Raising a child is one of the most frustrating tasks in life, but also one that brings the most joy and fulfillment. If this is your first bundle of joy, it’s safe to say that you have only a vague idea of what you’re doing when it comes to parenting, but there are tips that can make your parenting more effective. Here are some tricks from experienced parents and parenting experts to keep in mind:
Listen to your child
We’ve all been so busy that we don’t know what’s going on around us—it happens to everyone. But when you’re spending time with your kid, make sure to keep distractions to a minimum. During your quality time together, keep your eyes and ears open and listen to what your kid is trying to say. By showing that you listen, you’re also showing care and love, and it’s making it much easier for your kids to open up. And when your kids come to you with their problems, you can solve them quickly and efficiently.
If you want to receive respect, first you have to show it—this applies to your kids as well. Treat your kid with respect and politeness and show that you respect their opinions and decisions. Make sure to pay attention to their behaviors and try to indulge your kid when it’s possible. We as adults work on our relationships with our partners, family members, friends, and colleagues—why do we think we don’t have to work on our relationships with our kids? Every relationship requires mutual respect!
Be a good role model
From the moment they open their eyes and all through their growth and development, kids are watching you. Everything that you do will become a part of their childhood experience and make a difference in their lives. If you want to be an effective parent, allow your child many opportunities to observe good behaviors and acquire them. Pay special attention to how you treat other people, how you react in stressful situations, and how you treat your own body—kids will imitate you in the future.
Every day, parents around the world are learning new things about their kids. Tap into that endless well of knowledge by visiting parenting websites and apps. On some of that helpful platforms, you can find out many tips and tricks on parenting, no matter if you have a cute baby, a naughty toddler, or a curious preschooler at home. This app offers insight into development, behavior, entertainment, and learning, so you can arm yourself with useful tips and know what to do in many new situations.
If you change your rules daily or if you only enforce them from time to time, your kid will be very confused about what they should and shouldn’t do. If you want to be a fair and effective parent, consistency is the key to success. Start with a list of things you don’t want to argue (your non-negotiables) and make sure to base your authority on common sense and wisdom instead of power. The less you practice pure power, the less your kids will challenge it. Train yourself to be consistent and your kids will learn quickly and acquire desired behaviors.
Explain your decisions and behaviors
This is something that ties closely to the point above about basing your parenting on logic and wisdom. Make sure to take time to explain to your child why you do things, no matter how old they are. Parents often take too much time explaining things to younger kids and not enough time explaining things to pre-teens and teens. Something that might be obvious to you might be quite puzzling to a 12-year-old, so take time to explain your decisions and justify your behaviors. When kids understand things should be done in a certain way, they will be more likely to follow rules and practice good behaviors.
While it’s crucial for you to set certain limits and exercise your kids’ self-control, it’s also crucial to give them freedom and independence to build their sense of self-direction. Successful people have both self-control and self-direction, so give your kids an opportunity to practice both. Make sure not to mistake their desire for independence for defiance—it’s natural for all humans to be masters of their lives and feel in control of what happens to them.
Don’t spare a grain of love
Kids can become spoiled when you do things for them and don’t show them there are consequences to their actions. However, it’s impossible to spoil them with too much love and care. Instead of giving things to your kid in place of love (which is something that actually leads to spoilt behaviors), show true affection and care.
If you practice the tips above, you will be much more in tune with your child and have a blast every day. You’ll get to watch your child grow into a respectable young adult—this is the biggest gift for any parent.