Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing if brand-new babies came with a complete parenting manual? Unfortunately, that’s not the way it works. There is no instruction book, but we can and will offer a few sensible parenting tips to guide you along the way.
Offer directions, not orders
Don’t clip your kid’s proverbial wings before they’ve learned to fly. Remember, your toddler is learning how to be independent. If she puts on an outlandish outfit for weekend play, let her.
If your school age kid becomes frustrated when learning a new skill, don’t take over. Help them with homework, but never do it for them. Acknowledge your child’s frustration, and give them a chance to figure out the situation. Offer instruction if needed and praise them when they’ve accomplished the task at hand. Offering gentle guidance and room to learn new skills helps kids attain realistic goals that boost their self-confidence while setting them up for a happy, responsible life, says Parents magazine.
Set boundaries and don’t hesitate to enforce them with kindness. Kids actually want to know what their limits are and will test parents repeatedly. When your kids know what they can and cannot do, home life feels more secure and predictable to everyone.
Be involved and offer lots and lots of love
The number one thing a parent can do is be involved in their child’s life. Talk in the morning about how you will spend your respective days. Ask what their school day will be like and explain a bit about your job duties. Meet again at the dinner table and talk about your day. You can discuss family finances with older teens. If you need an infusion of cash for a family vacation, try this.
You cannot “spoil” a child with too much love. It’s simply not possible, says WebMD. Lavish love and praise your kid when he or she deserves it. Close your mouth and listen when your kid has something to say. Consider their opinions and don’t forget that although you are their parent, they are their own person with needs and dreams and ideas of their own.
Do watch out for a tendency that some parents have, however. Don’t give your child stuff in lieu of love. Don’t let them get away with bad behavior, thinking they will love you more or that “it’s just a phase” they are going through.
Strategies that work for other parents
If your child gets fussy at the grocery store, be sure they are fed and well rested before you go shopping. Use a delivery service instead, if you can. When you set consequences for certain behaviors, follow through with them. Parents who parent with an even keel teach their kids to know what to expect. This eliminates confusion and mixed messages.
Parenting in the modern age is a challenge, to be sure. Do it with humor, kindness, and love, and you’re bound to raise kids who are healthy, happy, responsible and well-adjusted.