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The Secrets to Raising a Smarter Child
- By Inderbir Sandhu, Ph.D


Parent Resources: The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective Parents

By Jim Brackin

Despite the thousands of books written on the subject, kids don't come with a 'how to' manual. As with all relationships, creating a strong bond takes time and effort. Being a Mom or Dad is a tough, demanding and time consuming job, but there are certain habits that seem to make the job a little easier.

1. Give your love, unconditionally

Demonstrate that you love your children every day, whatever their age. In fact it's probably more important to do this at the times when they least deserve it. . It's not just what you say it what you do that counts. A simple smile or hug at least three times a day goes a long way toward developing and strengthening a relationship.

2. Understand their personality

Many websites provide help based on personality profiles. Just Google keywords like 'personality profiling UK' and your find sites like which offers a free report titled "What sort of parent are you?" The report tells you if your children are likely to see you as a 'boring ogre or relaxed and fun' and more importantly what to do about it! It's useful because the personality based report highlights your unique strengths and weaknesses as a parent. The report also gives tips on how to improve your communication skills to strengthen your relationship with your children.

3. Spend time together

You have probably heard the saying "To develop their children parents should spend half as much money and twice as much time". So spend time and interact with your children, ask them for their help and when possible eat together as a family. Remember, with children there is no real quality time. There is just time and preferably lots of it.

4. Have defined rules and stick to them

Stability and certainty are important for any developing child. They should know where the boundaries are and the consequences of going beyond them. Typically a 'three strikes' policy works the best. First remind the child of the rules. Secondly remind the child of the rule and reinforce the consequence of breaking it. And if that doesn't stop the behavior then take the necessary action. This helps the child to understand that they are responsible for the consequences of their actions.

5. Be yourself

Let your children see that you are human. Children learn many of their core behaviors before they reach seven years old. So it's important for them to see you how you react in different situations. Show them that it is OK to laugh and cry, to be serious and silly or angry and sad. If you make mistakes share them, remember you don't have to have all of the answers.

6. Have special children days

As parents we enjoy trips, visits and special events, so why not create the same thing for your children? Set aside a day where they can decide exactly what the family should do. Whether it is a trip to a playground, catching a movie or a day gardening, let them make the choices and decisions. You'll often find that it is often these family times that are the most memorable.

7. Respect their choices

You don't have to like or agree with their choices, but you do have to respect them. Children have a strong need for independence and autonomy at a young age. As parents we should encourage those decision-making skills by giving our respect and support.

Most parents gain their experience 'on the job' and by the time they have it, it's not longer of much use. So perhaps using some of the highly effective habits will help you gain the experience whilst you are still able to use it. Enjoy the journey.


Jim Brackin contributes tips, help and advice on behaviour, psychology, selfhelp and therapy, to variety of magazines like Cosmopolitan, Real, Spirit and Destiny and Women's Own. He is the body language expert for Sky News in the UK.

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