Parenting is the hardest job in the world and a role we need to grow into as we go long! Here are some old faithful parenting paradigms:
- Accept that every child is different
Every child is unique in their constitution, abilities and talents. Try not to compare siblings and try not to compare your children with other people’s children! We all have a unique path in life- each flower will blossom in its own time. Children will wilt if they are constantly discouraged, criticised or compared.
- Lead by example.
This is tough- but we are the most important role models for our children! We need to model hard work, problem solving, and generosity. If we shout, we give them permission to shout. If we spend a lot of time on our phones, we “normalise” this behaviour.
We will not always get it right as parents. Have the grace to admit to your mistakes and apologise to your children if you have lost it- we are human, and often tired and stretched beyond capacity.
- Try to give each child ‘special time” once a day.
This only needs to be 15 minutes of something the child has chosen to do. This will create a sense of importance and belonging in a child and reduce their need to look for attention in negative ways. If your child is playing up- then check in- are you giving them enough “quality” one-on one time?
- Ask for help
We all know the saying “it takes a village to raise a child.” Nowadays, we don’t often have a “naturally occurring” village around us, so we need to create one. Involve some genuine and non-judgemental friends. Seek help from doctors, clinic nurses, play therapists, sleep trainers etc if you need to. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness-it is a sign of strength and your quest to create the most nurturing environment for your child.
- As much as possible, practice positive parenting
Show unconditional love even when you are feeling most disappointed! Critically discussing a child’s behaviour is a far better strategy than criticising the child herself/himself. “I love you but that behaviour was not acceptable” sounds so much better than “You are a bad child.” Positive affirmation far more powerful than punishment in encouraging good behaviour.