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Being a parent can be daunting. Not only is your child’s health in your hands, but you are also responsible for raising them well. Raising children who are well-adjusted, responsible, yet aren’t burdened by the world around them seems exceptionally hard. In today’s age, when we are more aware of developmental psychology, being apprehensive of having the ‘right’ parenting style is perfectly understandable.
Video: 10 Best Ways to Improve Your Parenting Skills
15 Tips to Enhance Your Parenting Skills
There are three areas you can concentrate on while trying to bring in positive parenting.
Increasing Positive Interactions
It is important to expose your child to constructive conversations. Here are a few ways in which you can enhance positive interactions with your little one.
1. Spend quality time with your child
If you have more than one child, make sure you spend quality time with each child separately as well as together. One-on-one time with your child will help you understand your child better and enhance your bond as well. Use this time to encourage your child in whichever activity you choose together. Do not use this time to correct or teach the child anything, just concentrate on spending time with each other.
2. Set clear limits
Children need structure in order to flourish. Explain the rules to your child so that he/she can understand why you have these rules in place and the consequences of not having them at all. Answer any question he/she may have patiently and as clearly as you can.
3. Ask questions and listen to the answers
Asking questions when your child is young opens lines of communication that will be helpful as he/she grows older. Ask questions about his/her daily routine and listen to his/her answers to initiate the conversation further.
4. Practice what you preach
Children are great imitators and will pick up habits that they see in their surroundings. They also look for what is good in people around them. So, if you take the ‘do as you’re told or because I said so’ route, your child is going to be confused. He/she will also not trust you when you do the opposite of what you ask him/her to do and will pick up your habits anyway.
Decreasing Unhelpful Habits
Not everything that is asked of you is always the right thing that needs to be done. As parents, you may want to give everything to your child, however, it is imperative to draw a line and make them understand that certain habits are not always helpful in getting things done. Also discouraging these habits and a few other tips may help:
5. Soften reactions
Children and adolescents push buttons to get a reaction from adults. While it may seem hard, you must keep control of your irritation and annoyance and answer them firmly yet gently.
6. Do not do everything
Your child needs to understand that he/she must learn to acquire skills and look after himself/herself too. This will only be beneficial for his/her future. Once your child learns a new skill, leave it to his/her to do it when he/she needs to. It might be hard to give your child space, but that is precisely what he/she needs for full development.
7. Stop nagging
When you give attention to any behaviour either negative or positive, that behaviour tends to increase. So instead of pointing out a habit that is undesirable, do not pay attention to it. Instead, praise your child when he/she does something positive.
8. Handle parental conflict behind doors
When your child sees you and your spouse arguing or disagreeing over a parenting technique or decision, the child will see it as an opening to pit one against the other to his/her advantage. Instead, talk about your approach with each other away from your child and make adjustments that will be to your child’s benefit.
Helping Yourself Become a Better Parent
9. Build a strong support system
Do not underestimate the value of bringing in the other adults your child interacts with. Talk to the teacher, coach, grandparents and even your neighbours. Keeping them in the loop will help you understand how your child is developing in spheres that are outside your realm. It will also give you some space and time to do things for yourself.
Knowing when to delegate is half the battle. Accept offers on babysitting or get help with the chores around the house. No one person is equipped to deal with the sheer amount of work that is involved in raising a child. Get the grandparents involved in aspects that will bring joy to them as well.
11. Do not forget yourself
Sometimes, in all the flurry of raising a child, we forget that we existed before the little one arrived. Take time each day with a few rituals to boost your sense of self. Most parents are fatigued when raising their child. Spend time to re-energise yourself as this will not only remove any stress but will also make you a better parent.
Listen to your gut while parenting, as it is usually right. Other good parenting tips that you must keep in mind while raising your child are:
12. Unconditional love
One of the most important things your child will learn is that you love him/her unconditionally. However, it can be assumed that this is understood by your child inherently. Your child must be shown that your love is not based on parameters. When you confront your child about any issue, do not find faults, criticize, or blame your child which could cause him/her to feel under-confident. Knowing there is someone in their corner no matter what, will empower your child.
13. Be affectionate to your spouse in front of your child
Your child will look up to you and your spouse to know what a marriage looks like. Showing affection that is genuine towards each other will teach your child that this is how adult relationships look like.
14. Be consistent
There is nothing more damaging to a child than an unstable environment. If your rules and behaviour change on a daily basis, your child will get confused and their misbehaviour may continue. You must figure out your list of non-negotiable rules or conditions that are based on wisdom and not power. Take the time to explain these rules to your child. The chances of adhering to a set of rules that are consistent are significantly higher than ones that keep changing to suit your needs.
15. Earn respect, do not demand it
Most parents assume that as parents they are worthy of respect from their child. However, your child will not think the same and will question your authority if you demand respect. Treat your child with the same respect and you’ll find him/her reciprocating the same.
Giving birth to a healthy child and thereafter making sure that they stay healthy is only half the battle won. Talk to other parents and have a healthy discussion on what works as a general practice and what doesn’t. You must also remember to not be too hard on yourself. Being a parent is not easy and you are bound to make mistakes. Own up to them and have a healthy conversation with your child.
There are many books on how to be a good parent and plenty of people ready to give you parenting advice. Do not be overwhelmed by all the input and figure out a strategy with your co-parent. Good parenting skills match that of your child’s needs as opposed to what other people are saying around you.