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09/29/2014 02:09 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

5 Common Sense Parenting Tips

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I’m not saying parenting is easy. Of course it’s not. But it does require common sense, so here are five core parenting tips to help bring you and your child closer.

1. Plug In
Your kids are living in a different world than the one you and I grew up in. When we were kids, there was no Internet, no cell phones and only a handful of TV stations. Now, our kids are saturated by it at all hours of the day. Do you even know what they’re watching and listening to? Make a conscious decision to plug in to your kids’ world. Find out what they’re listening to and playing with, get to know their friends, and monitor their access to cell phones and the Internet.

2. Spread The Word
Research shows us that the amount of trouble kids get into is inversely proportional to the number of words spoken in the home. What that means is, the less you talk at home, the more trouble they get in outside the home. Also, when you talk to your children, spread out your logic so they can see why you're saying what you're saying. Explain your thinking and let them learn from you.

3. Talk About Things That Don't Matter
How do you ever expect to talk to your kids about things that do matter if you haven't practiced by talking about things that don't? Conversations — even about unimportant topics — give you an opportunity to understand how the other thinks and to feel close to each other. That dynamic and relationship are essential when you inevitably need to have the tougher conversations.

4. Remember, You're The Parent
Children have lots of friends who tell them what they want to hear. They don't need you to be another friend — and you shouldn’t be! They need you to be an authority figure who lets them know where the boundaries of acceptable behavior are. Trying to be your child’s friend will only undermine your authority as a parent and come back to bite you. Children model behavior they witness. If you make good decisions, they'll learn to make them, too.

5. Allow Your Kids A Sense Of Mastery
You have to put your kids in a world where they feel a sense of mastery over their own environment. It's important that they don't feel they're subject to arbitrary guidance or haphazard decisions. Empowering kids to make their own decisions — ones they've learned from watching you and talking with you — is a great way to help them grow up with confidence and independence.

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