But, says syndicated columnist Linda Albert, parents also need to give children the 4 'A's - Attention, Appreciation, Affection, and Acceptance.
Attention makes children feel special. Spend some time alone with each child each day. During that time, you can talk with your child about school, friends, or your child's interests.
In some families, children get more attention when they misbehave than when they are being good. Because your attention is so important, try to give more attention to good behavior than to bad.
You might say something like, "Since you and your brother played so nicely this afternoon, let's push back bedtime and have an extra-long story time."
Appreciation motivates children to do their best. Children try harder when they know their parents appreciate hard work.
Here are some ways you can show your appreciation:
- I appreciated that you cleaned your room.
- You worked hard carrying the groceries inside. Thanks.
- You studied hard for your math test.
Affection. Parents used to think that too much affection would spoil a child. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Children of all ages need to know they are loved.
Try to show your affection both verbally ("I love you") and nonverbally (with a hug or a kiss).
Acceptance. Children need to find ways to express their own identity. Wise parents accept and enjoy each child for who he is. If you have more than one child, try not to say things like, "Your brother always did well in history."
Instead, help each child find and feel good about her own strengths.
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