As a parent, we all make mistakes. It’s only human nature to mess up sometimes. You may say the wrong thing or make a choice you shouldn’t of. Perhaps even you show up at the wrong time. Regardless, these mistakes will happen, and you can’t stop them. However, you can be rest assured it happens to us all, these reactions and unfortunate mistakes are par for the course and is what being a parent is about. While you shouldn’t strive to be a perfect parent (because let’s face it, it’s not achievable), you can still be an effective parent. The most effective parents raise responsible children who are truly equipped for real life and adulthood. What are the steps to becoming an effective parent? Below is a quick list of habits that may help you out next time you doubt your parenting skills.
Set Limits and Be Consistent
Rules are a key part of growing up, limits are essential to any parenting strategy. Having boundaries do more than keep you sane as a parent, they help develop a child in a stable and secure environment.
If you want your child to do chores or simply want them to take responsibility for their actions, show them that instructions are necessary. If they violate a major rule or boundary, follow through with a consequence. However, remember not to retaliate, simply show what they have done is wrong, tell them why and discipline appropriately. Children who hit or punch their parents and don’t get disciplined only carry on this behaviour into nursery and school.
Keep in mind, consistency is key here. Don’t allow your little one to do things sometimes and then other times tell them off for doing the same thing. This is confusing for a child and will send mixed signals.
Be a Good Role Model
Don’t just tell your child what you want them to do, walk the walk and talk the talk – show them. Children copy their parents and if you’re not setting the right example then how can you expect them to be good children? Children watch everything their parents do very carefully which is why it’s essential to respect them, and others, show they positivity and have empathy towards them. Be a good role model for your child so they can base their actions off you and grow up a great influence.
Stay Flexible and Adjust Your Parenting Style When Necessary
After your first child, you may feel like a pro. While you’re skilled for managing your first little one, as they’re very hard to handle, you still have a lot to find out when you start having more children. Parenting is often about flexibility and this is especially true when you have multiple children. Each child will have different emotions and show their feelings differently, so you must learn how to deal with them individually. Your parenting style fixed, it needs to flow as much as possible. Also, this is the case for other parents too. When you see a parent disciplining their child in the park or store, don’t take over and interrupt (unless absolutely necessary!) as you won’t be aware of their parenting style or boundaries.
Show Your Unconditional Love
There is no such thing as loving your child too much and you should always show them through actions such as hugs and kisses. Whether they’re a tiny baby or a teenager, they deserve to know how much you love them. Some parents shower their little ones with gifts and find themselves constantly asking which baby shop to visit? But you may just find peace through the smaller actions. Loving your child is one of the simplest things you can do and it’s truly beautiful. Showing these acts of love can trigger the release of feel-good hormones such as opioids and prolactin which bring calmness and warmth into your children life.
Respect Their Independence
There will come a time, as early as 2-years-old for some children, that they will start making their own choices. As children grow older, these choices are going to have more of an impact. Allow your child to have independence and make mistakes sometimes. Making mistakes and doing things you shouldn’t necessarily do is a learning curve for children and definitely isn’t a bad time. If choices don’t work out, then your child simply learns how the decisions they make can come with consequences. Let your child face natural consequences of life once in a while. If they insist on going outside in the cold winter without a coat, and they aren’t in danger of freezing, let them do it!