Mommy Lucy was constantly frustrated. It seemed she was repeating herself, over and over again – “Pick up your socks.  Who left dirty dishes in the family room? You forgot your lunch again?! I asked you to clean up after the dog, why didn’t you?”. Does this sound familiar? As parents, it’s our job to teach our kids habits and self-discipline. And we want to do that without sacrificing a positive relationship. Along the way most of us get stuck, at least for a while, dishing out too many negative comments.

Here is a four-step formula that will help you lovingly mold your kids into productive and responsible people. Get out of a negative spiral and build a positive parent-child relationship that will LAST.

Formula for relationships and habits that will LAST:

  1. L = Love. Remind yourself of how much, deep down, you love your children. Call those feelings forward into your mind and heart at least once a day and sit quietly with those loving feelings for at least 60 seconds.
  2. A = Affirm. Affirm your kids for the good they do. Go out of your way to deliver more positive comments to your kids than negative comments. Studies reveal that people in high quality and productive relationships share five positive messages for every one negative message. What does this mean for parents?  Dish out as many positives as you can (but don’t go overboard!) and strive for a 5:1 ratio, five positives for every negative.
  3. S = Systems. Set up systems for success so you have to “tell” your kids a little less often to brush teeth, take out the trash, or whatever it is you are working on building into habit. Build routines and use lists and charts to establish routines that will turn into habits. Habits take a long time to develop and your kids may still need reminders; take on a matter-of-fact tone when correcting your children or reminding them to do something you have already asked. Your tone of voice is important.
  4. T = Tell. Tell your kids that you love them regularly, and you are glad they are a part of your life. Sharing this level of affection in an overt fashion will help your kids feel good about who they are. You will not “spoil” your children by telling them they are precious beings. Instead, you will help your child take on a sense of self that is strong and confident. Your loving words mean more to your kids than you could ever know.

Your parenting job is a sacred trust. Your love, your positive words, and your insistence on building up solid habits in your children will gift your children for life – a gift that will LAST.

by Amy Sluss. Amy Sluss, RN, is a family-life specialist, an author and an acclaimed parenting speaker from Pleasanton, CA. Visit her website www.fab2bfem.com  to access her product line of uplifting parenting education tools for families with children ages 9-16.