Ideally, we all want to raise a child whom we can be proud of, a child who is ready for the world and is equipped with the courage to face life's toughest challenges. While that may be ideal, let's face it: good parenting skills are never innate. Most effective parents are only shaped by the kind of children they are raising. With this in mind, how should we define responsible parenthood?
There is no simple formula on how to become a perfect parent. However, if you follow the simple advice laid out for you below, you will definitely get some things right.
What is parenting?
This is the long and difficult process of raising children. This involves providing a healthy, nurturing home to your kids and making sure they grow up to be responsible and educated adults. Providing comfortable clothes, healthy food, and sending your children to school are within this responsibility as well.
Most parents know that who and how a child grows up to be is something that society often attributes to the parents. However, other factors such as peer relationships and school education should be considered as well.
It is important to note that parenting is not limited to the biological relationship you have with your children. It also refers to the interweaving methods you adhere to when handling day-to-day dealings with them. These objectives in mind, one may wonder, "What is good parenting?"
Parenting is most complicated and inhibiting when your children are at the most dependent stages of their life. This is during infancy and toddlerhood. It is during these stages when they learn the basics of being confident and independent. For this reason, it is essential that parents follow a few tips to help them along the way of effective child-rearing. These tips include:
Understand that your child learns from your actions.
This is easily the best parenting advice out there. Children learn from what they see more than they learn from what they're told. It's been said countless times that parents are the primary influence of their children, along with their brothers and sisters. How you handle things around your child becomes a direct lesson that they take from you, so remember to do things positively. Children will emulate the respect, kindness, and compassion they witness an adult portray.
Praise your child for their small accomplishments
A boost in your child's self-esteem is not a bad thing. Just seen your child throw a crumpled piece of paper into the trash? A simple "Good job!" goes a long way in letting him know that what he did was responsible and mature. Having high self-esteem promotes the thought that he can be more independent throughout his early days.
Be a good listener
During his growing up years, your child will have questions about his body and environment. More than any other person in his life, you should be the one giving him the answers. Establish this trust by making your child feel connected and relatable to you at all times. Trust and communication between a child and a parent are essential throughout all the stages in your relationship.
Avoid negative and unpleasant dealings with your child
No person in history has perfected parenthood. Like all humans, parents are prone to employ negative traits such as sarcasm and passive aggression when dealing with family members, especially when in a bad mood. Such methods of communication between adults should never be used on children. Always try to be direct and kind when communicating with your kid.
The debate on whether spanking is a good practice has circulated the internet for a while now. Some say that spanking will not teach a child to behave appropriately and it could end in resentment, while some claim that spanking is still necessary to instill a sense of discipline.
While we have to respect every parent's opinion, it ultimately boils down to what you think is best for your child. Not all children react to spanking the same way, so if you think it is not healthy, then there are other alternatives. Such include taking away his toys/gadgets or cutting off the cable/internet.
"Motherhood has taught me the meaning of living in the moment and being at peace. Children don't think about yesterday, and they don't think about tomorrow. They just exist in the moment" - Jessalyn Gilsig
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How do you develop good parenting skills?
To be a good parent, you must start with a self-reassessment of how you are as a spouse, as a friend, and as a child of your own parents. These existing familial relationships will have a major impact on who you are as you raise a child. Being able to maintain these relationships smoothly is a good indication that you will be great as a parent.
Setting that aside, there are also pieces of advice you can follow in order to develop good parenting skills. These include:
Make time for your child(ren)
Most parents struggle to be good at parenting because of the jobs that require them to be away from home for most of the day. For this reason, you need to make it a point to make time for your children whenever possible. Eat breakfast and dinner as a family. Take them to their favorite parks on the weekend. Go to the grocery with them. Schedule movie and game nights.
Anything that encourages bonding and getting to know how your child is growing up is already a step forward to better parenting skills.
Read a parenting book or take a parenting class
This recommendation is (mostly) for folks who are new to parenting e.g those expecting their firstborn. Parenting classes provide useful insight on how to feel more connected with your newborn child as he is growing up as well as advice on how to be ready and well-equipped as your child reaches a different stage in his life (i.e infancy to toddlerhood). They also provide a space for a group of parents to share their thoughts and concerns with other parents facing the same issues.
Pay attention to your own welfare and the health of your marriage
A failing marriage leads to a bad household, which is always damaging to a growing child. Avoid having unnecessarily loud arguments. If it can't be avoided, argue quietly and in private. Never let your child witness anger or violence coming from either party.
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In line with the goal of defining what responsible parenthood means, researchers have categorized parenting styles into a group of four. Each one suits a different type of child. If you want to know where you fit in the categories, they are as follows:
These parents are considered to be disciplinarians. They implement strict rules around the household and do not explain to their children why the rules are so. This type of parenting is expected to result in a child having low social skills and poor academic performance.
Also referred to as permissive parenting. This type of parenting allows for a more lenient household with very few rules and disciplinary practices. This is expected to result in a child developing impulsive behavior and poor social skills.
Uninvolved parenting still means that the parents provide the basic needs of a child. This type, however, lacks any form of guidance or close bonds with the child. It is expected to result in a child having low self-esteem and self-control.
Authoritative parents are the ones who are warm and responsive to their children's basic and psychological needs such as guidance and counseling. This type of parenting pushes for a child's independence and discipline.
These parenting types were categorized according to a study in the 1960s conducted by a psychologist named Diana Baumrind on more than 100 pre-school age children.
How to be a good parent
The bottom line is, nobody knows your child better than you do. You are the prime witness to how they grow and to the social circle they choose to grow up with. Provide your child with a healthy, loving home and make sure they are exposed to the best influence your community has to offer.
Being a vigilant observer of how your child is growing and paying attention to his progress to maturity is one of the best things you can do in order to hack parenting
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