3. Parents need to meet their child where they are. If rapport is tarnished and interactions are negative, this is not the time to focus on changing behavior. Instead rebuild trust and then together work on improving the troublesome behaviors.
4. Parents can model positive behaviors. If a parent wants a child to get more exercise, they can engage in an exercise program and demonstrate how it’s done.
5. Parents can change together with their children. Parents who want their children to eat healthier need to have a healthy diet that they insist on for the entire family.
6. When parents are frustrated because they can’t get their child to change, they need to remind themselves of how difficult it is to change, especially when there is no internal motivation, as is the case for children. As a reminder, they can ask themselves, “How eager am I to start exercising when my spouse pushes me to?”
7. Parents will be most effective when they can take a step back, trust the process and focus on connecting with their child instead of controlling his or her behavior.
Dr. Kate Roberts is a psychologist and parent coach on the North Shore. She can be reached at www.drkateroberts.com, www.twitter.com/DrKateParenting, www.facebook.com/Dr.KateRobertsParenting or www.pinterest.com/DrKateParenting.