What you need to know before you say "yes"

Eight Things You Need to Know About Your Child

  1. How well does your child handle the privileges and responsibilities you give her now? Can she handle more?
  2. Does your child have good judgment? If so, how does he demonstrate it?
  3. How would you describe your child's ability to follow rules? Does she often bend or break them?
  4. How does your child get along with other children? With other adults? Is she able to assert herself and make her needs known?
  5. Thinking about your child's ability to problem solve, what are her strengths? What are her weaknesses?
  6. Is your child able to refuse a dangerous dare even if he's ridiculed or teased?
  7. Would your child tell you about a troubling incident or secret she was told to keep? Or could she be intimidated into silence?
  8. Is he willing to draw attention to himself? Does he know what to yell if he is in danger and needs immediate assistance?

Depending on the age of your children, you may not have the answers to these questions yet. For example, problem-solving skills don't even begin to develop until the middle of grade school. And, as they get older you must ask yourself more questions about their handling increased independence, using street-smart skills and dealing with intense peer pressure.

The point is to get into the habit of asking yourself -- not your kids -- questions like these before you say 'yes.' Remember, kids do a good job of persuading us to give them what they want. We, in turn, must do an even better job of getting the right kind of information, so that we can make wise choices.

Adapted from "Raising Careful, Confident Kids in a Crazy World," by Paula Statman © Copyright 1999 Piccolo Press, Oakland, CA. All rights reserved.

KidWISE Institute
484 Lake Park Ave., #101,
Oakland, CA 94610

Paula Statman is the President of the KidWISE Institute and the award-winning author of "On the Safe Side" and "Raising Careful, Confident Kids in a Crazy World."

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