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Getting involved in your child’s life

February 8, 2011
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What the Experts Say …

“The strongest and most consistent predictor of children’s mental health, adjustment, happiness, and well-being is the level of involvement of their parents in their life. Children with involved parents do better in school, feel better about themselves, and are less likely to take risks or get into trouble.” (Psychologist Laurence Steinberg, in his book The 10 Basic Principles of Good Parenting, p. 48)

In Other Words …

Children generally spell love T-I-M-E. Our children flourish when we take an active role in their lives. They want us to listen to their stories, join them in games, take walks with them, and read them stories. They want to be important in our lives and schedules. It is not enough to watch TV together or drag them shopping with you. We should do things with them that they enjoy and allow us to engage each other in a positive way.

How This Applies to You …

Find ways to be involved with your child. First, notice when they invite you to do simple things with them. Do them when possible. Listen to them. Learn about and support their interests. Talk to your child and find out what is going on in his or her life. Schedule activities that you can enjoy together—whether bike riding, going to the zoo, building a Lego castle, or cooking a treat together. Though teens may have very different preferences from younger children, they still want you involved in their lives, even if they don’t act like it.

To Find Out More …

For an excellent (and free!) program on parenting, see The Parenting Journey at www.arfamilies.org. If you have children less than 5 years of age, check out See the World Through My Eyes.

For more on parenting, we recommend The 10 Basic Principles of Good Parenting by Laurence Steinberg.

 

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