TTUHSC Southwest Institute for Addictive Dieseases
HomeCenters & InstitutesSWIADEmployee Assistance ProgramWellness Tips

Employee Assistance Program

Wellness Tips » Where Your Children Want to Be

The research is clear that these seven things are occurring in the peer-group and the gangs. If you want to compete, you might want to consider implementing these seven ideas in your home:

  1. Salutary Recognition - Recognize your child exists by greeting him/her throughout the day. In the morning you might say, "Good morning (child's name), how did you sleep?" During the day "Hey, what have you been up to?" Recognition can occur in verbal statements or by physical actions like a hug or a high five.
  2. Small Talk - Talk to them about things they are interested in. Keep "parent talk" and "small talk" separate. Don't bait them with small talk and then switch to parent talk.
  3. Ego Building Comments - Praise your children for what they DO and who they ARE, use five (5) positives for every one (1) negative. "Wow, your room looks wonderful" or "You are a really great person!"
  4. Exciting Activities - Enjoy your children. Do something fun to break the tension. In the peer group something exciting occurs just under 10% of the time. The rest of the time they stand around waiting for something to happen. Beating the peer group can be done if you only hit 11% of the time, something that is within reach. Creating excitement could take the form of playing a game with your children, camping out in the back yard with them, or helping them get ready for a big date.
  5. Develop and Expand Memories - Create memories and then EXPAND on them. Talk about past memories of your child or the family that were good. If you can't get a quiet teen to talk, start talking about when they were kids and even pull out some pictures, see how fast they become responsive.
  6. Identity - There are two parts to identity building: 1. Creating an individual identity for each family member, such as focusing on special contributions that each individual makes.... you may have an "idea man" in your family who you count on for coming up with creative ideas or solutions or you may have a "comedian" who keeps your family laughing. 2. Creating a family identity, such as we are a "sports family" who enjoys playing basketball together or a "camping family". They can easily get an identity from peer groups; help them get it at home.
  7. Consequential Focusing - This requires doing a balancing act between discipline and positive reinforcement. Parents need to balance providing positive reinforcement for the prosocial things their children do and providing disciplinary consequences for the times when their children break the rules. To keep the balance even there needs to be five (5) positive reinforcements for every one (1) negative, something that is often forgotten in the hustle and bustle of everyday family living. Remember to try to catch your child doing things right.