Parenting in the 21st century has become a tad more complicated compared with how parenting was done fifty years ago. In an attempt to make things easier for parents to raise their kids the right way, many articles and books on parenting tips have been published. But the question that is asked across decades remains the same: “Is it really possible to be a perfect dad or be called “Best Mom Ever” by my children? What is a parent to do? This article hopes to give some insight and a sense of optimism towards being a better parent.
What is parenting?
One famous sentiment you get when you hear parents talking is this: “90% of parenting is just thinking about when you can lie down again” – funny but definitely true! So many will agree that once you’re called “mom” or “dad,” it’s going to be a 24-hours-a-day, 365-days-a-year thing over a lifetime. A lot of parents who have raised children and have become grandmas and grandpas can attest to this. (They can even offer the best paper writing service regarding parenting for first-time parents needing guidance.) But kidding aside, what does parenting really mean?
Parenting is a lifelong process of taking care of a child’s needs from infancy to adulthood. Such needs include the physical, emotional, social, and intellectual aspects of the child’s development. Although there is no perfect way on how to be a parent, the American Psychological Association explains that parenting around the world shares three main goals. One is to ensure a child’s health and safety; second is to prepare children for life as productive adults; and third, parents are to transmit cultural values.
What Makes a Good Parent?
For those who feel they don’t have a lot of parenting skills, think again because that is not at all true. Once you have a child, you will naturally know how to be a parent. It becomes second-nature. Perhaps the real concern you have is finding out whether what you’re doing is effective parenting, right? To shed some light, here are parenting advice from an expert in child rearing. So, take deep breaths and say to yourself, “I can do this!”
Laurence Steinberg, Ph.D., wrote a book called “The Ten Basic Principles of Good Parenting” based on 75 years of study and research. Here he says that a good parent nurtures values like empathy, self-reliance, honesty, self-control, cooperation, kindness, and cheerfulness. Good parenting also encourages intellectual curiosity, motivation and the desire to achieve. He adds that parents should be able to protect their children from developing depression, eating disorders, anti-social behavior and substance abuse (drugs and alcohol). To achieve all this, Steinberg shares Ten Commandments to Good Parenting.
- Know first-hand that what you do matters. Steinberg explains that everything you do as a parent makes a difference and the kids are always watching you. So, be more cautious about everything you say or do. Always think, “Will what I do accomplish something good?”
- Another thing to think about is that you cannot be too loving. There is a fine line between spoiling a child and loving a child. What you don’t want to do is to give your child so-called “replacements” of love like lowered expectations, material things, or leniency.
- Always be involved in your child’s life. This means that you would need to rearrange your priorities as a parent. Always be there for them mentally, emotionally and physically.
- Know the art of adapting your parenting style to fit your child. While your child grows up, find out how age is affecting the behavior of your child. Then, adjust accordingly.
- Establish a set of rules. This has to be done when your children are very young. If you miss out on doing this early on, it will be hard for your child to manage himself when he is older. Three guiding questions when it comes to setting rules are: Where is my child?, Who is with my child?, and What is my child doing? Answering these questions lead to a more disciplined adult who knows what it means to be safe and knows how to make good choices.
- Foster the independence of your child. This needs a combination of setting limits (for a child to develop self-control) and encouraging independence (for a child to develop self-direction.)
- Always be consistent. Don’t go about changing your rules every day and appear unpredictable in the end. Your most important disciplinary tool is consistency. You may also need to identify your non-negotiables.
- Avoid harsh discipline. Harsh discipline involves hitting a child, like slapping. Kids who experience this while growing up end up being more prone to fighting with other kids or end up being bullies.
- Make it a point to explain your decisions and rules. This is important in having expectations understood by the child. You don’t want to over-explain to younger kids nor under-explain things to teenagers.
- Be sure to treat your child with respect. If you want to be respected by your child, you would first need to treat him or her respectfully. Speak politely, respect their opinion, pay attention when they’re talking to you, be kind to them, and say the magic words yourself. Doing this makes them better at establishing relationships with others.
The Right Way of Communicating with Child
In any parenting journey, behavioral problems among children are inevitable. Common examples of behavior like these include temper tantrums, sleep problems, eating problems, avoiding school, anxiety, and other stress-related concerns. The key to alleviating these problems is to know the right way of communicating with your child. Finding out what is bothering them early on allows them to be more open about what they feel and think, so they don’t have to resort to misbehavior. Here are some communicating tips for parents:
- Be available for your children. Be sensitive and notice the times when your kids are most likely to talk. You can also start the conversation and find time every week for some one-on-one quality time with them. Be interested in your children’s interests so they feel you know them and genuinely care for them.
- When they are talking, let your kids know that you are listening. Express interest, listen and always let them complete their point before you give a response. Careful not to be intrusive, however.
- Respond in such a way that your children hear it. Focus on your child’s feelings rather than your own when in a conversation with them. Resist the urge to argue but express your opinion without putting their opinion down. Also, try your best not to sound or appear angry or defensive. Tone down strong feelings and reactions.
Parenting is a difficult task but listening and talking is the key to have a healthy relationship with them. Be confident and know that you can trust yourself when it comes to raising your children. You know more than you think you do. Always remember to love, and keep on loving, whatever happens.