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Parenting Tips
I get so frustrated sometimes. Is this normal?

Yes. All parents get frustrated. Children take a lot of time and energy. Parenting is even harder when you have problems in your life, such as worries about your job, your bills or your relationships, or problems with alcohol or drugs. To be a good parent, you have to take care of yourself. That means getting help for your problems.

What can I do when I feel frustrated?

Take a break. Everyone needs a break from being a parent once in a while. If you have another adult in your family, take turns getting away. For example, have your partner stay with the children so you can visit friends. Take turns sleeping late on the weekends. If you're a single parent, ask friends and relatives to help by running some errands for you. Maybe they could watch your child while you go out.

I sometimes lose my temper. Does that mean I'm a bad parent?

No. Many parents lose their temper with their children. It's OK to feel angry, but it's not OK to take it out on your children. When you're really angry, take a break. For example, take your children for a walk or call a friend to come help you. If you feel angry with your child almost every day or have trouble controlling your temper, get some help. You might talk to your family doctor. There are groups that can help parents, too. One group is listed at the end of this handout.

Is it OK to spank my child?

Spanking isn't the best way to discipline children. The goal of discipline is to teach children self-control. Spanking just teaches children to stop doing something out of fear. There are better ways to discipline children.

One good way for infants and toddlers is called "redirecting." When you redirect a child, you replace an unwanted (bad) behavior with an acceptable (good) behavior. For example, if throwing a ball inside the house isn't allowed, take your child outside to throw the ball.

With older children, try to get them to see the consequences of their actions and to take responsibility for them. For example, you can explain to your son that everyone had to wait for dinner because he didn't set the table when he was supposed to. Explain that he has to wash the dishes after dinner because he didn't set the table before dinner.

How can I be a good parent?

There's not just one right way to raise children. And there's no such thing as a perfect parent--or a perfect child. But here are some guidelines to help your children grow up healthy and happy:

Show your love. Every day, tell your children: "I love you. You're special to me." Give lots of hugs and kisses.

Listen when your children talk. Listening to your children tells them that you think they're important and that you're interested in what they have to say.
Love is not necessarily by giving candy and chocolate

Make your children feel safe. Comfort them when they're scared. Show them you've taken steps to protect them.
Provide order in their lives. Keep a regular schedule of meals, naps and bedtimes. If you have to change the schedule, tell them about the changes ahead of time.

Praise your children. When your children learn something new or behave well, tell them you're proud of them.
Criticize the behavior, not the child. When your child makes a mistake, don't say, "You were bad." Instead, explain what the child did wrong. For example, say: "Running into the street without looking isn't safe." Then tell the child what to do instead: "First, look both ways for cars."

Be consistent. Your rules don't have to be the same ones other parents have, but they do need to be clear and consistent. (Consistent means the rules are the same all the time.) If two parents are raising a child, both need to use the same rules. Also, make sure baby sitters and relatives know, and follow, your family rules.
Spend time with your children. Do things together, like reading, walking, playing and cleaning house. What children want most is your attention. Bad behavior is usually their way of getting your attention