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Parenting: Connection before Correction

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Don't be so quick to correct your kids! Certified Parent Educator and Family Coach, Kim DeMarchi, M. Ed., stopped by to tell us why it's important to make a connection before the correction and how to do it right.

1. Validate your child’s feelings. We all feel connected when we feel understood. By acknowledging feelings, child learn that feelings are always OK, but how we act on those feelings is not always OK.

Example:

Correction: "You cannot grab things without asking! Give it back to your brother RIGHT NOW!"

Connect first by validating feelings: "I can tell that you REALLY want to play with that toy and you're sad that you don't have one because it's really cool. And, we have to ask first nicely. Let's try again."

2. Hugs. As silly as this sounds, there are times when all of us need nothing more than a hug. It's so simple and effective. Hugs, and any form of physical affection release oxytocin, a "feel good" neurochemical, into the brain which helps the child calm down and be more receptive.

Example:

Correction: "I've asked you five times to put your toys away! Do it NOW!"

Connect first with a hug: "Come here sweet pea (BIG HUG) I see there are a lot of toys to put away. Do you want me to help you get started or can you handle it?"

3. Spend special time with your child. There's nothing better for your child than to know you enjoy spending one on one time with him or her.

4. Listen. Really listen. Stop doing whatever you are doing and give your child your full focused attention.

5. Share your feelings and thoughts WHEN APPROPRIATE. Remember that children will listen to you AFTER they feel listened to.

For more great tips from Kim, check out her Passport to Parenting Facebook page.