Whether you have been parenting for one year or twenty, you know that every child is different. Your children have different personalities, they respond differently to you, and often birth order has a lot to do with this. Every single birth order position comes along with specific attributes and characteristics, although there may be exceptions from time to time. For every child, parenting skills have to be a bit different. Parenting your firstborn child can be tough. Understanding your firstborn, their personality, and characteristics can help you as a parent. Here is a closer look at the firstborn child and some great tips for parenting and raising them effectively.

Characteristics of a Firstborn Child

Before you can begin to realize how to best parent your firstborn child, you need to understand a bit more about them. Usually it is the firstborn child that ends up with a lot of attention, which leads to the development of their personality. Many times, there are big expectations for the firstborn, they spend a lot of time under scrutiny, and they often grow up quicker than other children in the birth order do.

Your firstborn child will probably have some aggressive and some compliant traits. Most firstborns are natural leaders and are very driven. They like having things go their way, they are assertive, driven, and perfectionists. Often they are the "movers and shakers" in the world, and this starts while they are young. However, on the complaint end, the oldest child also craves approval, is conscientious, a good team player, and they often are people players as well. Most are reliable, great caregivers, and they often have a nurturing personality. Other characteristics of the eldest child can include being ambitions, scholarly, enterprising, logical, and energetic.READ More on Parenting Tips for Raising Firstborns

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Ideas to Keep Holidays Safe for Younger Kids

The holidays are a magical and joyous time for everyone and especially for younger kids. Their wide eyes take in all the colorful decorations and the music. Its enticing to any young one to want to reach out and touch the glitzy colorful Christmas décor. So much tinsel, glass ornaments, twinkling lights, its overload for a young child. Of course, they want to touch the decorations and play with each ornament. Maybe even try to sample it. The holidays bring about a whole new level of dangers for babies and toddlers, so parents beware.

Before decorating, or even after you decorate take a moment to get down on your child’s level and see what they see. Look around at their eye level and the temptations will loom out in full techni-color. Start by checking the outlets. The holidays bring about a plethora of colorful lights and displays all of which need plugged into an outlet somewhere. Children follow those cords and the outlet provides a new curiosity. Children can play with these cords and may be shocked. Cords and outlets also leads them to want to put things into the outlets, like anything metal (bobby pins, knives, forks, any piece small enough to stick into the outlet.) The aftermath of this is a child with a burn on their hand or worse, electrocution. Protect outlets by hiding them behind furniture, or place a protective cover box that hides the entire outlet and the plugs.

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Making Charity a Habit throughout the Year

Charity is a term meaning to give voluntarily. Giving of self, giving of talent and skills, giving of relevant items. Charity is a gift that requires no repayment. Teaching a child about charity during Christmas helps them to understand what it’s all about and take it a step further by being charitable year-round. Here are a few ideas of working with charities throughout the year.

Pick an Established Charity

There are many charities that need donations of time, effort, and money during the holidays. Look at the Salvation Army, Children’s Hospitals, Red Cross, and ask your local churches. Feed the hungry, angel trees, coat drives, canned food drives, homeless shelters, food pantries, too many to name. Many of these will take monetary donations. A few may accept help as in serving those in need. Ask how you can get involved in doing canned food drives, coat drives, meals on wheels, or buying Christmas gifts for less fortunate children. Most of the charities need donations year-round.

Adopt a Grandparent

The nursing homes are full of our elderly people who can no longer care for themselves. Many live there year after year without having any personal visitors. Take time to go a nursing home and adopt a grandparent. Children can love on these people and being loved will make their day. If you adopt a grandparent, you will have a good reason to visit often throughout the year.

Start a Giving Jar

Set up a jar with a lid with enough room to insert cash and coins. Plan to put all spare change into the jar. When the jar is full, start a new jar. You can do this year-round. When Christmas rolls around, give the jars full of money as gifts to those less fortunate. Give the jars anonymously for true Christmas spirit.

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Text messages to friends and online IMs are nothing new when you have a child in the home. These forms of communication are a great way for them to keep in touch on the go. While plenty of good comes from them, you’ll also find that not everything is as it seems. In some cases, what looks like a simple mistype or random letters or numbers could be something far more sinister. Since even good kids can make bad choices, it is important for parents to know the internet slang of today and to keep up with it as it evolves.

Red Flags

Some of the internet slangs are red flags something are up. If you see the following they mean your child is likely up to something they are concerned that you need to know about.

12345 – Parents Reading Screen.

9 – My parents are watching me.

99 – My parents are gone.

Code 9 (CD9) – My parents are around here.

KPC – Keeping parents clueless

MOS – Mom over shoulder

PA – Parent Alert.

P911 – Alert Parents!

PAL – My parents are listening

PAW – My parents are watching

PIR – My parent is in the room

POS – My parent is over my shoulder.

If you see these texted or on an instant message chat, it is a good idea to pay close attention to what your child is doing. It means there is something they don’t want you to see. It is a good idea to open up with them and hold a dialogue and to feel out the situation. Don’t instantly jump to accusations or cause an unnecessary rift, but use this as a chance to get things out into the open with each other. That way, you can build on trust and ultimately work on strengthening the bond between you so that if something does happen, your kids will talk to you.

Texting Sexual and Romance Items

Most of us want to believe our kids aren’t at that age where they are meeting up with people for physical relations. Unfortunately, there is plenty of internet slang out there that is designed to help them communicate their desires. Be sure to look out for any of the following:

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Creating Balance and Not Over-Scheduling Kids

Is your child over-scheduled? Children do better if you help them to exercise wisdom with the choices they are offered. Today’s child has more choices with after-school activities than children did years ago. And with the general rule of all children being included often means there will be no tryouts (in most cases) for sports teams and such children can become involved in anything they want. Pay the fee and they’re in with all the practices and games/ performances. Creating balance in their life it important for a happy child.

Here’s an example: Say your child wants to play soccer, run cross-country, and play tennis. These three sports occur at the same time. If this child is allowed to do all three, will there be good balance in their time? The answer is a resounding no. All three will result multiple after school practices. All three will have multiple games, all three may conflict. Some parents let children take on this much activity to the detriment of the child’s well-being. Because there is no way a child can physically and mentally keep up with this many activities and do a good job with school work.

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Parenting 101: How to Deal with a Lying Child

by Lori Ramsey – real life parenting with a mom with 6 kids

When dealing with a lying child the first thing you should do is find out why the child is lying. Children will lie for different reasons. Some may lie to keep from getting into trouble. Others may lie because it becomes chronic or a habit. Wisdom tells us we need to teach our children to be truthful and curtail the lying so when the child grows up they will be of honest and trustworthy character. Whatever the reasons behind the lying, dealing with lying head on will help to turn a liar into an honest person.

The Why Behind the Lie

When you catch your child in a lie try to find out what’s going on or why they felt the need to tell one. Perhaps the lies are caused from a break in communication and they think they are telling the truth. They may have a defense behind why they told a lie and it might sound good even to the parents. Still, responding to the lie and listen why your child told the lie in the first place. Don’t speak angrily, but talk to them, help them by remaining calm and tell them you need to talk it out. Sometimes the truth is revealed and you can help the child by talking to them about being honest when you find out the why behind the lie.

Age Appropriate

Lying for a five-year-old differs vastly from a thirteen-year-old liar. The younger child may not quite understand they told a lie whereas the older child is lying on purpose. How you handle each should be age appropriate. The best way to help a child not turn into a liar is to teach them early on that lying is wrong. Perhaps it never came up and your child started lying at an older age. Whatever the case, deal with them per their age. Always correct a younger child when they tell a lie even if the lie is an innocent one. For example, a four-year-old may say something like, “My dad ate all the turkey on Thanksgiving.” They literally may think if the turkey is gone and mom said something about dad eating it. “No, dad didn’t eat all the turkey, but he ate a lot of the turkey.” Point out the difference. When you catch an older child in a lie, you need to let them know you know about it and talk about the lie, always encouraging to tell the truth.

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In the beginning, girls are usually the ones that talk early, become involved socially, and do well in school. However, as they grow older, sometimes parenting a girl becomes a bit more challenging. Many parents feel that early on girls are easier to raise, but there are challenges coming as they hit those preteen and teen years. With many expectations on them, various signals from society, and a lot of social pressure, things often become more difficult for girls as they get a bit older. It's important that you raise your daughter to be confident and successful in a world that still often makes it more difficult for women to achieve success. To effectively parent your daughter, here are some excellent parenting tips that can help you along the way.

Parenting Tip #1 – Encourage Your Daughter to Have a Healthy Body Image

Probably one of the most important parenting tips for raising girls to keep in mind is to encourage your daughter to have a healthy body image. As girls grow older, often body image becomes a problem, especially with the way that models are altered to look almost perfect today. This can cause a lot of pressure on girls as they grow up, leading to problems like bulimia and even anorexia. Teaching them to have a good body image while they are young and reinforcing it as they grow older can help. Compliment your daughter, praising her appearance. If she asks if she is beautiful, enthusiastically tell her, "Yes!" It's also a good idea to let your teenage daughter realize that the models in magazines are digitally altered and that no woman can really reach this perfection without an airbrush. Let your daughter know that perfection is not a real definition of beautiful.

Parenting Tip #2 – Provide Your Daughter with a Good Example and Good Role Models

Another great tip is to provide your daughter with a good example yourself, as well as other good role models. Moms, daughters are going to look to you and they will learn from your attitudes and actions. Embrace your body and show pride in being a woman. Don't criticize yourself or you will pass that attitude to your daughter. Dads need to show respect to women as well as equality. Of course, while being a good example as a parent is important, girls also need other women role models in their lives. Help them find great role models in strong women that are successful, whether friends, family members, or even famous women well known for being strong women.

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