Archive for March, 2011

Discussing Celebrity Behavior

March 28th, 2011

Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan, Tiger Woods, Paris Hilton . . .  The list of celebrities who have been involved in recent scandals and outrageous behavior goes on and on.  The lives of superstars have become so fascinating to the general public that there are entire television networks dedicated to filling you in on all the celebrity gossip.  Some people even gain superstar status because they exhibit inappropriate behavior.

As a parent, it can be concerning to know that children are watching these celebrity scandals, and seeing the incredible media frenzy and fame that comes along with them.  So what can you be doing to help your children understand all this information?

First of all, it is important to talk to your children about how this information makes them feel, and what their thoughts are about it.  Children might feel shocked or disappointed by the negative and inconsistent behavior of someone they look up to.

Listen to your child’s thoughts and feelings about the incident.  Don’t attack the celebrity (if it is a person your child looks up to, your child may feel the need to defend the celebrity).  Instead, talk about what might make a person behave like this.  Let your child know that celebrities and athletes are all human, and they all make mistakes.

During the conversation, you can also ask your child how the celebrity could have behaved differently, more appropriately.  This will help your child understand what appropriate behavior looks like, and how he/she can make good choices in difficult situations.

It is important for children to have role models to look up to.  Try introducing your children to local role models, who will demonstrate positive behaviors for your children.  For example, a firefighter, a policeman/policewoman, a nurse, or a teacher.  You can take this a step further by encouraging your child to be a positive role model.  Your child could do this by asking a classmate to play at recess, saving a spot for a new friend at lunch, or giving a nice compliment.

What strategies have you used to help your child understand inappropriate and inconsistent celebrity behaviors?

media and kids, positive parenting

Fighting Obesity: Healthy Eating

March 10th, 2011

It’s no secret that obesity in America is on the rise.  Over the past 40 years, obesity rates in children have more than tripled.  Parents can help their children learn to live a healthy lifestyle and fight obesity from a very early age.  Following are a few tips that parents can use to help children develop healthy eating habits.

First, remove temptation for your children.  Stock up on healthy and nutritious snacks, such as fruits, vegetables, and nuts.  Keep these foods in easily accessible locations that are convenient for your children.  Put snacks like cookies in less accessible locations and save them for special occasions.

Second, plan regular meals and snacks.  Missing meals can lead to on-the-go snacking and unhealthy food choices.  With regular meals and snacks, you can teach healthy eating habits by providing nutritious choices.

Third, involve your children in meal planning.  Try giving your child two or three healthy options for supper (chicken and rice or meatloaf and carrots), then involve them in the preparation process in an age appropriate manner.  For example, you can ask younger children to help you measure or stir tge food.  Children are more likely to eat healthy foods when they feel it’s their own choice, and they get a sense of accomplishment by helping you prepare the meal.

Finally, be conscious of portion size.  Rather than letting everyone prepare their own dishes, try preparing your family’s meals for them by dividing up the food into age appropriate portion.  This will help ensure that your children eat from each of the different food groups, and it will also help them to resist overeating.

What are some other ways you encourage your family members to eat healthy?


Positive Parenting

March 3rd, 2011

Researchers have identified several different parenting styles, based on the way parents interact with their children.  Although parents exhibit characteristics from each of these parenting styles, they tend to favor one style over all the rest.

Study after study has found that the style of parenting known as authoritative parenting leads to the most positive outcomes for their child. Children of authoritative parents tend to do better socially and academically, while they also have fewer behavior problems. Below are some key characteristics of authoritative parenting that you can implement with your children.

  • Give appropriate choices. Authoritative parents allow independence by giving choices, but also maintain control by limiting these choices to only appropriate options.
  • Warm but firm. Authoritative parents set limits for their children out of love. They do not set rules “just because.” Instead, they set rules that will keep their children safe.
  • Explanations. Authoritative parents are willing to explain why they have rules. This helps children learn the importance of these rules, and use this information to make good decisions in the future.
  • Listen. Authoritative parents listen to and consider the opinions of their children. They engage in discussions with children. This lets children know they are valued, and also helps them think critically about situations. Ultimately, the responsibility always resides with the parent.

In what ways have you implemented these parenting practices?   How have you been successful?  We encourage you to share your stories with us.

positive parenting