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Parenting Expert Alyson Schafer helps parents self-evaluate and set new goals for the year with tips on how to make a better grade in the child-care department.

Grade yourself (A, B, C, D) based on your parenting. Be honest!
  • Grade your marriage of partnership. ( Many people think marriage and “family” are separate, but instead think of the marriage as running the family.  Happy adult relations mean happy kids.  In healthy families couples who are committed to each other typically promote the well-being of the family.  It’s amazing how we underestimate how our marriage affects the children.)
  • Grade your communication. ( Are you a good listener?  Do you communicate with your kids?  Everyone in the family should strive to actively listen, be honest and genuine ,and conflict should be considered a normal party of the family process. Be mindful and present (slow down) or be honest and say you can’t listen right now.  Listen without “fixing” (no suggestions or criticism); watch your own tone, be sparse with negative words.
  • Grade how you are when it comes to discipline. ( Are you passive and all talk or firm, friendly and consistent?  All children need guidance and discipline and research shows the best way to do it is being firm and friendly -- no reward based systems.)
  • Grade the family atmosphere. ( Children are like organisms living in an atmosphere.  To improve this category, you may need to de-stress by dropping an extra-curricular, add game nights, write love notes etc.)
Alyson recommends her book ‘Ain't Misbehavin’ which outlines the "best practices for democratic families" in a check-list. If you flip to that part of the book it has tick boxes and descriptors of attributes that healthy families have.
Alyson also recommends checking out this parenting style quiz:

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


Winter BBQ 101