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What Great Parents Do Differently

The new book What Great Parents Do: 75 Simple Strategies for Raising Kids Who Thrive is a science-based approach to parenting intended to enhance children's emotional and social development. Author Erica Reischer, Ph.D., a psychologist and parent educator, offers straightforward techniques and relevant tips for busy parents. Great parenting, Erica writes, “is a skill that can be improved through learning and practice.”

Don’t "overfunction" as a parent.

Experiment with not doing some of the things you typically do. For example, if your children can walk, they can take their own garbage to the receptacle. Erica suggests that we pay attention to what we do for our kids and ask ourselves if our children are capable of doing it themselves. Making mistakes and experiencing disappointment and discomfort allow kids the opportunity to practice doing better and learning new skills.

Feel feelings, choose actions.

Feelings are what they are, the author writes. Behavior is a choice and something we can teach. Acknowledge your child’s feelings (demonstrating empathy), but let your children know when his or her behavior is not acceptable. We can show our kids that we don’t have to say what we are thinking or act on our feelings when we are in the midst of a strong emotion.

Catch your kids being good.

Kids thrive on enthusiastic, specific and immediate feedback. Catching kids being good reinforces positive behavior and increases their chances of repeating that behavior. Be on the lookout for good behavior that you can reinforce with specific praise and an affectionate touch or hug. Great parents are present and lead with the positive, writes Erica.

Sandra Bienkowski is a regular contributor to Live Happy and the founder and CEO of TheMediaConcierge.net.

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