5 Don'ts To Be A Better Mom

Being a parent in today's world can be challenging or even difficult. Avoiding these five things can help you be a better mom.

It seems like parents are always telling kids what not to do:

"Don't talk with your mouth full."

"Don't stay up too late."

"Don't talk back."

But if our kids could tell us a few things about parenting, what might they say? Here are a few ideas about things to avoid that can help moms do an even better job:

1. Don't yell. Although mothers often feel they must raise their voices to get the kids' attention, the truth is that yelling isn't always necessary. It raises our blood pressure and puts the kids on edge while sending Dad scampering for the workbench or golf course. Try posting a few basic rules and their consequences, good and bad, on the refrigerator. Calmly discuss them with the family first, then let the rules do the talking. When you see a child doing something he shouldn't, simply say, "Check that rule on the refrigerator." After a while, the kids will get used to the rules and their outcomes, and moms can kick back to become more relaxed while parenting.

2. Don't compare. No one likes to feel that their performance is similar to another person's and yet falls short. We prefer to be viewed as individuals who may need tweaking now and then, but we hope to be seen in a league of our own. It's not a good idea to tell a child that he's not quite as good as next door Billy at math, or almost as good as big sister Kelly on the piano. Evaluate each child at his or her own level on the standard you have designated for expected performance.

3. Don't criticize. While it is a parent's job to teach the kids right from wrong and discipline them when they disobey, moms should avoid making frequent critical remarks. Some counselors advise making ten positive comments for every negative one. Try to find your child doing something good and offer praise for it. When you must criticize, stay focused on a single behavior, keep it short, and don't overdo it. Avoid name calling, labeling, or other negative language to the kids.

4. Don't argue. Debating an issue with your kids sends the message that it's okay to argue with Mom. Instead, make the house rules clear and simple. Exceptions can be discussed in a respectful manner, but everyone should understand that Mom and Dad have the final say. The standard should be clear to everyone in all or most situations, which will reduce the potential for argument.

5. Don't be wishy washy. If the kids know they can talk you into something, they're likely to keep doing it. Don't give in to their pleas based on pity, guilt, or affection. Hold the line for their own good and your parental sanity. Giving in once means you'll have to do it again, and can lead to later claims of "unfair" when you don't give in. Be firm and consistent.

Remind yourself of the importance of rules like these to keep things running smoothly and to help everyone in the household enjoy a sense of security.

© High Speed Ventures 2010