It is frightening enough to anticipate, prepare for and bring forth a child. Many parents and expecting parents look to counseling, books, magazines and even other parents for the Common Dos and Don’ts of Parenthood. But how can we tell whether or not we are good, or if we are confident enough, great parents? Is it by the actions and behaviors of our children or the accolades we receive?
The human nature in us will want to compete or even go as far as to criticize the parenting skills of other parents. Although this is almost unavoidable, it is important to note that parenting skills and tactics should be dealt with on a case by case basis.
How can we be the best parent we can be? Well, yes, providing the basic necessities of food, clothing, and shelter is a given, but any childcare specialist, parents, and even children will tell you that’s just not enough. How then can we really delve into our parenting niche? Here are some tips on how to be the best parent you can be.
As much as is age-appropriate, discuss with your child the mix of genetics and environmental factors that can impact the chances of having a mental health issue. — Jenise Harmon, LISW-S
- Love Your Child
Never underestimate the power of love. Never withhold your love and affection from your child. We were designed as emotional beings; capable of accepting and showing love. Be the first person to show your child love and in return, they will show it.
- Invest in your Child
Your child/children are your investments. Never be reluctant to spend on your child. Mark you, spending on your child does not necessarily mean buying them the most fashionable outfits or the most recent gadgets. It simply means paying enough attention to your child’s interests and spending on them. Then, if you realize that the only thing your child does during the day is flick and frolic, enroll him or her in a gym to start to learn gymnastics. If the child enjoys watching cricket, buy him a cricket bat. The same if he/she likes reading, get that Library card. That my friend is not spending, but wise investing!
No parent is perfect. We, therefore, do our children a great service by offering them a healthy extension of influences in their lives. — Lisa Firestone, Ph.D.
- Be Positive Thinkers
When it comes to your child, it’s always a sunny day. Find the positive in every situation, claim and act upon them. Always be ready to speak positively about your child’s life and their endeavors. Claim them as doctors, lawyers, politicians, heroes, leaders, truth-seekers and watch as these claims are materialized.
- Get Involved in Your Child’s Life
Your child needs to know that you are their biggest supporters at all times. Never be too busy to support their interests and past times. Watch an episode of their favorite cartoon with them, play a little dress up if needs be. Always be willing to carpool to a soccer match, be at their play recitals, help them study for a quiz or prepare for a competition. When you’re involved in your child’s life, your child will become more motivated to do well. Remember, the most expensive gift is Time.
Most parents hope for their children to grow up behaving with decency, emotional openness, affection, non-defensiveness, and other positive attributes. It’s crucial for parents to model these qualities and behaviors for their children. — Johannes Kieding, LCSW
- Be a good role model
“Children live what they learn” This is not just a saying we hear constantly so we know. It is a fact. Children are like sponges and blank canvases ready to be painted on. Their young minds are susceptible to just about everything. They practice what they see, and they see what you practice. Therefore, they portray strong and ethical principles and they too will emulate them. I charge you to be that forgiving person, the kind-hearted, the brave and caring parent and watch as it blooms in their beaming lives.
Never be too busy to give your child a listening ear. Ask them how their day was, what they want to do. This gives them the opportunity to express themselves and voice their opinion. Do not just hear them, listen to them; value their opinions. Ask them what color to paint the bedroom in, what dress they prefer to wear today. Help them to understand that their voices should be heard and that their opinions matter.
- Avoid Comparisons
The minute we see our child’s life through the eyes, opinions, and actions of others is the minute we start to fail as parents. No two children are the same. This, therefore, means that what goes for the goose may not necessarily go for the gander. Be patient with your child and allow them to grow in their own steps at their own pace- not at the time that you think they should. This tip goes for the child as well as for you. Do not question or compare your parenting skills with that of another parent. Be YOU, and do what works best in your interest and that of your child.
- Show Some Tough Love
“He who spareth the rod, hateth his son, but he that loveth him, correcteth him betimes.” Prov. 13:24 There’s no all year sunny weather when it comes to parenting. There will be times when disciplinary measures must be taken. Disciplinary measures may not necessarily be physical, but at all times your child must know who the Boss of the household is and be trained to adhere to rules and guidelines or face the consequences.
These are some fundamental tips. Don’t be afraid to add your little twist to them; the possibilities are endless. Be the best parent you can be- your children will thank you for it!