Lincoln couple share successful parenting
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A popular commercial for the
Peace Corps claims that it is "the toughest job you'll ever love."
There is a tougher job, and most who hold the position wouldn't give
up the job for the world. The job requires long hours, lifetime
commitment, immense responsibility, and provides scant training and
no pay. The benefits, however, make it all worthwhile. This job, of
course, is parenthood.
At a parenting workshop at the
University of Illinois Extension office on Tuesday, Sept. 30, a few
parents from the area got some great tips and ideas for effective
parenting. The speakers for the event, Tom and Jan Ewald, have
successfully raised three children to productive adulthood. Tom is a
professor in counseling at Lincoln Christian College and holds a
Ph.D. His wife, Jan, is a veteran schoolteacher.
The Ewalds suggested the following list
of "dos" and "don'ts" in parenting:
- Distinguish childish behavior
from disobedience. Was the spilled milk an accident, or did your
child pour it out on purpose?
- Be firm but loving. You cannot be
your child's friend. The parent has to be in control.
- Move the "action line." This
means that you move the time that you take action from the 10th
time you call your child's name to the first. The goal is
- Ignore temper tantrums. These are
designed to get attention -- even negative attention. If it
doesn't seem to bother you, they will stop.
- Be brief and stay calm. Speak
your mind, but don't dwell on it or hammer the point home.
repentance and forgiveness and expect the same. Don't be afraid to
say you're sorry if you are in the wrong, and teach your children
the same thing. Also, be willing to forgive the offense after you
have disciplined the child.
- Threaten or repeat. Tell your
child what is expected, and leave them with the responsibility of
following through. If you do present a warning, be prepared to
follow through on it.
- Give too many choices. If a child
is allowed to decide everything all day, they will assume that
they can choose whether to go to bed or to put on a coat.
- Bribe. This teaches children to
do what they should only because of what they will get out of it.
Unfortunately, that doesn't happen in real life.
- Allow too much freedom too soon.
Parents should set limited boundaries in the beginning and slowly
widen the perimeters as the child grows. Too many times, children
run free when they are small and parents have no control when they
- Give in to negative behavior.
This puts the child in charge, and parents will lose control of
- Be afraid to say NO. Parents
usually do know better than children what they need or what would
be good for them.
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Other suggestions included
acknowledging feelings and giving your child the opportunity to talk
them out. Let them know that you understand when they are afraid,
sad or angry. Give them a chance to discuss their feelings and help
in whatever way you can.
The Ewalds suggested teaching values
instead of rules and explaining the moral reasons why children
shouldn't do things they want. They also suggested teaching in times
of nonconflict, when neither parent nor child is angry or upset.
The disciplinary methods they preferred
were timeout, isolation, loss of privilege and finally, only in
extreme cases, a light spank. This is not to advocate a beating,
just a light swat to get the child's attention.
The Ewalds suggested giving children
chores and using charts to keep track of behavior and
responsibilities. They said that children should be taught from an
early age that they are part of the family and have a responsibility
to help keep the house clean and neat and to take care of their own
The bottom line of effective parenting,
according to the Ewalds, is: Be brief, be calm, be firm but loving,
be a model.
The Ewalds share their parenting tips
on a regular basis at a parenting class through Jefferson Street
Christian Church, and they plan to have one starting after the first
of the year. Interested parents can call the church at that time for
Other seminars and events are offered
frequently at the Extension office at the Logan County Fairgrounds.
Subject areas include cooking classes and other topics of interest
for home, health and community. For more information, contact:
University of Illinois Extension
Logan County Unit
980 N. Postville Drive
Lincoln, IL 62656
Phone (217) 732-8289