There is no question that parenting is one of THE toughest jobs in the world. Most of us would agree that there is nothing more special than caring for and loving our little ones (and big ones) with all our hearts. But parenting comes with a great source of pressure. We want our kids to be happy. We want them to succeed. We want them to be kind, smart, successful, etc. The list goes on and on. And we feel the responsibility to make them be all of these things. After all, we are shaping them through the experiences we provide them. Along with this responsibility comes a whole host of emotions including stress. As parents, most of us stress out about how to be a good parent. It is important to understand that you can only do your very best and that is all one should ask of themselves. Still, there are steps we can take that will keep stress levels down and positive attitudes up. Here are 5 tips that parents can use with children of almost any age.
While there may be countless areas in which we would like to see improvement, including our child’s behaviors and habits, it is important that we choose our top priorities and focus on specific goals. If you allow yourself to try and control everything, you will feel the burden of always being in “fix it” mode. Let some things go and ask yourself, “How big of a deal is this?”
Attach a consequence and motivator to whatever rules you are trying to instate or battles you choose to fight. Give your child a reasonable consequence when they make poor decisions and give them reinforcement for their achievements and positive behaviors. Children of any age love to be given praise and positive feedback, and pointing out their accomplishments will help them grow to have a healthy self-esteem.
This is a big one. If you want your kids to take you seriously and trust you, you have to be consistent and dependable. If you say they will have to go in time out if they scream one more time, then put them in time-out if they scream that second time. If you say they are going to be grounded if they break a rule, then follow through. When you consistently go back on your word your child learns to not take you seriously. Let them know that they can trust you.
Even though you may not always agree with what your child says or does, it is important that you listen to them and try to understand where they are coming from. It is human nature to desire feeling understood, and being able to see their perspectives will allow them to open up to you more and feel heard. Simple validating statements that can be made to your child include, “I can see that you’re very angry,” “It looks like you are feeling down today,” and “I understand that you don’t like the rules.”
Try and enjoy every moment that you get to spend with your child. It is easy for us all to get caught up in our busy lives and not appreciate what is right in front of us.