5 Powerful Ways to be a Better Parent

Being a раrеnt is hard. On one hand you must enforce the many boundaries, rulеѕ, & rеgulаtіоnѕ thаt are required to create the safe & secure environment children need to develop. But on the other hand you want to allow your child the room & freedom they require to stimulate their creativity, so they can flourish into happy, enlightened, & inquisitive adults. It is very important to never forget that children are precious being full of their own individual needs, wants & desires, but are also in need of a guiding hand to help them negotiate the perils of early life. Parenting is a balancing act, & a difficult one at that, so here are 5 tips to help you walk the tightrope of raising happy, well rounded children.

Strategies for Being a Better Parent

Set sensible boundaries

One of the most important things you can do for your children is setting boundaries. Having a series of firm but fair guidelines for behaviour is vital for letting children know the difference between acceptable & unacceptable behaviour. These guidelines need to be enforced consistently to be effective, & should always be explained to your child, this way they can learn why a behaviour in not allowed & understand why it is undesirable, instead of just associating it with a punishment. By setting out clear guidelines for behaviour you create a clear framework for positive & negative consequences for good & bad behaviour.  

Consistency is key

Once you have set a boundary for a behaviour you must remain consistent in the enforcement of the boundary. Children learn through repetition, & are most comfortable in routines where they know what to expect. Once a child learns that an undesirable behaviour will always be met with a negative consequence, they will cease the behaviour. However if the behaviour only results in a negative consequence half of the time, they will likely take the gamble & try on the behaviour to see what happens. As children develop, the constraints of behavioural boundaries will change. Whenever a boundary  needs to be evaluated, it is important to talk about it with your child, & explain the reasons for the change. For example, “now that you are 5 years old you are allowed to pour your own milk, but only when I am in the kitchen with you. That way if you need help I am there to help you.”

Be Involved in their life

Modern life can be very busy, & with a schedule full of work, social & family commitments it can be difficult to find the time to be fully involved in your child’s life. All anyone can do is their best, & your best is good enough. You may not be available to attend every school or sporting event, but making the effort to be present for the big moments will mean everything to your child. But being involved is not only for big ticket events like school plays & grand finals. You can be more involved simply by taking an active interest in your child’s interests. Asking them about what they have going on, & participating whenever you can will make all the difference to them, & will be very rewarding for you too.

Show your child that you love them unconditionally

Showing your child that you love them, no matter what, is a very important part of parenting. When curbing a behaviour it is vital that you explain that it is the behaviour, & not the child, that is bad & undesirable. Using language such as “bad boy!” or “Naughty girl” should be avoided, & instead statements like “I don’t like it when you do not listen to me” which highlights the behaviour are preferable. This way you are explaining why you are upset instead of berating your child in a way that teaches them nothing. Showing your children affection & telling them that you love them regardless of anything that happens will make them feel safe & secure in sharing things with you, which will be especially important as they enter adolescence.

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Lead by example

The best way to teach your children is to lead by example. If you want them to have good manners, then always use good manners toward them. Children are programmed to imitate adults, it is one of the primary ways they learn to function in the society they are born into, & as such they way you act around then is very important. Even when you think they are not paying attention they are still very sensitive to how you act, particularly toward others. Always  be aware of how you speak & act, & think, ‘ is this something I want to teach my child?’

Be the best Parent you can be

Parenting is the most difficult, yet rewarding pursuit in life. You can use these 5 general strategies as a guide to develop your own ideal parenting style, but remember, every child is unique & will have differing needs when it comes to parenting.  By being open, loving & thoughtful in your approach to raising your child you will put yourself in the best position to become a great parent, & raise wonderful children.

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