Raising children is one of the most fulfilling jobs in the world. However, it is also one of the most difficult. Here are 5 tips that will make you a more effective parent.
1. Be a Good Role Model
You are your child’s number one standard. Your child learns a great deal about how to act simply by watching you. This is even more true when they are younger.
Therefore, it is important that you model the traits that you wish to cultivate in your child. Respect, friendship, honesty, kindness, and trust are all great lessons that can be taught right at home simply by your actions.
2. Give Them Your Undivided Time
Time is the most important gift that you can give your children. This can often be hard in a world of demands and deadlines, but it can make all the difference in your child’s life. Children who do not receive the attention that they need will often react in misbehavior because they know that this is the quickest way to get attention. Go to any school and you will see that this is true. The ones who misbehave always get much more attention than those that are well-behaved.
Therefore, it is important that you take time out each day to spend some quality time with your children. This can be as simple as having a family dinner or organizing one day out of the week to have a family game night.
Sometimes the little things can make the biggest difference. Putting a little note in their lunchbox, playing cards, reading to them, tucking them in at night. All of these things show your child that you care.
3. Be Flexible with Your Parenting Style
All kids are different and therefore no single parenting style will work for all children. It’s not a step-by-step formula although we might sometimes wish it was.
Children also develop at different speeds and stages. Although other children may be potty-trained, your child may still not be ready, and that’s usually o.k. Sometimes our expectations are simply too high.
As a parent, you must constantly adjust your parenting styles because what works this year probably will not work next year.
However, it is important that you always make yourself available to your children. As they grow older they will start looking more to their peers and others for role-models. However, if they choose the wrong ones, you should tell them why you think so. If you make time for your children at a young age, they will probably make time for you when they are older.
It’s a two-way relationship.
4. Show Your Children that Your Love is Unconditional
Your children should know that your love is unconditional, that even when they mess up horribly that you still love and care for them. Make sure he or she knows that you expect better of them but that your love is there no matter what. When I was young, my dad would tell me that he loved me unconditionally and it was one of the many reasons that we are so close. Your actions can show your kids that you love them, but they need to hear it too.
5. Reward Your Child for Being Good
Positive reinforcement often works better than negative guidance. Often times, we criticize far more than we compliment without even recognizing it.
Whenever possible, catch your child when they are doing something right, and comment on it. It doesn’t matter whether they made their bed without asking, cleaned off the kitchen table, or were patient with a sibling. Your encouraging words will spur even further good behavior. Be generous with your rewards – your love, hugs, and compliments can work miracles in your child’s life. You may soon find that they are learning kindness, trust, and love directly from you. There are many influences in the world that can effect your child, make sure that you teach them what’s most important.