7 Ways to Be a Better Parent
Parenting is one of the most important roles some of us will ever play, yet it comes with no instruction booklet. There are countless approaches, disciplines, and ideas with respect to child rearing. Each discipline strives to raise healthy, happy and productive children. However, which is the right way?
We can’t say which approach is the best way to parent, however, we can pinpoint some individual actions you can take to be a better parent. The following steps can help your children be independent, successful and happy.
- Maintain a United Front
Everyone involved in parenting decisions must be on the same page. This includes parents, grandparents, and caregivers. Anyone who will be an authority figure for your child needs to know the rules, boundaries and how to respond to conflict. Furthermore, children need to know the first answer is final. Don’t allow kids to ask mom once dad says no.
- Follow Up with Promises
Keep your word. If you promise reward or punishment for behaviors, make sure you deliver. Your children need to know there are consequences for actions, both positive and negative. Shielding them from punishment or flaking out of praise will show your kids that how they act is meaningless.
- Set Realistic Expectations
Children should have appropriate responsibilities for their ages. Keep in mind that overstressed kids will act out. Try not to overwhelm your children with school, home, and extracurricular activities. Young kids need structure and responsibilities but they also need to playtime, fun, and relaxation. Don’t be a drill sergeant.
- Be Consistent
In all things, consistency is key. Children do best with a routine that isn’t too rigid. Morning, afternoon and evening routines help keep life on track. Similarly, weekly or monthly activities give children a sense of security in your presence. Your kids should be able to depend on you to be active in their lives on a daily basis.
- Give Praise and Constructive Criticism
While many programs for children tout the ‘everyone’s a winner’ mentality, kids need to learn to accept and handle failure. Giving praise when it’s deserved and constructive criticism can help your kids prepare for later life. Being a better parent means not always being the fun person while encouraging your child’s efforts and supporting their struggles.
- Prioritize Family Time
We all have things which take time away from family; work being chief among them. However, it’s important to show your kids that they are a priority. Make it a point to attend special functions, engage in family trips and weekly activities, and focus on your children when they speak. We all have those times when the office is calling during dinner. However, ignoring those interruptions to family time proves what you value to your kids.
- Eat Dinner Together
Studies have shown that eating dinner together has significant positive influence on children. That doesn’t mean that you need to quit your job to be a better parent. It just means that one or more parents should be present and attentive at as many family dinners per week as possible. Try to schedule days where the entire family will eat together. Use these family dinners to communicate with and keep current with your children. Listen and share your day. It’s imperative that family meals aren’t exclusive to holidays.
Parenting is different for everyone. We all have different family structures, jobs, and schedules. However, we can all agree that we want our children to feel secure and loved while being responsible and successful in life. Following these 7 ways to be a better parent can help your kids on their way to happy and productive lives.
What parenting philosophy do you follow? How do you balance work and family life? We want to hear your opinions and experiences.