Posts Tagged ‘family’

Motivate Your Child to Be More Self-Reliant

June 10, 2009

motherclipartMost experts agree that the earlier children start assuming some individual and family responsitbilities, the easier it will be for them to “take charge” of their lives as they grow up.  The most important thing to remember, as you give your child duties and schedules, is to shift the focus away form the work and towards working together.  Do this by showing and stressing daily concern for all family members and their activities.

To motivate your child to help himself and others even more try to:

1.  Impress upon your child how much of a difference his help, no matter how small, makes in your life.  Do this by consistently and genuinely complimenting him when he is actively involved in some aspect of school or home responsibilities.  Encouragement is a key to self-reliance.

2.  Establish a home routine in which all family members have work to do.  Don’t just tell your child what to do.  Gently teach and reteach the specific steps in his chores.  If you pay your child for chores, stress that it is for being self-reliant and that we don’t do things only for money.

3.  Show flexibility about home duties.  Most children get tired of doing the same chores.  So, for example, clean your child’s room while he cleans your room.  Also, don’t nag about exactly when chores get done as long as they are done to meet basic family demands.

4.  Make home and school work as enjoyable as possible.  Designate a special pleasant area for homework and have your child help you shop for his own cleaning supplies, soaps, shampoos, etc.  Also, always schedule a special fun time such as a game or story after family work is done.

5.  Let your child face the consequences of being lazy or forgetful.  For example, late library books mean he has a library fine, not you.  Children do learn from their mistakes.

6.  Provide a scheduled time for free-play every day.  Too many after school activities will cause your child to resist home and school duties which demand self-reliance.


The Impact of Infants on Family Life

April 16, 2009

by Mary F. Longo, The Ohio State University Extension Educator

newmomHaving a new member of the family is typically an exciting, welcomed event. Often, though, the transition from nonparent to parent is a very stressful one. Responsibilities change overnight and never change back to the way they were prior to a child. Many factors can influence how a new baby impacts a family’s life, whether it is the first baby or not.

Childbearing Decision

Through their childbearing years, individuals decide whether or not to have children or a larger family than two. Many factors influence their decisions. For example, the social clock may be an influence for some. Couples who wish to wait may feel pressured by well intended grandparents-to-be.

Many families try to anticipate the best time for a child to come into the family. They consider job security or career levels. Some couples have financial goals they would like to reach before having a child. These families may be more prepared for a child in material ways, but the child still has a lifelong impact on the family.


Individuals differ in their natural tendencies to follow a routine. If baby and family are similar in their tendency to have a consistent routine, less adjustment is usually necessary to integrate the new family member. If the family or the baby tend not to follow a routine, parents and infants are more likely to go through a period of adjustment to find some balance.

A first child may have an especially large impact on the family’s routine because the couple only had themselves to worry about before the baby. With time and experience, parents learn to adjust.

Mothers and fathers may differ in some of the ways they accommodate a new infant. On the average, for example, mothers respond more frequently to their baby’s signals and learn the baby’s needs. Fathers are more likely to disregard cues and direct the baby’s attention to other things. Fathers are also more likely to continue their leisure activities, such as reading or watching television, while the baby is present. Mothers tend to interact with the baby more. Each of these results in different relationships between parent and child.

Social Support

Social support beyond the baby’s other parent can increase the quality of parenting and family life. This support may come from grandparents, other family members, and friends. Using a social network helps parents not to be isolated while developing parenting skills. Others are often able to help identify and interpret child-rearing problems.

If the parent has previous experience with children, either through siblings or job experience, he or she is more likely to be efficient at problem solving. The faster a minor problem is taken care of, the less impact that child has on a family adapting to the new role.

Parental Stress

Infants provide a certain amount of stress on the family, although they also may provide a guard against loneliness. This impact on family life may occur throughout the life of the child and parent.

The presence of the first child in the family is usually associated with lower marital satisfaction and less marital happiness. The couple tends to be satisfied with the marriage, but at a lower level.

Influence on Family

Research has shown that babies definitely impact the family. Here are some key points to consider:

  • During the first few months after a child is born, both parents are usually exhausted from lack of sleep. They are often inexperienced in the care of a baby and have a new schedule. The constant search for answers or help from friends, family, pediatricians and books can create tension between marriage partners.
  • Child rearing practices can also create tension between parents. Even if the parents have discussed how a baby will be raised and disciplined, these tensions may occur.
  • The husband-wife relationship is likely to take second priority to the ever-present needs of the new infant. There is less time for the couple to be together without the baby. Occasionally there may be feelings of resentment towards the new family member due to the lack of time for self or spouse. After the birth of a child, couples only have about one-third as much time together alone as they had when they were childless.
  • The parents’ experiences as a child influence the way they react in the parenting role. If either parent had a difficult childhood, for example, the baby might remind the parent of negative aspects of their own experiences.
  • As the parents adjust to the new role in the early months of the baby’s life, the family may strengthen. Over time, parents are likely to be better able to define their parental role and its importance in family life.


Newman, Barbara M. and Philip R. Development Through Life: A Psychological Approach. Brooks/Cole Publishing Company, California, 1991.

Strong, Bryan and Christine DeVault. The Marriage and Family Experience. West Publishing Co., New York, 1993.

New Year’s Resolution: “Grow” with your Teen

January 5, 2009

Grow with Your Teen and Teach Values:

According to research, teens say that the beliefs, values, and actions of their parents or close adults sink in.  These are the values teens come back to as they grow and develop. 

As you and your teen grow together, here are some values you can demonstrate to them:

1.  Love them no matter what and let them know it.

2. When your teens mess up, teach them how to do better next time.

3. Tell your kids what’s good about them – and tell them often.

4. Give teens opportunities to earn your trust and build trust with them.

5. Show your teens that you respect them and that you respect yourself.

6. Help teens belong by becoming involved in your community.

7. You don’t have to raise teens by yourself.  Ask for help if you need it!

8. Don’t give up.  It takes time to build solid relationships with teenagers.

9. Keep your sense of humor.  Being able to laugh together and make mistakes really builds a family. 

Every teen deserves to be included, encouraged and to experience unconditional love.  Enjoy your teen and remember what is important in their life and in your own.


Source: University of Minnesota Extension Service

Healthy Teen Development: 10 Principles for Parenting Your Teen

April 17, 2008

Many parents of teens today are feeling frustrated, stressed out, and hopeless when it comes to dealing with everyday “teen issues”.  While you might feel like you’re alone in this fight, know that other parents are going through the same trials as you are.  You may have feelings of despair and wonder how your loving child became so rejecting.  But parental involvement does not stop once babies and young children grow to becometeens; it is just as important during this stage of development.  Research indicates that not only does parenting continue to be important for teens, but also that teens themeselves continue to report positive relationships and interactions with their parents.  The trick is knowing how to ADJUST your relationship with your child, not withdraw from having one altogether.  Having a good balance of privacy (but not too much privacy), space (but not too much space), limits (but not too many limits), and other factors can aid you in parenting your teen and give you peace of mind that you are leading them in the right direction toward their adult life. 

10 Principles for Parenting Your Teen

1.  Remember, parents matter.  Make a difference in the life of your teen by providing guidance and support.  At times, it may seem like your teen does not want you around.  However, your child really does need you and needs to know you care.

2.  Stay warm and close.  It’s impossible to love your teen too much.  Spoil your teen with love and support every day.  Spend time together at meals, and remember to say, “I love you.”

3.  Stay involved with your teen’s life.  Ask questions about schoolwork and friends, and attend your teen’s extracurricular activities.  Teens need to know you are interested in them just as much now as you were when they were younger.

4.  Set limits and provide structure.  Clearly communicate your expectations to your teen.  Rules and expectations should change throughout your child’s life, but children of all ages need clear rules.

5.  Enforce rules and consequences.  Let your teen know what the consequences of breaking rules will be ahead of time.  Follow through on enforcing punishments.

6.  Be consistent.  Parents should discuss and agree on basic parenting principles for guiding their children.  Then, be consistent each day and in every situation.  Mixed messages from parents can lead to frustration for both parents and children.  Children need consistency to help them structure their lives.

7.  Explain yourself and engage your teen in decisions and conversations.  Discuss the reasons for rules and consequences with your teen.  This does not mean that the rules or consequences will change, but it will help your teen understand your reasons and respect you.  Teens don’t respect authority when it seems arbitrary.

8.  Don’t use harsh discipline.  Harsh discipline, like yelling or slapping, is not an affective long-term approach to discipline.  Do not discipline your teen when you are angry.  Instead, make arrangements to talk to your teen at a later time when wisdom and good judgement, not anger, will guide your discipline choices.

9.  Treat your teen with respect.  Your teen is growing up.  Acknowledge your teen’s increasing independence and ability to make decisions.  Guide your teen in making positive choices, but realize that he or she will make mistakes.

10.  Understand adolescence is a period of change – for parents and children.  As a parent, you are changing as you develop new information and skills to help guide your teen.  Your teen is changing physically, emotionally, and cognitively.  Look for resources to help you understand the changes your teen is going through.  Such resources include your local Cooperative Extension office (Miami County, Ohio area: Ohio State University Extension, Miami County:, other parents of teens, and books. 

Remember, your relationship with your teen is changing, not ending.


Sources: “10 Principles for Parenting Your Teen” fact sheet: Iowa State University Extension.     

Moore, Kristen A., Lina Guzman, Elizabeth Hair, Laura Lippman, and Sarah Garrett. “Parent-Teen Relationships and Interactions: Far More Positive Than Not.”  research brief. December, 2004.



Welcome to the Parents In Action Weblog!

March 4, 2008

This blog will focus on preparing your pre-teen or teen for the life ahead of them.  Future topics will include dealing with issues concerning teen development, discipline, peer pressure, social life, acting out, etc as well as focusing heavily on preparing your teen for college success, future workforce needs, and financial stability.  The blog is intended to also compliment the upcoming Parents In Action Program which will be offered through The Ohio State University Extension, Miami County Family and Consumer Sciences program. 

We will be posting our first full-newsletter worthy blog shortly… until then, please feel free to offer advice on items you would like to see included in upcoming blogs and take a moment to view the video below.  It is a good representation of what today’s teen will face in the near future.

~Jamie Good

Program Assistant, FCS / 4-H Youth Development, The Ohio State University Extension, Miami County