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Parenting Styles and Skills for Preschoolers and Kindergarteners

Parenting Styles with Young Children

Learn what parenting styles work for preschool and kindergarten age children, and how to discipline effectively. Use good parenting skills to improve kids’ behavior.

By Linda Sorkin, L.F.M.T. and Mom
How do you point your kids in the right direction? What is the right direction anyway? When it comes to increasing the odds of changing your child's behavior, think in terms of empowering your child to change his or her own behavior. Also think in the long run in terms of the fundamentals: Character, values, principles and beliefs.

There's at least one thing parents and stepchildren often have in common. Each thinks the other is from another planet. And it's not a bad analogy, considering a child coming into a new family is much like an explorer who's landed on a remote and not necessarily friendly planet.

To spank or not to spank. That is the question many parents struggle with. Regardless of whether or not you believe that the occasional spanking is necessary, it's important to understand, and use, other, more positive ways of disciplining your child. Most parents spank out of frustration. Spanking does little to teach children other than an immediate "don't do that!" Positive discipline can be used to teach children how to self-regulate their behavior and may be more useful than spanking. Spanking out of frustration is more for your benefit than your child's. Spanking satisfies an immediate need. Before spanking, ask yourself if there is another way to handle the situation.

Being a parent is one of the most difficult, yet rewarding jobs a person could ever take on. While it’s easy to be reminded of the rewards of being a parent throughout each day, it’s easy to become discouraged when your child develops negative behavioral tendencies, such as refusing chores, a bad attitude or not fully applying themselves in school. Luckily, utilizing children charts can help you monitor and modify your child’s negative behaviors and nudge them in the right direction.

In any given one-hour span, your child may display more emotions than you can count. She may be happy, sad, angry, defiant, helpful, and more. Helping your preschooler or kindergartner understand what she's feeling may be as simple as helping her identify the emotions that go along with those feelings.

Just as societies have laws that regulate behavior and "mores" (morals and values) that dictate social behavior, families have similar laws and mores, or rules and values. Just as anyone would be subject to social sanctions like fines and imprisonment if they violated the law, kids need to understand there are consequences for violating family rules.

With so much emphasis on limiting or eliminating TV, although a noble idea, is just not realistic. Television is a part of the American culture and parents needs to think of how to use the TV as a tool to help their preschooler or kindergartener learn from it. It's really up to you how TV influences your small child and with some limits in place, it can be a powerful tool. So how can watching TV be a good experience for your child? One way is to watch TV together as a family.

Parents want to know that they are doing the right things to encourage positive behavior in their children. If you are looking for ways to improve your child’s behavior, consider using incentive charts, which are tools used to reinforce positive behavior in children. There are a wide variety of behavior charts that focus on chores, daily goals, or specific actions. You want to select the type of chart that is appropriate for the behavior the child that you want to target. Every child is unique, so allow flexibility in modifying the chart to your child.

Ultimately, every parent wants their child to be independent. Although, the feelings that come along with watching our preschooler or kindergartner achieve that independence can be heart wrenching, parents must wrestle with their own emotions in order to help their child become productive, independent adults. Helping your child become independent means getting rid of the super parent syndrome. As parents, we often feel pressured to do so much for our children in the name of good parenting that we forget that our kids need to do things for themselves in order to develop a sense of self and in order to reach their own independence.

Small children, like preschoolers and kindergartners, often have trouble controlling their emotions. Because kids of this age tend to be very self-centered, they don't understand that the entire world doesn't feel the same way that they do.

Modeling behavior does not mean being a model parent. All parents make mistakes. However, when teaching our children how to behave in most situations, our own behavior has more impact than any words. Therefore, to make sure that your preschooler or kindergartner behaves in a way that would make you proud, show him that you are willing to behave that way too.

There's a fine line between letting our kids grow, learn, and explore and setting reasonable boundaries. Positive discipline involves saying "no" to your preschooler or kindergartner.

The way we parent has a distinct impression on our kids. Encouraging preschoolers and kindergartners to grow up to be independent and compassionate adults means treating them this way now. Understanding parenting styles and how they affect kids can help you gauge how your parenting may ultimately influence your child.

All parents want to deal positively with their children. But with busy lives and increased stress, positive parenting isn't always at the forefront of parents' minds. Understanding how your outlook affects your preschooler or kindergartner’s future can help guide you toward a more positive style of parenting.

Raising twins has its own unique set of challenges and rewards, not the least of which if fostering individuality in your duplicates. When your twins were younger, you probably dressed them alike, bought two of each toy, and reveled in the unique event of their "sameness." Now that your twins have reached preschool or kindergarten, you may have noticed that these very similar individuals are somewhat, or even very, different from each other.

As all single parents are well aware, raising children on your own can take a toll on your mental and physical well-being: It’s often hard to a stay positive. High stress levels abound when parents find themselves as the primary caregivers for their children, especially when their kids are preschool or kindergarten age. Young children can be very difficult to keep up with, but by maintaining control and indulging in some "me time," single parents can stave off the insanity that is so often caused by shrieking kids.

Using a point system is a great way to motivate your preschooler or kindergartener to develop good habits. Finding the right reward to motivate your child is an important part of implementing a successful reward program. You want the reward to be meaningful enough to be attractive, but you do not want the reward to be out of proportion for the behavior.

Preschoolers and Kindergarteners are pros at pushing the limits to see how far they can get before Mom or Dad either gives them what they want or hands out punishment-- meaning that tantrums and other negative behaviors are almost certain to occur. For parents looking to break their children of bad behaviors in a positive and effective way, reward systems are great parenting tools.

Many parents bristle at the thought of "bribing" their children. Really, bribing is all in how you look at it. Bribes are mere "incentives," but they are incentives that keep the peace, get things done, and allow your preschooler or kindergartner to believe that he is master of his own ship. Bribes, managed with care, can be an important parenting tool. Parents who keep a few tricks up their sleeves, and dole them out at just the right times and in just the right amounts, can successfully implement bribing as an art.

"I'll do it later." "Just a minute." "You're no fair." These are just a few of kids' favorite lines that, upon repetition day after day, can drive parents to the very edge of sanity. After Mom's asked Johnny to clean his room for the tenth time, and after receiving the same response ("In a minute") while Johnny works the controls of his PlayStation, she gives up, teaching Johnny that if he just procrastinates long enough, he'll win the battle.

We've all shared in the joys of dealing with a fussy eater. You may think your child was just born this way or you may in fact be a fussy eater yourself, so you view it as completely normal. However, it's important that your child is able to develop a taste for all the food groups, so that he/she experiences complete and balanced nutrition. SuperNanny's methods for dealing with picky eaters combine practical experience and expert advice, and that's what makes them so effective. SuperNanny Picky Eater Technique:

As a parent there are days that you dread walking into the house and seeing the many messes that are just waiting to be picked up by you. From toys to books, dirty clothes to dishes, it seems that your once clean house can get messy again in just a few minutes. Whether you work inside the home or out, keeping up with never-ending messes can become a real chore.

As we're well aware, kids will say just about anything that's on their mind, or even yours, for that matter. As you're rushing to get home and your child is the in back seat, you hit a string of red lights. Think about it, exactly what kind of words come out of your mouth? If you think your child hasn't picked up on this, you're wrong. Just wait until the next play-date with your neighbor's kids, your child might decide to blurt out "the word" in front of everyone.

By Linda Sorkin, LMFT, Soul Empowered Coaching
The pressure we put on ourselves as parents is enormous. We want to ensure we are raising good humanbeings who will eventually become self sufficient, responsible and successful in the world. Often we takeour jobs as parents so to heart that we tend to feel tremendous guilt when things seem like they're not turning out the way we expected or anticipated. It gets even more exacerbating when we simply don't know how or what to do to in critical situations.

Anyone who has been praised understands how wonderful it is to be recognized for the great things they have done. Children, not unlike adults, thrive on the knowledge that they have done a good job. For parents, especially those raising kids in preschool or kindergarten. Praise is an important parenting tool. The reinforcement of good behavior through various forms of praise can help children learn what is and is not acceptable and is a great way to be a positive parent.

In homes across the country toddlers and kindergarteners raise up a chorus when asking their favorite question: "Why?" Despite the cute faces and innocent voices that accompany this seemingly harmless question, the fifteenth or twentieth time it is asked can result in a near nervous breakdown for a parent. Young children have a desire to learn about the world around them. Instead of giving in to frustration, parents can teach their children how to find the answers to their questions.