Raising Our Kids: Four Life Skills for the New Decade
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3. Regardless of socioeconomic level, every child needs to learn the value of hard work and money. Starting when your child is in elementary school, begin teaching him to take pride in his work product by selectively praising his artwork, and schoolwork, only when it truly reflects effort. It's fine to tell your child that next time he should work harder. Your child will learn the value of money if you give him an allowance and then enforce the use of it to purchase items he desires, rather than buying them for him. As he gets older, increase the allowance and its spending power, while reducing your contribution to his spending. This is how he will learn to budget and save.
4. Finally, your child must learn to respect others. As early as possible, teach your child to say "please" and "thank you," to write thank you notes, and to show all other forms of appreciation. Enforce these niceties in every single situation, even with family members. Insist on polite behavior in public places and remove your child when he doesn't behave politely (even if it inconveniences you). Before entering a situation, advise your child of a consequence for inappropriate behavior and then follow through. Have zero tolerance for bullying, rudeness, hitting, punching, or kicking - whether your child does this to you or anyone else. Enforce immediate consequences.
If you use the next decade to teach your child these four life skills, there is little doubt that he or she will become a young adult who will enter the world with confidence and in whom you will take great pride.
Dr. Susan Bartell is America's #1 Family Psychologist. Her latest book is Dr. Susan's Fit and Fun Family Action Plan. You can learn more about her on her website at www.drsusanbartell.com.