The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) list the following positive parenting tips (See Positive Parenting Tips from the CDC):
Preschoolers (3-5 years old)
This stage of development is marked by the need to explore the world beyond the family unit. Generally, children at this point become more self-sufficient, have a greater capacity to relate to others, grasp gender uniqueness, assist in dressing themselves, recall stories and songs, and can ride a three-wheel bicycle.
- Continue to read to your child. Nurture her love for books by taking her to the library or bookstore.
- Let your child help with simple chores.
- Encourage your child to play with other children. This helps him to learn the value of sharing and friendship.
- Help your child’s language by speaking to her in complete sentences and in “adult” language. Help her to use the correct words and phrases.
- Be clear and consistent when disciplining your child. Model the behavior that you expect from him.
Middle Childhood (9-11 years old)
This stage of development is marked by the beginnings of puberty. Generally, children at this point cope with peer pressure, gain a sense of responsibility, become emotionally attached to friends, have a greater sense of body image, and handle increased academic duties.
- Spend time with your child. Talk with her about her friends, her accomplishments, and what challenges she will face.
- Be involved with your child’s school. Go to school events; meet your child’s teachers.
- Encourage your child to join school and community groups, such as a team sport, or to take advantage of volunteer opportunities.
- Help your child develop his own sense of right and wrong. Talk with him about risky things friends may pressure him to do, like smoking or dangerous physical dares.
- Help your child develop a sense of responsibility—involve your child in household tasks.
- Talk to your child about saving and spending money wisely.
- Meet the families of your child’s friends.
- Talk with your child about respecting others. Encourage your child to help people in need.
- Talk with him or her about what to do when others are not kind or are disrespectful.
- Help your child set his own goals. Encourage him to think about skills and abilities he would like to have and about how to develop them.
- Make clear rules and stick to them. Talk to your child about what you expect from her when no adults are supervising. If you provide reasons for rules, it will help your child to know what to do in those situations.
- Use discipline to guide and protect your child, instead of punishment to make him feel badly about himself.
- Talk with your child about the normal physical and emotional changes of puberty.
- Encourage your child to read every day. Talk with her about her homework.
- Be affectionate and honest with your child, and do things together as a family.
Teenagers (15-17 years old)
This is a time of changes for how teenagers think, feel, and interact with others, and how their bodies grow. Most girls will be physically mature by now, and most will have completed puberty. Boys might still be maturing physically during this time. Your teen might have concerns about her body size, shape, or weight. Eating disorders also can be common, especially among girls. During this time, your teen is developing his unique personality and opinions. Relationships with friends are still important, yet your teen will have other interests as he develops a more clear sense of who he is. This is also an important time to prepare for more independence and responsibility; many teenagers start working, and many will be leaving home soon after high school.
- Talk with your teen about her concerns and pay attention to any changes in her behavior. Ask her if she has had suicidal thoughts, particularly if she seems sad or depressed. Asking about suicidal thoughts will not cause her to have these thoughts, but it will let her know that you care about how she feels. Seek professional help if necessary.
- Show interest in your teen’s school and extracurricular interests and activities and encourage him to become involved in activities such as sports, music, theater, and art.
- Encourage your teen to volunteer and become involved in civic activities in her community.
- Compliment your teen and celebrate his efforts and accomplishments.
- Show affection for your teen. Spend time together doing things you enjoy.
- Respect your teen’s opinion. Listen to her without playing down her concerns.
- Encourage your teen to develop solutions to problems or conflicts. Help your teenager learn to make good decisions. Create opportunities for him to use his own judgment, and be available for advice and support.
- If your teen engages in interactive internet media such as games, chat rooms, and instant messaging, encourage her to make good decisions about what she posts and the amount of time she spends on these activities.
- If your teen works, use the opportunity to talk about expectations, responsibilities, and other ways of behaving respectfully in a public setting.
- Talk with your teen and help him plan ahead for difficult or uncomfortable situations. Discuss what he can do if he is in a group and someone is using drugs or under pressure to have sex, or is offered a ride by someone who has been drinking.
- Respect your teen’s need for privacy.
- Encourage your teen to get enough sleep and exercise, and to eat healthy, balanced meals.
- Encourage your teen to have meals with the family. Eating together will help your teen make better choices about the foods she eats, promote healthy weight, and give family members time to talk with each other. In addition, a teen who eats meals with the family is more likely to have better grades and less likely to smoke, drink, or use drugs. She is also less likely to get into fights, think about suicide, or engage in sexual activity.
Keywords: parenting children, parenting teenagers, positive parenting, developmental issues, psychologist, help
Positive parenting tips
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
10 talents of parenting
Stay updated on child and adolescent mental health issues
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
How to raise successful teens
Child Development Institute