DEAR HARRIETTE: In response to your reply to the Family With a Dog, I wanted to add: Training children to be responsible is a very important goal. Sometimes children need help and encouragement in the form of rewards and recognition. Helping each member of a family feel good about their contribution helps build self-esteem. This is an important task for the parent and not as easy as creating negative consequences. Parenting classes and family meetings can make a huge difference in learning how to raise children positively. -- Positive Reinforcement
DEAR POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT: You are absolutely right that it is important to teach children to be responsible. In general, this is an important principle. It is key with animals -- with the lives of these pets. Pointing out how grateful pets are for their love and support can be inspiring. Showing kids the impact that their individual actions have on the well-being of the family pet can be uplifting and engaging.
Your recommendation for parenting classes is great --for those who have the time and money to devote to that. I also appreciate the idea of family meetings. When there is a weekly time scheduled for all family members to gather and talk about the needs, goals and responsibilities of the family, you create space for regular discussion about whatever is going on for all family members. Great ideas! Thanks.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)