What Makes Kids Good?

My kids are not perfect, lets face it, no ones is. But they do very good at school, they get really good grades and they stay out of trouble. They go so far out of their way to stay out of trouble that they do things like volunteer to help out in the community. They feel it is a worth while thing to help others and give back to the community they not only live in but others everywhere that don’t exactly live nearby.

This may sound like I’m bragging and I am. I know my kids are good not because my wife and I say so, but because others do. Their teachers, their Boy Scout and 4-H leaders and others that come into contact with them such as relatives and friends of ours.

If you have not seen a pattern here in the previous sentences it’s time to print this and start suggesting some things to your kids by showing them what they could be doing instead of sitting around getting into trouble.

I’ll get back to some of this when I talk about some other more basic things. Communication is a skill that many adults have not mastered but that is a part of being a parent and family. If there is no communication, you can’t expect to know what is going on with your child if they don’t talk to you.

If you do not allow the flow of communication to go both ways you will only be lecturing to your kid and they will eventually tune you out. You need to button the lip and listen, that is half of communicating. You need to open your ears listen, and understand what you kid is saying. And not just about the big things he or she is saying, the little things mean just as much to them.

If you don’t understand the things they are saying how can they know you understand them. So here’s number two on the list behind communicating, get into their world so you can understand them. Find out about the things they do and like and you will understand and know what is going on.

If they talk about some band and you have no clue what they sound like, they will not listen to much of what you say about your favorite music. I listen to a wide variety of music, some of which my sons like after hearing it. Not the cheesy things like elevator music, Aerosmith, Queen, the things I listened to as a kid and now after no forcing or making them listen to my music they have grown to like it.

It is not something that is a big deal, but I have found that they can talk about things better if you know what they are talking about. At least get a little interested in their hobbies, sports and interests so that you can talk some with them about everyday things they are doing.

This will get them to open up and communicate with you more, they will be more apt to talk about bigger things if they can talk about little things easily. Communication goes a long way in any relationship. Troubled teens often have problems with communicating.

My next point is discipline, my kids know, quite clearly, what would happen in general terms if they did really bad in school. Or worse yet if they got into so much trouble that the police were involved. If they did something that had the police dragging them home, they would be grounded and have every thing they liked pulled out of their room till a time that they straightened out.

This is a punishment that works for them, things like not being able to play on the GameBoy, or computer games works because they enjoy those things and having them taken away is a punishment. They know that doing those things is a privilege that comes with getting their work done, both school work and cleaning up around the house, and getting it taken away is a punishment for getting into trouble.

My kids do get into trouble, but it is not the things that cause a phone call to the DR Phil show. It’s just things that kids do from not thinking before that act. Nothing serious and they just need a good stern talking to use their brains next time.

When you make rules and decide things for your child they have to make sense to them, not you. If you make rules like clean your room, show them why they need to keep their room clean, this starts with yours. If they understand that a clean room helps when you are trying to find something you want that is in your room, they will understand that a clean and neat room is an easier place to find things. There is a logic there, and if they are shown the logic of what you are saying and they understand, it will be easier to give them rules.

We all need rules, but they have to make sense to the kid in order for them to follow the rules, and they need to agree at least that the rules are there and that they need to be followed. They may not like them but you need to spell out that you are the parent and that while they live in your house and eat your food, they need to abide by the rules.

If they think they can get away with things you have to show them that the rules have consequences for being broken, and it needs to be consistent for all the kids. Not just one that is a boy or girl, or older or whatever. All the kids need rules and have to follow them. For things like cleaning their room, all the kids have to do this, it is something that will help the whole household and no one, even you, is exempt.

For things that account for the age, the rules will be different but if you tell them that, they will understand that when they grow up they will have the same rules, for example a later time for bed. They will know that the rules are fair and for everyone, not just for the ones that are bad.

You need to take into account your child is not at home for a good part of the day and is getting things like advice and suggestions from others while they are out and at school. You will probably ear things you don’t want to but this goes with being involved with your child and listening. If you hear little things about their lives you will not be surprised when something big develops.

When a kid tries something that is big, suicide attempt, drugs or some other trouble that gets him or her arrested, there was warning signs that you ignored or didn’t see. That is a thing that any expert will say is a common issue with kids who get into trouble. There was signs that occurred, the parents or others did not see them.

Big changes in behavior, attitude or moods can be examples of warning signs. If you communicate and are talking to your kid you will notice when they are having some kind of difficulty and can ask them about it. At least let them know that you care abut what is going on and that you are there for them.

That is something that they will understand if you have communicated with them, that you will be there for them if they do start to get into trouble. Tell them that, if they do start to get into trouble, they should come to you when it’s small and you can nip it in the bud.

I’ll give an example that is very common today and that many parents face, but could have prevented by open communication.

When the kid brings home an F in school is a little late to ask for help with their homework and pulling up the grade. The kid has already been failing and getting grades that indicate they are not doing good in school. You should have been informed of something like this before it became so bad that they are getting the F’s.

The time for the kid to get the help is when they were having problems and could have pulled the grade up. If they don’t understand what the subject is or how to do something, they should ask. If they aren’t, there is some reason, they’re afraid to be told something they don’t want to hear, or the consequences of not doing good in school.

But they need to made aware that if they are having problems they can come to you and stop the problem from becoming a big one. If they came to you when the grade was a C and asked what they could do to get it up, that is when you stay calm and help them. Don’t get mad that they aren’t getting an A, help them get it.

They came to you and now you need to help the situation. That is the part of parenting that is the best way to deal with problems that occur with your kids. Not when it’s too late and the courts or whatever is involved, but when you can help them and get the solution together.

Now on to some of the things in the beginning of this article, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4-H, organized sports, school clubs, after school programs, band, music, church, Big Brothers, Big Sisters and other things can all help your kid with activities and things to do besides get into trouble.

This may sound corny but many kids stay active and healthy by just running around doing things like these. You don’t have to force them to join something. That would probably have the opposite effect, if you were told by your boss to do something like this you wouldn’t like it, neither will your kid. Instead check them out sometime when your kid is with you.

See if there is an interest when you go to the activity or program and if there is see if the kid wants to stay and see what is going on. You have to let them decide what they want to be a part of, but they can get the push to start it from you. You can drag them, not literally, to one of these and see what happens. You never know, and if you communicate with them, maybe you can get an idea of what they will be interested in.

Many of these programs are very god with helping kids grow and become responsible adults. They give the kids something to do, but more importantly the can foster things like, good sportsmanship, team work, responsibility and a sense of belonging.

After all that is what a kid wants, to feel like they belong, both to a family, to a group at school and to the people around them.

If you help your child grow and give them the communication and support, you will be able to show them what you want from them and they will know what is expected of them.

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