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How To Make Your Parenting More Effective Right Now #4

Create A Parenting Plan

Hello, everyone.  Hope you enjoyed your Valentine’s Day earlier in the week.  I have a confession to make.  This parenting tip is not a quick method you can try the next time you are with your kids.  But once you take a few preparation steps, you WILL have tools to use at a moment’s notice.

Create A Parenting Plan

This may sound overwhelming at first, but it’s just a few simple steps.  First, you need to create just a few basic rules you want your kids to follow.  To keep it easy, make one rule about the following three areas: safety in the home, respect, and following parental directions.

Write down your rules like this example:

Kids (use names) will act and speak in respectful ways to others in our home.  Respectful behaviors include using “please” and “thank you,” asking permission before leaving the house, using a calm voice with adults” (list as many behaviors as necessary)

Have your kids help you to write these three basic rules.  Do this when everyone has time to get together.  Bring some treats – make it fun!  When everyone can participate, you’ll get much better buy-in from the kids.  If someone refuses to join in, tell them you are sorry they won’t come, but the rules will be written just the same.

Decide On Consequences For Each Child

You may have a pretty good idea what kind of activity or toy each of your kids enjoy the most.  Of course, these are your leverage for getting them to follow the family rules.  Agree on either one or two warnings before they need to do what the rule says.  More chances just stretches it all out and adds to your frustration.

Have each child help you come up with their favorites so you can attach them to the rules.  So if your oldest son starts behaving disrespectfully, you’ll know to take his bike away for that day.  Keep the consequences relatively short (just a day or two at a time).  Don’t dig yourself a hole by grounding them for weeks at a time – you’ll never last!  And the power of your consequences will be lost.

Your Parenting Plan Makes Things Quick For You

Do you see how this plan makes your parenting more effective in the moment?  Your child breaks a rule and you have an instant response.  No need to create a consequence on the fly.  You have everything you need on your rule list.  You carry out your plan and you let them feel the stress so they can change.

Sorry – not quite the “quick fix” you may have expected, but definitely a quick-response method once your plan is created.  Readers, what do you think?

Creative Commons License photo credit: cavale

How To Make Your Parenting More Effective Right Now #4

Erika Krull, MS, LMHP

Erika Krull, MS, LMHP is a practicing licensed mental health counselor in Nebraska.

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APA Reference
Krull, E. (2011). How To Make Your Parenting More Effective Right Now #4. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 25, 2020, from


Last updated: 16 Feb 2011
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