Parenting Tips

Taking time to nurture and teach your children is one of the biggest gifts you can give them as they grow. It means talking and listening to them. Living with children means spending the weekends at the park and afternoons at the library. When your kids are asking you questions or just talking about their day be sure to take time to listen without correcting or criticizing. This is also a great way for your child to get to know you better. Encourage your child to ask you some questions too! Most importantly, have fun! Here are some great ways to become a strong family. The following information holds true no matter what age your kids are.

Build trust.
Strong families build trusting relationships by following through with promises. Show commitment. Strong families feel like a team. They share traditions like having a family picnic or taking walks together after dinner or by making time for family events and making sacrifices for one another.

Members of strong families talk to one another about important decisions and daily plans. They discuss feelings as well as day-to-day activities at school or work. Where there are conflicts, strong families take time to cool down before responding. They don't bottle up their anger or let it get out of hand. They talk about possible solutions to problems and work together to carry out the best solutions.

Grow through crises.
All families experience crises. Strong families use these experiences to learn and grown. They know even bad experiences can bring about good changes and help them to become closer. They admit problems instead of hiding them. They seek help when needed.

Spend time together.
Strong families spend time together, talking, reading, playing games, taking walks and cooking. Some special times involve closeness, like reading a good-night story and tucking children into bed with a kiss.

Have fun as a family.
Strong families know that having fun is important and make plans to have fun together. They plan family trips or parties. Strong families know that laughter is important and use humor to help reduce stress. Family members laugh with one another, not at one another.

Show love and affection.
No matter what children say or do, they need to know that their parents love them. Strong families show caring in many ways. Family members say to each other "I love you" or "I'm happy we're in this family together." They give hugs and show affection in other small ways too, they may call each other nicknames and enjoy remembering family stories.

The Florida Parent Line is an excellent resource for additional information on parenting. Call 1-800-FLA-LOVE any time for free, confidential support.