A plan will help get the school year off to a great start

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By Diana Boggia
Posted Aug 20, 2017 at 11:00 AM

Lots of preparation and anticipation surround the beginning of each new school year, especially with back to school clothes, fun backpacks and all the supplies that add to the excitement. I remember placing my new penny loafer shoes by the edge of my bed, waiting patiently for that first day of school when I could wear them. Even older ’tweens and teens are geared up and ready to reunite with friends, get back onto the sports field and settle in to the place where they spend nearly 10 months of their lives each year

Unfortunately, as we’ve all experienced, once the newness wears off and the homework piles on, the complaints get louder, assignments take a back seat to other scheduling conflicts, bedtime and morning alarms are ignored, and frustration rises all around. Want to avoid all that this year? You can, with a plan.

Dedication and not-so-hard work.

Being dedicated to a successful school year requires some panning and consistency, but the benefits far outweigh any sacrifices you’ll make. And remember, it’s always easier to make exceptions to the rules and loosen the reins than it is to pull them in after grades have plummeted. Organize homework time and after school activities like a coach training his players. Provide the support, encouragement and enthusiasm of a cheerleader. Don’t expect your child to know the rules or follow them without continuous reinforcement. A simple, verbal acknowledgement or encouraging word is often enough. Teach what you expect, the way a teacher would in a classroom. And lastly, be that organized, thoughtful, even-tempered parent that provides the structure and support every child needs.

Be their coach — A coach determines the training schedule, develops the game strategy, explains player expectations and commitment, and reinforces with daily drills and individualized training. In your house that might look like a welcome back party conversation with some fun, party food while explaining homework priorities and rules. Invite everyone involved (the whole team) to review expected bedtimes, morning routines and all the other rules, such as TV, phone privileges or computer games only after homework. Friends are welcome, but homework still comes first, so, if necessary, help them complete it together, quickly, with the motivation that they can play as soon as they’re finished. Explain thoroughly, ask for questions, don’t assume they can read your mind or know your expectations, and stick to the game plan, just as their coach would. Players get a big win as a result of their hard work. You can reinforce their academic work ethic by allowing them to earn weekend activities or sleepover privileges. Use your leverage as a parent. Remember, you make the rules, and reinforcement is always more effective than nagging or yelling.

Be their cheerleader — Cheerleaders encourage and lift spirits. Find ways to make homework fun with great after-school snacks and lots of support, both academic and emotional. Provide an at-home school toolbox with all their supplies in one place, and refill with seasonal pencils, etc. to keep the motivation going. When attitudes need some fine-tuning ask, “How can I help?”

Be their teacher — Teach them how to study; they might not know how. Set them up for success with the same thought that a classroom teacher does. Determine the best location for homework, show them how to be organized, and cater to your child’s learning style. Visual learners do well when things are clearly laid out, color coded or outlined for an easy visual overview. Auditory learners remember what they hear. Try reading the subject matter and asking questions for comprehension. Clap out math patterns and spelling words, or make up rhymes to remember states, science equations or other facts to be memorized. Kinesthetic or tactile learners use their hands or carry out physical activities rather than listen to a lecture or watch demonstrations. Teach measurements by measuring, reinforce spelling with magnetic letters, dance to the state capitols or presidents, and use manipulatives whenever possible for a hands on experience. Most children have a preferred learning style, but many are successful when you access them all for a comprehensive, multi-sensory learning experience.

Be their parent — Incorporate all the above, and be consistent with an encouraging, positive attitude. Follow the rules you’ve set, bend them only every once in a while when the specific need arises and reinforce the importance of school, studying and learning to make this year the best yet. Lastly, make the type of commitment to your kids that you expect from them.

Diana Boggia, M.Ed. is a parent coach and author of “Parenting with a Purpose”. Send your family-related questions to FamilyMatters@Cantonrep.com. Find videos and parent resources on Facebook, Parent with a Purpose, and links to her Repository columns at http://www.ParentWithaPurpose.com.

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A few tips to help build your ‘dad’ style

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Being a dad is a lot different from years ago. Many are much more involved than in the past, and are enjoying the endless rewards of a very close bond with their children. For those that are “All In,” it’s not an easy balance with the daily requirements of life, as well as providing both a physical and an emotional shoulder to everyone in the family. Good parenting presents challenges every day, as new situations arise and the kids figure out which buttons to push. That’s their job; to explore, try new things, test, learn about expectations and push to the limit.

Automatic go-tos

Some dads are uncomfortable with parenting, perhaps because babies seem so fragile. It’s extremely difficult to gain a sense of confidence, comfortability or connectedness when you’re afraid of breaking something so delicate. Therefore, many dads remain at arm’s length and leave the rearing responsibilities to Mom. However, the longer it takes to become comfortable, the more time is lost in developing a trusting relationship. The good news is that it’s never too late to grow together, with some dedicated effort and lots of love.

Some fathers see their primary role as the disciplinarian of the family, and may not know how to take the middle ground. Leaning toward a nurturing side may feel like compromising, leaving some to believe their kids will become too soft. What we do know is that those who are consistently nurtured with patience, efforts to build confidence, are more resilient and are better prepared to thrive in a variety of challenging situations.

Some fathers do as their father did, while others haven’t had a healthy role model at all, so they react with whatever feels right to them. This inconsistency can cause distress and relational distance.

Some dads feel that playing video games is the easiest or best way to connect; yet we know that physical activity releases serotonin (a feel good endorphin). As you play, read, bike or hike, you’re both releasing and receiving a positive experience. It’s so much more powerful than sharing digital media time together, and better for your child’s developing brain.

There are single dads doing it all, while others are stressed to the max doing the best they can. Then there’s the commonly known Disney Dad, who buys everything, but spends little quality time.

Many dads are “All In,” changing into play clothes after work so they can jump into the game. Of course this means different things to different dads, but patience and participation build the foundation.

All In: How to get there

Get up and GO!

• Fundamentally, this means get off the couch! Move closer to your child to give directions rather than yell from another room. Set a policy of “no yelling from room to room” that everyone abides by, and you’ll love the peaceful quiet. Plan an activity (other than video games) each day that connects you, whether it’s going for a walk or helping to clean up. Just move together!

• Provide recognition for efforts and achievements. Too often we focus on the misbehaviors and forget to verbalize or encourage efforts. Recognized efforts evolve into successful achievements, so keep looking for them, and minimize the criticism.

• Take a deep breath rather than yell. You may not perceive that you’re yelling, but a deeper, louder voice can be intimidating and interpreted as yelling. Keep your volume in check, swallow, and take a breath. Relay your message slowly, in one sentence. This requires thinking before speaking, which is an excellent skill for us all to acquire.

• Don’t always say no. Instead say, “Yes, when…” to motivate your child. Children are frequently told no, and they’re ready for it. They complain and push limits, and then we get angry and yell. Break the pattern and switch it up with a “Yes, when…” and you determine what needs to be completed first.

• Look at life through the eyes of your child. If he doesn’t understand something, keep your frustrations at bay and teach it a different way.

• Explore something new together. Create a great memory that your child will have forever. Whether you grab a magnifying glass to look at bugs or bake a batch of cookies, you’ll build a tower of fond memories.

For some, the words father or dad may be synonymous, but truly, anyone can father a child, while being a dad suggests a deeply connected, trusting relationship. Dads that are “All In” will feel a love like none other.

Diana Boggia, M.Ed. is a parent coach and author of “Parenting with a Purpose”. Send your family-related questions to FamilyMatters@Cantonrep.com. View videos and parent resources on Facebook, Parent with a Purpose, and find links to her Repository columns at www.ParentWithaPurpose.com.

 

 

 

Lessons learned in motherhood

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“Raising a child is an amazing opportunity to shape an extraordinary life.” — Diana Boggia

Becoming a mother is perhaps life’s greatest gift of all. From the very moment my first child was born, everything shifted from me and I, to he and we. Through the years, with two more beautiful baby blessings, I came to realize that those sleepless nights were my precious moments to cherish. My sweet little ones were wrapped safely in my arms as I made certain that shadows stayed at bay and their fevers melted away. When crashing thunder shook the house, I’d whisper the angels were bowling, watching over, and then rock them gently back into dreamland, humming as they drifted. Exhaustion was a constant, yet I miss those days.

Reframing challenges into opportunities

Our typical daytime frustrations of meltdowns and messy rooms presented endless teaching opportunities, always with the intention of helping them grow to become thoughtful, responsible, accomplished adults. Exceptional challenges arose as we endured a long, devastating divorce, with all the emotional imbalance and insecurities that emerged, for all of us. Many a night I climbed into bed hoping that tomorrow would be better, that I’d gain insight or learn from my mistakes to become a better mom. While striving to earn that ever-unattainable “Mother of the Year Award,” I learned that my children’s challenges and mistakes were my sole responsibility in how I did or did not teach them. My enthusiasm (or despair) was easily absorbed by their little bodies. Their understanding of life’s expectations was based on what I presented to them.

From dark to bright

Even as my sense of self teetered with doubt during our divorce, my children and I learned to intertwine each day with enormous gratitude for everything, and searched for the sunny side. We wrapped ourselves in blankets on the front porch during rainstorms, read books and danced in puddles with boots. As we looked for silver linings, when one thing fell apart, we held on by a golden thread, until another opportunity surfaced to draw us back together. Those difficult days brought us closer, perhaps more so than I could have ever imagined. Make no mistake; there was plenty of chaos in our house. Yet, as a single mom of three, trying to find balance and set boundaries, I also found indescribable joy. Nearly every tear could be dried with hugs, most anger could be melted with empathy, and I found that even their smallest accomplishment felt like a big, “well done” pat on the back for me.

Reflect and restore

Moms can easily lose their identity, arranging every day around others, focused on tasks, things that require repair or need to be purchased by the next practice, and the list goes on. With all these stressors, schedules and obligations, in addition to career pressures and wanting to be the best parent for your kids, make sure you take time every single day to reflect on you and your life. Update your goals, reshape your dreams and care for yourself as you do for others. The messes will still be there. As my children have grown, I’m so much more than a mom, although motherhood will always be at the center of my heart. I may not have won that “Mother-of-the-Year Award,” but I did it well enough for my three children to grow into resilient, confident, successful adults, who have a solid foundation of family, as they raise their own little ones, and carry on the joy.

Finding your reason

When we parent our children with thought, consideration and dreams for their future, they grow to become the adults we enjoy spending time with. Helpfully they will always seek your guidance and respect your opinions, but the roles will shift as they themselves become parents and view life through the eyes of their own children. These are the most beautiful gifts of all, when you have the opportunity to see how your unconditional love, patience, unending efforts, sleepless nights and dedication to your children have paid off.

Some words of encouragement

Look at what you’ve given, as well as what you’ve gained.

Stay true to your values, and trust your quiet inner voice.

Teach your children how to do things for themselves, so they grow responsibly.

Use the words grateful and appreciative every day, and they will, too.

Find the effort your child has made in each day, and celebrate it.

Don’t just get through the day. Raise a person the world will enjoy.

Diana Boggia, M.Ed. is a parent coach and author of “Parenting with a Purpose”. Send your family-related questions to FamilyMatters@Cantonrep.com. Find videos and parent resources on Facebook, Parent with a Purpose, and links to all her Repository columns at www.ParentWithaPurpose.com.

Parents must take care not to spread anxiety

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It’s normal for any of us to have significant feelings, fears, opinions, emotions or anxieties about particular past experiences, objects and events, but sharing those with your child may not in their best interest. Children learn what they live, so if you’re afraid, chances are they’ll learn to be afraid, as well.

Unspoken language

Sharing your fears may not be intentional, but we express our emotions in a multitude of ways, many of which are unspoken. Our bodies naturally react to things we don’t like, or things that frighten us. We tense our shoulders, make a scrunchy face with squinty eyes, or speak in a fast, high-pitched tone when upset. As more is caught than taught, children are always learning by watching, so they pick up even the slightest mannerisms and intonations, gather their information, and respond accordingly. For example, when a child falls and we gasp or scream, we communicate a reason for fear. That child might cry simply from the startle of the scream, not from being hurt. Sometimes it’s better to just extended a hand up and a supportive hug.

We also feed unintentional information with our words, often expressing the opposite of our intention. On the way to a doctor, some parents anticipate anxiety, perhaps even their own, saying things with reassuring intent, yet resulting in more distress. Prompting a child not to worry because a shot or procedure won’t hurt can cause mistrust, and may signal concerns that had not previously existed. “Why would I worry? Is there something to worry about? I wasn’t worried before you warned me not to worry.” We also confuse children who are slow to warm when they don’t acknowledge others. Our uncomfortable response might be “Oh, she’s just being shy,” which normalizes it, and gives that child permission to remain withdrawn. Some estranged parents speak about the other parent, referring to him as “Your father” or “Your Mother,” which speaks volumes as to how one particular parent feels about the other. Our words impact a reaction.

Clinical vs. non-clinical anxiety

Forty million adults over the age of 18 suffer from some sort of clinical anxiety disorder. Meditation, breathing techniques, essential oils, therapy and medication are just a few supports that provide relief by stabilizing emotions and diminishing some paralyzing effects. My focus is on the everyday, manageable, non-clinical anxieties that we all experience at one time or another. This leads me to “helicopter parenting,” which refers to those parents who hover over their children with extreme intensity, stemming from a parent’s concern that their child will not be safe without their direct care.

Hovering

Typically all parents want the best for their child. We want them to succeed, have friends and be happy. In many cases we do more for them than is necessary because, in addition to wanting things done correctly and quickly, we attempt to avoid accidents and unnecessary upsets. However, helicopter parents manage and over manage nearly everything from friends to food, and can actually cause unnecessary anxiety. When children are micromanaged, incompetence or the incapability to make decisions impacts their development of coping skills, and may cause a reluctance in trying new things. These restrictions minimize their exposure to many life experiences that build confidence as well as healthy social and emotional growth.

My own dislikes

I was very intentional not to share my own fears or dislikes with my children as they grew. My disdain of spiders, and dislike of worms and garden snakes was challenged almost daily, as our property encroached the woods and my boys loved to dig in the dirt. I trained myself to respond calmly with remarks including, “That’s so cute, but that creature needs to go back home to its family in the woods.” What I really wanted to do was scream! I also have an irrational dislike for yogurt, but yogurt was heavily promoted for its healthy cultures and nutrients by my pediatrician. With reluctance, I learned to spoon-feed them, while the smell and consistency made my stomach turn. Wiping drips from their little mouths or cleaning their goopy high chair tray was more than a challenge, but I did it with a smile, so they could learn to love their probiotics.

What to do instead?

• Answer simple questions with simple answers. One-line answers often suffice a young child’s concerns. Even older children usually only ask what they want to know.

• Take a breath, think, and respond calmly.

• Watch what you say, and how you say it. Your words and actions matter.

Diana Boggia, M.Ed. is a parenting coach and author of “Parenting with a Purpose”. Send your family-related questions to FamilyMatters@Cantonrep.com. Find videos and parent resources on Facebook, Parent with a Purpose, and links to all her Repository columns at www.ParentWithaPurpose.com.

 

 

Battling illness with a special eye on the children

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By Diana Boggia

Have you seen the commercial with a parent entering their child’s bedroom, coughing and sneezing with tissue in hand, saying, “Sweetie, I’m taking the day off because I’m not feeling very well.” Their child looks up in disbelief, as if to say, “How will I get dressed? What will I eat? Who will take care of me?” It’s a television commercial for medicine that promotes getting us back on our feet in no time, because parents have too many responsibilities to get sick. But parents do get sick, and the degree of their illness as well as the manner in which they present the information can determine how well (or poorly) a child will perceive or process the information.

My baby

Over 20 years ago, I fell ill with pneumonia. My boys were older, requiring minimal direction, but my daughter was 3 and struggled to understand why I couldn’t get off the couch. I set up shop in the living room, so she could watch dance videos, wear tutus and tap shoes, and perform all day. In between performances, we napped, and she lay directly on top of me, as if to ensure I was safe and still breathing when she woke. For a very long time after that, whenever anyone developed a fever or a cough, she worried they would get pneumonia.

My dad

My father was diagnosed with and died from leukemia. Without even realizing, I began processing through stages of grief, with shock and denial, then guilt for not helping to get him diagnosed earlier. When anger and bargaining didn’t work, I detached. I couldn’t stand to see this great man deteriorate, so I stayed away. It felt wrong at the time, but I became immobilized, only able to reconnect at the very end, after loosing so much time together. I’ve regretted allowing my emotions to dictate my actions ever since that day. Although an adult, I was still his child.

Mother, daughter, sister, wife

A few short months ago, I began feeling ill, and after some blood work, was sent to the hospital for what I thought was an overnight stay for a transfusion and some vitamin B12. Test after test confirmed AML, an acute, aggressive form of leukemia. My three children rallied ’round doctor/patient conferences, asking questions and obtaining as much information as possible. I tried to protect them, but they insisted on advocating and participating in every decision.

All three have handled this differently, with their different personalities, and have supported or questioned as best they know how. I realize that this is as much their challenge as it is mine. My eldest son said he was going to order “Cancer Sucks” T-shirts, but I told him I won’t wear one, because I’m not bringing any negativity to this. So, instead, “Rosie the Riveter” T-shirts were ordered (with my face and #DianaStrong), along with #DianaStrong orange rubber bracelets. I feel fortunate that they can advocate, talk to doctors and be supportive of each other. My daughter, the attorney, has ensured that all legal documents are updated and signed, and my two sons call doctors and Facetime every day with my sweet grandbabies. Everyone’s doing whatever they can to have some control during this out-of-control time. As for my mom, her remedy to get me back on my feet is essential oil therapy and healthy, organic foods to feed my bone marrow. My sister is my bone marrow match and is donating for my transplant, and my husband remains busy, endlessly meeting my every need, and then some.

All of us

We all handle illness differently. Some want to be left alone, while others want to be cared for. This is a time to watch for children’s responses, perceptions and behaviors. Ask them how they’re doing, and what they think. Avoid phrases including, “She was really sick before she died,” because, should they ever become really sick with the flu, they may believe they will die. Don’t assume that misbehaving is anything other than a child’s way of expressing their fear or concerns. Watch for both withdrawal and outbursts. I worked with a mom who had heart surgery and her 7-year-old daughter developed severe separation anxiety, barely able to attend school. I suggested they go out to lunch for questions and answers, inviting her daughter to share all her thoughts. That mom was amazed to hear her daughter’s perceptions and fears, and alleviated all of them.

Watch closely, listen carefully and be well.

Diana Boggia, M.Ed. is a parenting coach and author of “Parenting with a Purpose”. Send your family-related questions to FamilyMatters@Cantonrep.com. Find videos and parent resources on Facebook, Parent with a Purpose, and her syndicated column articles at www.ParentWithaPurpose.com.

Your effort will help ensure you raise a ‘Mr. Wonderful’

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Are you raising a son with the hope of raising a gentleman? If you’re raising a daughter, have you contemplated the type of young man you’d like her to keep company with, or the man you hope she marries? Molding and nurturing a boy into a gentleman takes foresight, dedication and determination. Are you up for the task?

Teach, model and live it

Use every opportunity to teach. Whether you’re raising a son or a daughter, teach them how to treat others well, by thinking of others first. Model how to live without judgment, anger or sarcasm, and how to thoughtfully communicate, while building valuable relationships. Express the importance of being selfless and how the result will bring a lifetime of happiness. If you’re raising a son, pause to think of who you want him to become. Raising a son is a very different experience from raising a daughter. Standards, expectations, emotions, and maturity vary tremendously from raising a daughter, especially through those crucial adolescent years. Think about your experience with boys and men: what are your objectives and/or intentions for those in your life. The values you teach will directly impact their future happiness in both career and relationships. We all have our own idea of a “perfect partner.” Consider taking a moment to decide if you are your partner’s Mr. (or Mrs.) Wonderful, and if the child you’re raising will someday be considered one as well.

When speaking to 20 or 30-year-olds of today who are still looking for their Mr. Wonderful, you’ll hear stories of self absorbed, needy, immature, entitled, even controlling young men. “Men” who have little or no interest in doing anything different. I have to wonder why this is and moreover, are they truly happy? Is it because we (parents) have overprotected or enabled our boys? Can we hand some of the blame over to the gaming era, where boys, teens and grown men spend hours in front of an X-box, instead of living life, socializing with friends and family, spending time with their own children, and developing meaningful relationships? Is it because life is so busy, we haven’t made time to teach the things that we once valued?

Mr. Wonderful

My personal experiences bring my fingers to the keyboard today. I could have easily written a similar article focused on raising young women. However, in the spirit of Valentines’ Day, I chose to write about Mr. Wonderful, because I’m fortunate enough to have met, fallen in love with and married him.

What’s special about your Mr. Wonderful? Is he your go-to-guy to talk things over with, someone that anchors you? Is he continuously thoughtful, always looking for ways to support you? Perhaps he’s the one that understands that you may have had a long, challenging a day, and greets you with a smile and a welcome home hug that melts your stress away. Does he support your hopes and dreams, as far off as they may be? Does your Mr. Wonderful open car doors out of courtesy, or offer to carry heavy bags for you or others? Is he the man who looks out for your best interest before his own? When you’re stressed or distressed, does he whisper, “Not to worry, I’ve got this.”?

Perhaps my version of Mr. Wonderful isn’t quite your style. If not, then who would he be? Some women hope for a man who makes the wastebasket, rather than leave his trash behind. Others hope for a guy who tosses his laundry in the hamper, over leaving it on the floor. Many hope to simply avoid conversation in order to circumvent conflict, wishing for a day without disagreements. We all have our expectations for the person we’re partnering with, who we hope to spend our lives with, happily ever after.

Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary has been coined “Mr. Wonderful” but from what I’ve seen, he doesn’t earn my qualifying vote in that category. Does he earn yours? Based on the buzz in the community, there seem to be fewer men around who take pride in thinking of other’s first. Sadly, chivalry may be a dying culture with younger generations. That said, this is written as a tribute to all those men who are! It’s meant to serve as a spring board for thought and conversation with your own Mr. Wonderful, or even better, the son you’re raising in training to become one.

Hoping you have someone special in your life that fills your soul and brings joy, laughter and love to your life, every day.

Diana Boggia, M.Ed. is a parenting coach and author of “Parenting with a Purpose”. Send your family-related questions to FamilyMatters@Cantonrep.com. Find videos and parent resources on Facebook, Parent with a Purpose, and links to all her Repository columns at www.ParentWithaPurpose.com.

Borrow, sneak, steal: How parents should take action

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By Diana Boggia
Posted Jan 8, 2017 at 11:00 AM
How would you handle a toddler that takes a toy from another, or one who takes food from a parent’s plate? Simple, right? How do you address the preschooler that brings home small pocket toys from a friend’s house, or sneaks warm cookies from a plate in Grandma’s kitchen, after he’s been told not to? What happens when your ’tween has the same amount of money lying on his dresser that you’re missing from your wallet? How do you respond when you find your child has taken something from a store? Reactions set the stage for a child’s future behavior, which includes learning the moral value of taking or not taking items that don’t belong to them.

Initially, and very innocently, young children take things that don’t belong to them because immature impulsivity and instinctual need for self-preservation prevail. A young child might think, “I like it, I want it, I need it, so I’m taking it.” As always, the way in which we go about teaching, determines belief and response systems as children grow and mature.

Don’t punish, teach! With so much research on brain functioning, we know with certainty that punishment doesn’t teach a new or desired behavior. Instead, it isolates and humiliates, causing defensiveness, reactionary responses, resentment and rebellion. That’s why the same behaviors reoccur; yet we think, “How many times do I have to punish him for this?” Punishment is a hurtful reaction from the ones who are supposed to love and protect us. Through the eyes of a child, it just doesn’t make sense to be hurt by the ones we love. Children are born ready to learn, and there are endless ways to teach without harm.

Share and ask permission. Teach respect of others’ belongings through constant examples. Offer a bite, mentioning how much you enjoy sharing. Before you use something that’s not yours, ask. For example, ask your child if you may borrow (his) bathroom stool to change the light bulb. The more you refer to sharing and borrowing with permission, the more often your child will do the same.

Don’t laugh. Parents may become uncomfortable when their child displays embarrassing behaviors. Unsure of what to do, they laugh to diffuse tension. Whether laughing from discomfort, or because the situation was comical in some way, your child receives the message of acceptance, even when you utter the words, “That’s not nice.” Actions always speak louder than words.

Don’t ignore it. Some parents aren’t sure what to do, so they do nothing, hoping it won’t happen again. Doing nothing condones the action, communicating acceptance. When you’re not sure what to do, take a moment, regulate your emotions, then decide how to effectively teach what you want.

Set consequences. Respond with logical consequences that your child, ’tween or teen can learn from. When your daughter “borrows” your cashmere sweater without asking… when your son “borrowed” the car without permission… Have your daughter earn enough cash to pay for dry cleaning, and have your son fill the tank, then wash, wax and vacuum the car. Holding children accountable (teens are children, too) keeps them safe from impulsive, peer driven activities that put them in danger.

Stay on point. Even when it’s uncomfortable for you, follow through. When you leave the store and your toddler pulls a chocolate bar from her pocket that’s not been paid for… When your eight-year-old has taken a bottle of nail polish while you were shopping together… find comfort in doing the right thing. Take the candy or nail polish, without yelling, and make a return trip together to the manager. You can’t force an apology, and embarrassment or shame might be overwhelming, so apologize on your child’s behalf, for your child, with your child. She’ll learn from the logical consequence. If all that’s left is one last, broken bite of a sweet treat, toss it but save the wrapper. Provide your child age appropriate chores to earn enough to pay for the item. Return to the store together with the wrapper and cash, even a day later, which has a lasting impression.

Teach “The Come Back.” View a quick, descriptive video on my parent Facebook page, Diana Boggia, M.Ed., which teaches children how to willingly reconcile their mistakes without punishment.

Follow your heart, not your insecurities. When you know what’s right, do it. Don’t be intimidated or swayed by a young, underdeveloped, impulsive brain. Teens are great negotiators. They’ve learned from the best. Keep your kids safe and honest, by teaching them young.

Diana Boggia, M.Ed. is a parenting coach and author of “Parenting with a Purpose”. Send your family-related questions to FamilyMatters@Cantonrep.com. Find videos and parent resources on Facebook, Diana Boggia, M.Ed., and links to all her Repository columns at http://www.ParentWithaPurpose.com.