If you are a frustrated or angry parent, or if you suspect you aren't showing your child the love he or she deserves, take some time to figure out why. Here are some tips that may help:
  • If you get angry...STOP!
    Think about what you are doing or saying. Who are you really mad at? How would you feel if someone said those things to you?

  • Take time out.
    When you are angry, make a point to calm down before responding to your child: breathe deep, count to 10, go into another room, anything to keep from lashing out at your child.

  • Talk to someone.
    Find someone you trust to talk with about the problems you are having - a good friend, a pastor, a teacher, doctor, or a family member. Get involved with a support group [such as Parents Helping Parents in Massachusetts]. Find out what other parents do when they get stressed.

  • Take a parenting class.
    Good parenting and teaching skills are learned. It is often expected that parents automatically know how to rear their children, but that is just not true. Good parents are made, not born.

  • Improve your own well-being.
    Seek help for problems and stresses you may have. You cannot help your children until you help yourself.

  • Show your affection.
    Give hugs, love and kisses, so a child can feel safe, warm, loved and worthwhile. Tell your children you love them. Be generous with your praise. Children do not become "spoiled" by showing them too much affection.

  • Spend time with your children.
    Remember that in addition to doing things with all your children together, each child needs special time with you alone.

  • Be supportive and consistent.
    Be someone children can count on. Children will know you love them, even when you get angry.

  • Protect children from violence.
    Home must be a safe place. This is very hard to do, with T.V., video games, computer games, movies, and comics all having a hand in introducing children to violence.

  • Praise children.
    Children appreciate praise of their talents, and respond to positive feedback much better than negative feedback. Saying "You should have done better" only makes the child feel badly about herself. Saying "Nice job!" will make her want to do a nice job again.

  • Teach children how to cope with failure.
    No one does everything well. Teach them that not doing something well does not make them a bad person. They need to know that mistakes are something to learn from, and that they can try again.

If You Suspect a Child is Being Emotionally Abused or Neglected