My philosophy of parenting can be summed up in a few simple phrases:
- if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all
- think about how you’d would feel if someone said/did that to you
- be polite
- don’t lie, cheat or steal
- do your best
- think before you act
- the grass in not always greener on the other side
- take responsibility for your actions
- do the right thing
- what comes around, goes around
- stop and smell the roses
When my children act like upstanding citizens, I praise them for a job well done. I don’t think it’s necessary or helpful for the girls if we tell them that most everything they do is wonderful and amazing and the best we’ve ever seen. I think constant compliments will be taken for granted, but kind words of praise or a big handmade trophy can go a long way.
Sundays are cleaning days at our house (it’s the first day of the week here, in Israel, not part of the weekend like most other places). The girls and I divide up the jobs to be done and clean the house. Sometimes Emili (8 years old) needs to be coaxed into helping without complaining. While doing her chores recently, she whined that she felt like an Egyption slave, this was a reference to historical Jews in Egypt, not a racial slur! I’m not above bribery if it will get the work done in fast and quiet manner. I awarded Emili the “cleaning award of the day” (a small medallion pinned to her shirt) and she continued her chores grumbling quietly to herself.
Rewards can be as varied as a nod of approval, a kid sized trophy, an ice cream cone, a great big hug and best of all “I love you”.