Parenting is an evolving process that we can only grow better at, with every passing day. Learning takes place by trial and error and we improve, slightly with each one. Indeed, raising children is one of the toughest yet most fulfilling jobs on earth – one for which there can be no match. However, sometimes you may feel the least prepared for it. Also, as your child reaches certain developmental milestones, things may seem to be overwhelming. So, here are some tips that can help you become a better parent.
- Make Time to Connect
Set aside some time each day or if that is not possible every week, to be spent exclusively with your child. To make this happen, consider getting up 15 minutes earlier than usual so that you can take a morning stroll with your child or have breakfast with them. Be present in the moment and focus all the attention on your child. Make sure you put your phone away. Listen to your little one and connect with them emotionally.
2. Set a Good Example
Young kids learn much about how to act by observing their parents. So, model the characteristics you’d like to see in your child such as respect, sincerity, kindness, punctuality and tolerance. Practise altruism. Do things for others without any expectation in return. Offer compliments and express gratitude. When your temper gets the better of you, avoid reacting spontaneously. If you’re tempted to yell in front of your child, think about whether you’d like your child to behave that way when angry. Note that you are constantly watched by your kids. Therefore, one of the best ways to be a better parent is to be a better person overall.
3. Make Clear Rules
Form a clear set of rules and stick to them. Discuss with your child about what you expect from them in terms of behaviour, both in the presence and absence of adults. Provide explanations for the rules as it will help them understand their importance better. They will realize that you are not simply a stickler but have their best interests at heart. Consider using discipline to protect and guide your child instead of punishment to make them feel bad.
4. Don’t Let Your Emotions Get the Better of You
Before you intervene in any unpleasant situation concerning your child, calm yourself first. Though the issue may seem overwhelming at the moment, most of the time it is not as grave as it seems. Take a deep breath or count to 10 to collect yourself so that you can deal with the situation in the best possible manner.
5. Use Praise Carefully
While it is very important to give your little one a pat on the back every time they accomplish something or behave well, you want to be careful with praise. Use it in a way that your child thinks about their own accomplishments. For example, saying “this must have made you proud” rather than the oft-used “I’m proud of you” can encourage your kid to make choices even when there is nobody around to commend them.
6. Encourage Conversation
If your child is grumbling or complaining about something, lend them a patient ear instead of sidestepping it and shutting down any conversation. Heightened emotions often hint at a deeper issue. For example, if your kid hates working on grammar exercises, it could be because they have difficulty in understanding the various parts of speech rather than a sheer adamant attitude. Don’t jump to conclusions and instead try conversing to get to the bottom of the matter.
7. Be Flexible with Your Parenting Style
If you find that your methods are not working for your child, be willing to adjust and adapt your parenting style. Before you fixate yourself on “shoulds”, consider reading up on the matter or consulting child development specialists. Remember that the environment can affect the behaviour of a child. So, there are chances of altering that behaviour by altering the environment. Also, you need to change your parenting style from time to time as chances are what works well with your kid now will not work as well a couple of years down the line.
8. Acknowledge Your Limitations as a Parent
Face the fact that you are not a perfect parent. Like everyone, you have strengths and weaknesses. Note your abilities and work on your drawbacks. Harbour expectations for yourself, other family members and your kids. Be kind to yourself as it is alright if you do not have all the answers. Concentrate on the areas that need most priority than attempting to everything all at once. When you feel stressed, take some time out of parenting and engage in activities that make you happy. The process will make parenting a more manageable job.
Parenting is all about striking the right chord between discipline and affection. It is a process that helps you learn and become better at the art of raising tiny humans. The above tips may not be quick or easy to implement but working on them will help you move in the right direction.