10 Steps to More Effective Parenting
Being a parent is one of the hardest, but most rewarding jobs in the world. One of the trickiest things about parenthood is that no one’s prepared you to bear that responsibility! So, here are a few practical tips that will definitely help you become a better parent.
Kids start to see themselves through their parents’ eyes as soon as they develop a sense of self. They very quickly become masters in reading body language and can notice your tone, movements and facial expressions. So, next time you communicate with your child, try to be supportive and make them feel proud instead of comparing them to other kids and making them feel worthless. Never use words as weapons, but choose them carefully and with compassion.
Don’t forget to compliment them
Many times, parents only concentrate on bad things and totally neglect all those times their kid behaved well or did something good. So, stop trying to catch your kids doing wrong! If you want to show them the behaviours that deserve praise, the more effective approach is to try to catch them doing something right. Maybe your kid picked up their toys without being asked or maybe they were very well behaved during a family dinner. Reward that behaviour and your child will not take it for granted.
Disciplining your kids is a necessary step you must take to be a good and responsible parent. It will help your kids learn self-control and teach them what is acceptable and what is not. Those limits you set are what will make your kids grow up into responsible adults! So, set limits and stick to them no matter how much your children test them. Be consistent with your rules and follow through with punishments and rewards.
Don’t play at their empathy
It might sound cruel, but kids, especially teens, don’t feel a lot of empathy. They are still not fully in touch with those feelings, so don’t try to discipline them using a sympathy card. “Do you know how your behaviour makes me feel?” will not work! Instead, play at their interests. If you want your kid to change something, tell them how that behaviour will benefit them. “Aren’t you tired of getting punished for this behaviour? It’s only hurting you, and the consequences won’t stop coming until you change your act”.
Make memories together
It’s very important to spend quality time as a family. You can organize all sorts of family events like competitions, DIY shops, movie nights, group meal prep and many other interesting activities that are fun, educational and healthy. Do you have a long weekend away from work? Why not use the time to make a little trip with your partner and kids! Your safest bet is to find a cheap car rental company, stock up on snacks and good tunes and hit the road. Your kids will love this little adventure, especially in a new car and heading to a new city. Pro tip: don’t hesitate to organise a family concert! Sing your hearts out—no one can hear you butchering that song!
Set an example
Toddlers and young kids look up to their parents very much—the younger they are, the bigger the impact you have on their behaviour. So, before you exhibit bad behaviour in front of your kid, ask yourself one question: Do I want my kid to imitate this action? Research shows that kids who bully, lash out and manipulate usually pick up that behaviour from home. So, practice more respect, honesty, kindness and tolerance.
Even though you’re the authority at your household, you can’t expect your kids to follow your every word without any explanation. If you don’t take time to communicate, your children will start to doubt your motives. So, make your expectations clear, describe the problem, express your feelings, state the consequences and ask your child to work on a solution with you.
As your kid grows, you’ll have to be more flexible with your parenting and change your style. What works now might not work in a few years! Allow your teen to have more freedom while still providing guidance and exercising appropriate discipline.
Know your limitations
No parent is perfect! You have strengths and flaws, so don’t act like you know everything. Plus, try to work on your weaknesses. Do you have issues showing emotion? Do you struggle with being consistent? Try to change that behaviour and become better!
Show your unconditional love
Sure, parents are responsible for their kids’ discipline, but you must be careful how you express your guidance. Avoid blaming, criticizing and comparisons—they can lead to resentment. Instead, show them that even if you are disappointed now and expect better, your love didn’t change!
Remember, no matter if you have a teenager or a new baby, it’s never too late or too early to start parenting! Slowly, you’ll notice your good behaviour and see your child grow into a good and responsible person.