Articles > Five Essential Es of Raising Responsible Kids


PART 1 OF 5: Shares How to Teach Kids Responsibility: The Five Essential E’s! 
A common question we often have is how to teach kids responsibility. This is an important question for all children and especially when children have special healthcare needs. Motivating children to take responsibility for their self-care is especially critical when medical adherence is at stake. So, how can parents raise responsible kids who take good care of themselves? Love and Logic® teaches us to use five easily understood, practical, and effective skill sets: The Five Essential E's: Example, Experience, Empathy, Expectations, and Encouragement.

You might hear us talk about the Five Essential E’s throughout our blogs, website, social media, and other resources and there is a reason for that: they are the foundation for raising responsible, happy, healthy children. We, as parents, want to avoid the typical parenting responses of rant, rave, and rescue – as hard as it may be – and focus instead on The Five Essential E’s of Raising Responsible Kids™.

Because the E's form the foundation of effective parenting, we are going to run a blog and video series over the next few weeks to reacquaint or introduce you to the Five Essential E's. Starting with..... Example!

Example means to show our children how to be respectful and responsible by asking ourselves, “Am I being the way I want my children to be?” By treating others and ourselves the way we want our children to treat others and themselves, we are creating an example for them to follow.

A great way to make an example of ourselves is to mutter small things like “Gees, I think I’m watching too much TV. I don’t want to turn into a couch potato so I'd better turn it off!” Or, “I really want that chocolate cake, but it’s just not good for me, so I guess I’m going to pass on it.”

This technique helps us avoid ranting, raving and lecturing and increases the odds of our children listening to us and imprinting our comments on themselves. If we were to rant, rave, nag, complain, or lecture about watching too much TV or eating too many sweets, we would automatically create a mental wall between us and our children which inhibits their ability to make good decisions on their own.

Lisa shares how she used the power of example for flu shots. She would take her kids with her for her own shot and say things like, "I sure hate shots but I know it's important so I'm going to get one today. I'm going to be brave. Will you hold my hand to help me feel better?" The kids would hold her hand and help her be brave. To this day, years later, her daughter likes to see Mom get her flu shot and still holds her hand. And, Mom still doesn't like those shots but does it anyway.

Another important part of example is to set limits around how your children treat you. If you allow them to treat you with disrespect, talk rudely, or be demanding (instead of asking politely), you are setting the example that "it's okay to allow others to treat you badly."  Children learn how to handle "nasty people" by observing how we handle them- including when that "nasty person" is them!

So set the example being respectful, responsible, healthy, and fun to be with and you'll increase the odds that your children will do the same. 

Watch a video of Dr. Cline and Lisa Greene discussing Example.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlG8uoXfhgE

Foster W. Cline, MD is a child psychiatrist and co-founder of Love and Logic®. Lisa C. Greene is a parent educator and mom of two children with cystic fibrosis. Together they have written the award-winning book “Parenting Children with Health Issues."Visit  www.ParentingChildrenWithHealthIssues.com

Copyright by Foster Cline, MD and Lisa Greene. All rights reserved.

Part 2 of 5: Shares How to Teach Kids Responsibility: The Five Essential E’s! EXPERIENCE

This blog is the second in a five-part series about how to teach children to be responsible. This is an important question for all children and especially when children have special healthcare needs. Motivating children to take responsibility for their self-care is especially critical when medical adherence is at stake. So, how can parents raise responsible kids who take good care of themselves? Love and Logic® teaches us to use five easily understood, practical, and effective skill sets: The Five Essential E's: Example, Experience, Empathy, Expectations, and Encouragement.

You might hear us talk about the Five Essential E’s throughout our blogs, website, social media, and other resources and there is a reason for that: they are the foundation for raising responsible, happy, healthy children. We, as parents, want to avoid the typical parenting responses of rant, rave, and rescue – as hard as it may be – and focus instead on The Five Essential E’s of Raising Responsible Kids™.

Because the E's form the foundation of effective parenting, we are running a blog series to reacquaint or introduce you to the Five Essential E's. Now, on to our second Essential E.... Experience!

We want our children to learn through their own experiences instead of rescuing them and causing them to avoid the natural consequences of their own choices.

Naturally, as loving parents, we don’t like to see our children make mistakes and want to shield them from suffering by telling them what to do and not to do. Or, when they do make mistakes, we feel compelled to fix it and make it all better. However, doing so will prevent our children from learning from their own choices and decisions.

By being a helicopter or drill sergeant parent and not allowing our children to learn that there are consequences to their actions, we are increasing the odds that our children will experience those consequences later in life- when the price tag could be much higher.

Lisa shares about the time her then five-year-old son got out of bed one morning and stepped on his plastic dragon. The wing broke and cut his foot; not bad enough for stitches but it was a deep cut. He still remembers it years later and keeps his floor clean. In fact, he recently said to his sister, "You'd better clean up your room or you'll step on something and cut your foot!" The point is that children really remember those early experiences. No amount of nagging or lecturing about keeping a room clean could have done what one mistake did for Lisa's son years ago.

So when our children make mistakes, we want to allow them the opportunity to learn from them and provide loving support to help them through their tough times. There is a special way to help our kids learn from their difficult experiences: Empathy! You'll learn all about Empathy in next week's blog.

Watch a video of Dr. Cline and Lisa Greene discussing Experience.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5LvDAPboU4

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Foster W. Cline, MD is a child psychiatrist and co-founder of Love and Logic®. Lisa C. Greene is a parent educator and mom of two children with cystic fibrosis. Together they have written the award-winning book “Parenting Children with Health Issues."Visit  www.ParentingChildrenWithHealthIssues.com

Copyright by Foster Cline, MD and Lisa Greene. All rights reserved.

PART 3 OF 5: Shares How to Teach Kids Responsibility: The Five Essential E’s! EMPATHY

            This blog is the third in a five-part series about raising responsible children. Last week we went over the importance of Experienceand how it plays a role in these five steps. We hope you are able to follow along each week and put each of these steps into practice in your day-to-day life. 

            Empathy is the third Essential E. Empathy means to be empathetic or “sad for” our children when they make mistakes, misbehave or act out rather than getting angry, frustrated, or nagging them.

            Think about this: You are late to work because of a problem with your car. Your boss yells at you, lectures you about the importance of being on time and threatens you that the next time you are late, you're fired. How do you feel about your boss right now? Are you ready to hit the help-wanted ads as soon as you get home?

            As you can imagine, if you show anger and frustration and act from this emotion with your children, they are going to feel the same way. They might block you out instead of listening. Or they might get defensive and angry. Or they might just get frightened of you and run away!

            We don't want any of these responses from our kids. We want our children to learn from their mistakes. That's what effective parenting is all about. Discipline means to teach, not punish. And the way we do this is by showing Empathy before delivering the consequences. 

            Don’t say: "You broke my lamp with your ball! I've told you time and time again not to throw the ball in the house. Now look what you've done. Get in your room, now!" Do say: "Oh bummer. This is so sad. You broke the lamp with your ball. After you clean up this mess, why don't you head into your room for a little while to figure out how you'll pay for a new lamp."

            Don’t say: "You forgot your medicine again! How many times do I have to remind you? You need to be more responsible!" Do say: "Oh boy. You forgot your medicine again this morning. How are you planning to repay me for the time and money it took to drive it over to the school?"

            Showing Empathy instead of anger creates a loving, supportive atmosphere. Children feel encouraged, supported, and are more likely to learn from their errors (which includes misbehavior). Our child’s poor choice becomes the “bad guy,” not us parents! Empathy provides love and respect even as it locks in the learning experience.

            So that's the scoop on Empathy. Join us next week as we discuss the fourth Essential E: Expectations.

Watch a video of Dr. Cline and Lisa Greene discussing Empathy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qk61ZYF1pEA

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Foster W. Cline, MD is a child psychiatrist and co-founder of Love and Logic®. Lisa C. Greene is a parent educator and mom of two children with cystic fibrosis. Together they have written the award-winning book “Parenting Children with Health Issues." Visit  www.ParentingChildrenWithHealthIssues.com

Copyright by Foster Cline, MD and Lisa Greene. All rights reserved.

PART 4 OF 5: Shares How to Teach Kids Responsibility: The Five Essential E’s! EXPECTATIONS

            Booker T. Washington said, "Few things can help an individual more than to place responsibility on him, and to let him know that you trust him." This is the power of Expectations which is the Fourth E in our five-part blog series on The Five Essential E's of Raising Responsible Kids.

            The problem is that, as parents, we can set our expectations too low or too high! And, when we have kids with special medical needs, we can really have a hard time with this. Expectations that are set too high for a child's abilities can result in your child feeling like a failure. Expectations set too low conveys the attitude that you don't think your child can do it. Setting high but reasonable expectations is really an art form and is different for each child. Here are some tips:

·          Know your child's personality, strengths and weaknesses. Build on your child's strengths.

·          Periodically review child developmental charts so you are aware of what's typical for your child's age and stage of development.

·          If you aren't sure if your child is keeping up with peers, ask teachers, coaches and other parents about how other children are performing in a particular area.

·          Have a good understanding of "I can't" versus "I won't!" (From the book "Parenting Children with Health Issues" by Cline and Greene)

·          Recognize that not every child is a star athlete or gifted academic. Help your child discover who he or she is, not what you want them to be. Help them find their joy and special gifts.

It’s easy for us parents to show negative expectations and not even be aware of it. Children who have special healthcare needs must have parents who vibrate out high expectations if they are going to grow to take good care of their bodies and respond in a healthy way to their medical conditions. Some negative expectations that are natural for parents to unknowingly express are: giving warnings, showing worry, being pessimistic, and showing disappointment without hope of improvement.

Positive expectations are shown in positive words, actions and attitudes, smiles, dreams, encouragement,  faith and hope.  

Join us next week as we discuss the fifth, and final, Essential E: Encouragement.

Watch a video of Dr. Cline and Lisa Greene discussing Expectations. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ak1uTS73Xmo

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Foster W. Cline, MD is a child psychiatrist and co-founder of Love and Logic®. Lisa C. Greene is a parent educator and mom of two children with cystic fibrosis. Together they have written the award-winning book “Parenting Children with Health Issues."Visit  www.ParentingChildrenWithHealthIssues.com

Copyright by Foster Cline, MD and Lisa Greene. All rights reserved.

PART 5 OF 5: Shares How to Teach Kids Responsibility: The Five Essential E’s: ENCOURAGEMENT! 

This blog is the last in our five-part series about how to teach children to be responsible. The Five Essential E's form the foundation of effective parenting and include Example, Experience, Empathy, Expectations, and Encouragement. This week, we'll discuss Encouragement.

When times are tough or when our children face tough times, it’s natural for everyone to feel discouraged. However, encouragement and discouragement are both contagious! When we effectively show our children encouragement, we will help them to cope better with their challenges including medical situations  and other special needs.

Encouragement includes an overall “You can do it!” attitude. It's how we treat and act towards our children. Are we full of smiles and high-fives or frowns and put-downs? Are we more focused on what our kids do right? Or what they do wrong?

Encouragement is also how we talk to our kids when they do something we like. It's a specific way of using positive words. Normally, we think encouragement means saying things like, “I am so proud of you!” or "Good job!" but in reality, this is praise.

Parents can easily get caught in the praise trap because it makes us feel good when our kids feel good.  And praise does make our kids feel good in the moment, especially when kids are little. But we have to be careful with praise. Excessive praise causes problems including raising a praise junkie! We want children to do good things and feel good about themselves because it pleases them rather than always looking for outside approval from others.

Parents also like to use praise as a way to motivate our kids to do what we want them to do. It's kind of like giving them a reward. Again, that's fine when kids are little and not over-used. But praise can easily turn into a bribe just like rewards can. When children only do the right thing for the praise or the treat or the "reward", then it becomes a bribe and this can become dangerous especially where medical care is concerned. Again, we want to raise children who make good choices because it's the best thing for them, not for a reward, bribe or praise.

So, instead of using praise, we can ask questions to help our children self-evaluate. For example, instead of saying “I am proud of you for remembering to take your medication,” we can say, “Wow! How do you manage to always remember to take your medicine on time?” This causes children to think, encourages them to be proud of themselves, and naturally motivates them to continue to take good care of themselves. Our book, "Parenting Children with Health Issues" by Cline and Greene discusses this in depth and gives many more examples.  

So there you have it: The Five Essential E's! The keys to raising confident, respectful, responsible children who make good decisions and feel good about themselves from the inside out rather than the outside in.

Watch a video of Dr. Cline and Lisa Greene discussing Encouragement.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sfv0wPISk6U

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Foster W. Cline, MD is a child psychiatrist and co-founder of Love and Logic®. Lisa C. Greene is a parent educator and mom of two children with cystic fibrosis. Together they have written the award-winning book “Parenting Children with Health Issues."Visit  www.ParentingChildrenWithHealthIssues.com

Copyright by Foster Cline, MD and Lisa Greene. All rights reserved.

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