SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Lifestyle

April 25, 2014

Dr. Kate's Parent Rap: FAST parenting: the value of flexibility

I have developed a FAST parenting model to help parents be more effective problem solvers in real time. The FAST model emphasizes four essential parenting components: flexibility, authority, structure and transition. FAST teaches parents how to incorporate real time, effective parenting into the fast-paced lifestyle of today. The model also teaches parents how to manage parent-child interactions quickly while promoting a strong parent-child connection. This week, I will discuss the first component, flexibility. Subsequent columns will address the other components.

Flexible parenting is imperative in today’s world where the parenting moment passes in a flash, interrupted by technology, the next place to be, or an overdue assignment. Being flexible within an existing structure and with an authoritative mind-set allows parents to maximize their effectiveness while living in a shorthand world. Flexibility is the antidote to parent-child power struggles that zap hours of time and energy once they ensue.

Flexible parenting encourages parents to use their discretion and judgment in daily decision making, while adhering to necessary structure and routine.

So, for example, if your child takes a nightly shower, and they get home late on a certain night, parents can decide that on that night, their child doesn’t have to take a shower; in other words, it’s OK for parents to decide that on any given night, circumstances and their authority as parents trump routine.

That’s correct, routine can be interrupted by parenting discretion. I can’t tell the number of parents who are fearful of using their discretion to modify the routine that’s working under typical circumstances. They tell themselves, “It’s the routine, and if we break it once, then it will crumble.” An effective routine does not disappear if it’s modified appropriately.

The importance of being flexible in any given situation is to avoid power struggles that can erupt when the established routine is unrealistic because of unforeseen or changing circumstances. Because a nightly shower is part of the routine, does that mean if their child is vomiting or has a high fever, they have to take a shower? It probably wouldn’t be good for the child and actually might make them feel sicker. Where do parents draw the line?

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Lifestyle
  • North Shore religion news in brief Congregation Shirat Hayam is offering a free, five-week Hebrew Reading Crash Course on Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. from Sept. 2 through Oct. 7, at the synagogue, 55 Atlantic Ave., Swampscott. Led by Nancy Miller, the course is open to the community and is

    July 26, 2014

  • North Shore religion calendar Wednesday, July 30 Book Club, 7 p.m., Aviv Centers for Living, 240 Lynnfield St., Peabody. Women of all ages are invited to a free book group with conversations about Jewish identity. Group will discuss "The Harem Midwife" by Roberta Rich. RSVP to Sh

    July 26, 2014

  • Dear Abby: Teen is looking for direction after high school graduation Dear Abby: I am an 18-year-old high school senior who is scared about what's going to happen after graduation. For the past three years I have known exactly where I'll be and what I will be doing in the general sense. Now that I have one more year to

    July 26, 2014

  • macaws Vet Connection: Pet birds need training, social interaction and time out of the cage People are fascinated with the big colorful birds on display at Animal Kingdom and wild bird sanctuaries. It's always fascinating to see someone walking down the street with a big-beaked bird on his or her shoulder as a companion. We are all drawn to

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ask Dog Lady: Her little dog is obsessed with food Dear Dog Lady: I have a 3-year-old, long-coated Chihuahua named Mexipep (after a brand of hot sauce). She has many fine attributes -- she's very sweet, not nervous and barky like the short-coated Chihuahuas can be. On the subject of food, however, th

    July 25, 2014

  • howe Book Notes: Local novelist sees ‘conversion’ syndrome in witch trials The parallels between 1692 and today are so close, they're frightening. That's one conclusion you could draw from reading "Conversion," Marblehead resident Katherine Howe's new novel, which compares the world of the Salem Witch Trials to the life of

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • vehicles Quick pick: Festival of vehicles

    Festival of vehicles Take a ride over to the Hamilton-Wenham Public Library for the 16th annual Vehicle Night on Wednesday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The festival of fire trucks, emergency vehicles, cruisers and snow plows takes place in the library park

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Friday's Best Bets Best Bets for Friday, July 25

    Looking for something to do today? Here are The Salem News' Best Bets:

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dear Abby: Tyke becomes a terror when mom takes back her cellphone Dear Abby: When my friend "Fran" and I get together with our kids, they often play games on her cellphone until the battery dies. If she tries to take the phone from her 6-year-old to make a call or recharge the phone, he starts yelling at her, pushe

    July 25, 2014

  • misselwood_2 Rare, classic cars make an appearance at annual Endicott College show

    The original Concours d'Elegance was a fashion show on wheels. "It did start in 17th century France, where some of the aristocracy wanted to show off the fashions they were wearing," said Patrick Cornellison, chairman of the event. "Mainly women woul

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

NDN Video
Comments Tracker