“Oh, you allow screen time? That’s terrible”.
“You’re not co-sleeping? Your baby is going to be so messed up”.
“Hey, I heard your child is into drugs. You should do something about that”.
You’ve probably gotten some unsolicited parenting advice if you’re a parent. And if you ask us, you probably should’ve brushed it off. Why? Because it’s not really up to anyone else how you parent your child. It’s your decision and your child’s, so you should do what works best for you.
But sometimes, you may feel you’re not cut out for parenting. You may feel like you’re not doing a good job or like you could be doing better. The guilt of being a “bad parent” can be overwhelming. But don’t worry; there are ways to improve your parenting skills (without letting society dictate how you parent).
Be There for Your Child:
A parent-child bond goes beyond toys and pocket money, honestly! It doesn’t matter if you’re a working or a stay-at-home parent. Try to make time for your little ones (whether two or twenty) each day. They need you! Maybe they want to share the joy of a new toy or experience with you, or maybe they need a shoulder to cry on over an ex or poor grades.
You may hate to hear it, but it’s these vulnerable times in your teenager’s life when they light their first cigarette or ingest their first line of cocaine. These initial forays may not seem like a big deal to your child, but they could be the start of a lifelong addiction. So, you must sit and talk to them about it. If you feel things are slipping out of your hands, rehabs like Serenity At Summit can help.
Always Put Communication First:
No, we are not talking about WhatsApp calls or text messages only. We are talking about real, face-to-face communication. It is the key to every strong relationship, including the parent-child relationship.
It’s unfair, as a parent, to expect your child to do something because you asked them to. They deserve (and demand, if we are honest) an explanation for why they should do something. For example, “You’re grounded” will not cut it. Try something like, “I’m grounding you because your grades have been slipping, and I want you to focus on school.” This way, they know why they are being punished and what they need to do to fix the problem.
It also goes for communicating with your partner about parenting duties. It can be confusing and frustrating for you and your child if you’re not on the same page.
Discipline with Consistency:
Discipline is not a bad word! It is an essential tool for teaching your child right from wrong and helping them learn to control their impulses. But it needs to be done with consistency.
If you start to discipline your child and then back down, they will quickly learn that they can get away with bad behavior. On the contrary, if you are too strict, they will resent you and rebel against you. Try to find the sweet equilibrium that works best for you and your child, and stick to it.
And remember, you can set grounds for punishment ahead of time. For example, if your child knows that breaking a curfew will result in losing privileges, they are less likely to do it.
Lead by Example:
Do you know you’re probably your child’s first and most important role model? Especially when they are young and learning how to behave in the world. The younger the child, the more cues they take from you on how to act.
So, if you value honesty as a trait, you need to be honest with them. You must show your child respect if you want them to be respectful. If you want your children to be good students, you must set an example by continuing to learn throughout your life.
When it comes to aggression, it is an area where you especially need to be careful. Your child will likely do the same if you constantly yell and get angry. According to studies, parents who are violent themselves are frequently the cause of their children becoming violent adults. So, instead of blowing your top, try to take a deep breath and count to ten.
Encourage Them to Be Independent:
One of the most difficult (and emotional) things for parents is to let their children go. But it is important to encourage your child’s independence, especially as they become teenagers. It is where you instill the confidence that they can make it in the world independently.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should just kick them out of the house as soon as they turn eighteen. But it does mean allowing them to make their own decisions, even if they are not always the right ones. It means watching them fail and learning from their mistakes.
It is also important to encourage independence in other areas of their life. For example, you can encourage them to try new things, join clubs and activities, and make new friends. Or how about starting a small baking business from home?
The most important thing is to give them the freedom to explore their interests and talents. And while you’re at it, always put your best “I know you got this” face on, even if you’re secretly dying inside.
Despite being a difficult subject for some, parenting doesn’t have to be dull or unpleasant. It can be one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever do in your life. Remember the midnight feedings and the first steps? The late-night talks and the laughter? It’s all worth it in the end.
And although there is no perfect way to parent, the tips in this blog post will hopefully give you a good starting point. Just remember to be what you want your child to be: honest, loving, patient, and consistent. Everything else will fall into place.