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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 November 2006, 13:28 GMT
Experts offer parenting tips
Three girls (picture posed by models)
Teenagers need role models to encourage good behaviour

The government has announced a 4m scheme introducing "super-nannies" to help parents in 77 troubled areas of England.

Here parenting experts give their advice on how to deal with children as they get older and encourage them towards more positive behaviour.

INSTIL DISCIPLINE EARLY

Shaun Bailey, a youth worker in Ladbroke Grove, London, said that discipline and positive behaviour needed to be instilled in children at a young age.

"It's too late to instil discipline in teenagers, you need to approach it much earlier than that," he said.

"If not, then they will have the mindset as teenagers that they are equal to adults. Once they're in that frame of mind it's very hard to get them to take your authority.

"You have to take the high road from the start and say, 'I'm the parent and that's that,' bringing them up in a culture where you have the final word.

"There are three types of parent - caring, authoritative and authoritarian. If you're overly the first or third it's bad for your children, you need to be more the second type."

ENCOURAGE YOUR TEENAGER

Claire Halsey is a clinical psychologist who works with children and families.

She said: "We forget that adolescents like to be praised and encouraged for their achievements.

"We do that with young children but it tails off with teenagers when we no longer wait for them at the school gates.

"When things go a bit wrong, the first thing we should do is build up our relationships with our children rather than just tell them what the consequences will be if they don't behave.

"We've got to change our parenting styles from when they were very young and that's one of the challenges of parenting."

MAKE QUALITY TIME

Youth worker Shaun Bailey said: "The important thing is to spend time with your children, have personal physical contact.

"People take their children shopping as a leisure activity but that's a 'no-no' because you're teaching them that to make themselves happy you should go out and buy stuff.

"The time spent in a shopping centre could be spent in a park, giving them individual attention.

"It's very sad that in the 21st Century, the class you come from determines your outlook on life. People from a higher class will have more to teach their children than those from a lower class."

ENTER THEIR WORLD

Mike Blaney is a youth and community worker with Family Action Benchill, which runs parenting courses on behalf of children's charity Barnardo's.

"One technique I used with my children is that I went and played with them on their PlayStation," he said.

"That way you get to meet them on their territory and gradually you can get to talk to them.

"If you say, 'I want to talk to you,' then children will just bristle and say, 'I don't want to talk to you,' But something like playing a computer game with them is a way in.

"You could also go for a bike ride, or take a walk - anything rather than directly ask what they've been up to today. Just get into their world and understand what being a teenager means today."

PROVIDE A GOOD EXAMPLE

Clinical psychologist Claire Halsey said that parents setting a positive example for children was "absolutely crucial".

She said: "If a parent smokes or offends or uses substances, it's very difficult for them to say to their child that they cannot do it.

"You have to be a good role model for children and young people because we teach them.

"Everything you do is watched and copied. If we don't get it right as parents and adults then it's very difficult for our children to get it right."




SEE ALSO
'Super-nannies' to help parents
21 Nov 06 |  UK Politics
Do parents need super-nannies?
21 Nov 06 |  Have Your Say
Welcome to the Super-nanny state
21 Nov 06 |  Breakfast

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