Apart from seeing your child for the first time when they’re born, nothing quite matches the feeling of joy and pride that parents have when their children reach their fullest potentials and become the best that they can be.
It takes years of hard work and toil. And for many parents, seeing their labor of love pay off in the form of well-adjusted and wonderful humans, can be particularly rewarding. As a parent, if you’re looking to be even better at parenting and helping your children, this post might be able to show you a few new things.
And if you already know everything, well, it will help reinforce your belief that you’re making the most of what you’ve been given. The latter is important because sometimes, parenting can feel like a thankless job. So knowing that you’re doing what you should, can help you feel better and encourage you to soldier on.
Focus on What You Can Control
As a parent, you know that every day is different. Some days are great, others, not so much. Sometimes, you’re on top of things, other times, you just hope to get through the day without “losing it”. And it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by these days or events.
Now here’s the thing: your kids are watching what you do during that time. They may not be fully aware of the challenges that you’re facing –particularly with them, but somehow, they sense these things. How you react to their actions can often influence them for years.
So whenever things are a bit difficult or they’re not going great –the kids are being uncooperative, they’re throwing tantrums or just picking on one another– you need to be able to focus on what you can control.
These include teaching the kids the right methods that will help them calm down and become centered. Then, encourage them to use those skills whenever a similar situation presents itself.
For example, when a child is angry or upset, and can’t express themselves, telling them to “calm down, breathe, and now talk to me about what’s bothering you” will be more effective than yelling at them to “stop making noise” or whatever they’re doing.
This is a great way to not only teach them character building, but also, restraint, comportment, and articulation under pressure. By the way, yelling at them is ineffective because it doesn’t address the real problem. It just teaches them to repress their feelings –and we all know how those repressed feelings often turn out.
Get the Kids Involved in Physical Activity
Too many kids spend too much time indoors these days. That, plus the increased consumption of junk foods is probably why there’s a childhood obesity epidemic in the making.
Kids need physical activity. Maybe throw on a pair of jeans and take them hiking or you could encourage them to participate in sporting activities of their choice. If they’re special needs children, they can exercise within a controlled environment –for instance, you can take long walks or jogs with them. If the kids like baseball or softball, get them baseball netting cages if you can.
They’re great for practicing in inclement weather, improve their hitting mechanics, helps them become better players, and keeps them in good physical and mental shape. Ultimately, the goal is to instill the need for physical activity in them throughout their lives.
Lead from the Front
This means doing a lot more than you’re telling them. Children absorb everything. And they tend to mimic whatever it is you’re doing. So make sure that you’re a good leader by consistently improving yourself. Show them what they should be doing instead of just telling them.
Have you ever seen a toddler watch his or her parents do yoga or push-ups? They automatically try to do the same. And this instinct persists throughout their lives. Even if they don’t automatically do what you do as they grow, they’re watching and absorbing everything.
If you treat your partner with respect and kindness, the children will learn to do the same. If you’re gentle with them, rarely ever raise your voice, the kids will automatically mimic the same attributes. This is why you must set a positive example all the time.
Endeavor to be Present
This is not an easy task, given that many parents often have to work extra hard –sometimes pulling multiple shifts or hold multiple jobs– just to provide for their children.
However, you need to make an effort to be present as much as possible. You need to teach them to be reliable and available for what’s important. There’s no better way to do that than to be present whenever you can. If you can’t see if someone who is important to them can step in.
But don’t make a habit of it. For example, if they have a recital at school, and you can’t make it, see if your partner can, and explain to the kid why you may not be able to make it.
It may be a little thing to you –after all, you’re out there trying to make sure they don’t starve or become homeless– but it means a lot to them. Children instinctively rely on the support system that parents provide to give them stability. And the easiest way to do that is by being available.
Practice Patience a Lot
It’s easy to “lose it” with your kids, particularly when they’re being difficult. But children are like that because they don’t know any better. It’s your job to help transform their difficult periods into teachable moments.
So you’ll need to keep reminding yourself to be more patient –particularly when you’re at your wits’ end. Learn to breathe, think before you speak or act, and keep digging deep. It won’t be easy, but it’ll be worth it.
Children tend to test your limits, and in the process, either turn you into a saint or a villain. Hopefully, you’ll become the former by practicing a lot of patience and understanding.
Be Hands-On in Their Lives
Do you know what’s going on in your children’s lives? If you don’t, then you need to be more hands-on. Find out what’s going on with them and be attentive. Most importantly, avoid any form of judgment.
Children are more likely to stay “on track” if they have a great relationship with their parents. As they grow older, they’re less likely to misbehave because they value your opinion too much.
Hopefully, you’ll wield that “power” gently and never abuse it by manipulating them into doing what you want and not what’s best for them –although sometimes, those interests can align.
Teach Your Kids to Be Disciplined
The word “discipline” is taboo these days. People don’t like talking about it because it’s not politically correct. Yet, the reality is that discipline is an essential part of our lives. Society thrives on it –without discipline, it’d have descended into chaos and anarchy.
So endeavor to rein in your children’s excesses. Show them the merits of being disciplined. However, please remember that while you’re supposed to discipline your kids, you shouldn’t abuse them by being excessively heavy-handed or harsh. Find a balance that works.
Discipline should teach them to be better and to live more uprightly. If you need help, some books can teach you various effective ways to discipline your kids and set them straight.
Affirm and Build Up Your Kids
Children’s self-esteem is often built up by a combination of experience, can-do spirit, and parental validation. Remember to build up your kids –the world out there won’t. Tell them the good stuff about them.
Elevate them every chance you get. This will encourage them to strive even harder and become the best versions of themselves.
This is a contributed post and therefore may not reflect the views and opinions of this blog or its author.