’re simply gathering data and making observations. Next, group the offenses around character qualities. That is, look for common threads in the offenses that are an indication of a bigger heart issue. Grouping offenses around character qualities is freeing for many parents. First, it provides parents with some perspective. Instead of working on 50 different negative behaviors, now you can focus on three or four positive character qualities. Furthermore, once you develop a strategy for character development you begin to see many of the offenses in your child’s life as opportunities for growth. This approach also helps parents focus on what their kids need to be doing instead of simply focusing on the wrong behavior. In order to keep character training practical you might want to develop a working definition for the quality you’re focusing on. Here are some examples to get you started, but the best definitions are ones that you develop that are targeted specifically to your child’s needs.

• Obedience is doing what someone says, right away, without being reminded. • Honor is treating people as special, doing more than what’s expected, and having a good attitude.
• Perseverance is hanging in there even after you feel like quitting. • Attentiveness is showing people you love them by looking at them when they say their words.
• Patience is waiting with a happy heart.
• Self Discipline is putting off present rewards for future benefits. • Gratefulness is being thankful for the things I have instead of grumbling about the things I don’t have.
Finally, develop a coaching attitude with your child as he or she has opportunity to learn and practice this new quality.

This parenting tip comes from the book Parenting Shifts, 50 Heart-Based Strategies to Keep You Growing in Your Parenting by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.

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