The goal of parents in a blended family is the same as those in an intact family:
Raise your children to be responsible, capable and confident adults.
Studies show the method you use to train your children directly impacts how successful they are throughout life. What you do will either increase or decrease their confidence and make them more or less responsible.
Here are fifteen things you can do that will make your children responsible and confident:
Make house rules everyone’s follows that establish mutual respect and responsibility as the expected norm. These rules can include things like: Be responsible for yourself. Treat others with respect. Tell the truth.
2. Logical Consequences.
Discipline using logical consequences rather than punishment. Punishment makes children angry with you. Logical consequences teach children to evaluate their decisions and learn from the results.
3. Unconditional Acceptance.
Accept each child for who he/she is. All of us are different and when we are accepted for who we are unconditionally, we thrive. You don’t have to love a stepchild like your own, but you do have to offer acceptance.
4. Develop Talents.
Develop each child’s unique talents. Everyone needs an identity that includes feeling positive about something done well. Help your children identify abilities, maximize them and feel good about them.
Help your children know themselves. This includes recognizing their personality strengths and weaknesses. Teach them to embrace their strengths and strive to improve their weaknesses.
6. Praise Realistically.
Praise your children realistically. It isn’t helpful to tell your child that something is done well when it isn’t. The world will be honest. Expect your child to do the very best and praise real successes.
Make each child an important part of the family. Everyone should have chores. Everyone’s needs should matter. Everyone should be able to contribute to the family identity. Everyone needs to belong to the blended family.
Treat your children with respect so that they will know that others should respect them and that they should respect themselves.
Teach problem-solving skills they can take with them no matter where they go, including the other home they spent the rest of their time in. Rather than telling them what to do, teach them to figure it out by asking questions like: “What did you do right?” “Why do you think that worked/didn’t work?” “What do you think you could have done differently” “What are some things you can do?” “What is good and bad about each of those things?”
10. Set Goals.
Teach them how to set goals and accomplish them. This includes setting realistic goals, breaking them down into manageable tasks, and evaluating progress.
11. Focus on Behavior.
Criticize behavior rather than the child. When you label a child as “lazy,” “stupid,” “liar,” or “slob,” you define the child. When you criticize the behavior, you allow the child the opportunity to change.
12. Emotional Intelligence.
Teach your children to be emotionally intelligent by identifying and handling their emotions. Feelings aren’t right or wrong; they just are. You must recognize them and then decide how to handle them in ways that are healthy instead of destructive.
13. Don’t Compare.
Don’t compare one child to another child. Each child should only be compared to himself or herself. This keeps expectations reasonable for that child and insures everyone feels equal.
14. No Freebies.
Make your children work for what they get. Too many kids in this generation are entitled and lazy. Nothing makes someone responsible more than having responsibility.
15. Teach By Example.
You can’t expect children to be something you aren’t. If you want your children to be responsible and confident, then make sure you are.
If you practice these fifteen things in your blended family, your children have a very good chance of being responsible and confident.
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