Parenting is not easy.
Good parenting is hard work.
How To Be A Good Parent? and What makes a good parent?
A good parent strives to make decisions in the best interest of the child.
A good parent doesn’t have to be perfect. No one is perfect.
No parent is perfect.
No child is perfect either … keeping this in mind is important when we set our expectations.
But it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t work towards that goal.
Set high standards for ourselves first and then our children second. We serve as a role model for them.
Here are 7 tips on learning effective parenting skills.
Many of them are not quick nor easy. And probably no one can do all of them all of the time.
But if you can keep working on them, even though you may only do part of these some of the time, you will still be moving in the right direction.
1 Be A Good Role Model
Walk the walk. Don’t just tell your child what you want them to do. Show them.
Human is a special species in part because we can learn by imitation1. We are programmed to copy other’s actions to understand them and to incorporate them into our own. Children, in particular, watch everything their parents do very carefully.
So, be the person you want your child to be respect your child, show them positive behavior and attitude, have empathy towards your child’s emotion — and your child will follow suit.
2: Love Them And Show Them Through Action
Show your love.
There is no such thing as loving your child too much. Loving them cannot spoil them2.
Only what you choose to do (or give) in the name of love can — things like material-indulgence, leniency, low expectation, and over-protection. When these things are given in place of real love, that’s when you’ll have a spoiled child.
Loving your child can be as simple as giving them hugs, spending time with them and listening to their issues seriously.
Showing these acts of love can trigger the release of feel-good hormones such as oxytocin, opioids, and prolactin. These neurochemicals can bring us a deep sense of calm, emotional warmth and contentment, from these the child will develop resilience and not to mention a closer relationship with you.
3: Practice Kind And Firm Positive Parenting
Babies are born with around 100 billion brain cells (neurons) with relatively little connections. These connections create our thoughts, drive our actions, shape our personalities and basically determine who we are. They are created, strengthened and “sculpted” through experiences across our lives.
Give your child positive experiences. They will have the ability to experience positive experiences themselves and offer them to others4.
Give your child negative experiences. They won’t have the kind of development necessary for them to thrive.
Sing that silly song. Have a tickle marathon. Go to the park. Laugh with your child. Ride through an emotional tantrum. Solve a problem together with a positive attitude.
Not only do these positive experiences create good connections in your child’s brain, but they also form the memories of you that your child carries for life.
When it comes to discipline, it seems hard to remain positive. But it is possible to practice positive discipline and avoid punitive measures.
Being a good parent means you need to teach your child the moral in what is right and what is wrong. Setting limits and being consistent are the keys to good discipline. Be kind and firm when enforcing those rules. Focus on the reason behind the child’s behavior. And make it an opportunity to learn for the future, rather than to punish for the past.
4: Be A Safe Haven For Your Child
Let your child know that you’ll always be there for them by being responsive to the child’s signals and sensitive to their needs. Support and accept your child as an individual. Be a warm, safe haven for your child to explore from.
Children raised by parents who are consistently responsive tend to have better emotional development, social development, and mental health outcomes.
5: Talk With Your Child And Help Their Brains Integrate
Most of us already know the importance of communication. Talk to your child and also listen to them carefully.
By keeping an open line of communication, you’ll have a better relationship with your child and your child will come to you when there’s a problem.
But there’s another reason for communication — you help your child integrate different parts of his/her brain.
Integration is similar to our body in which different organs need to coordinate and work together to maintain a healthy body.
When different parts of the brain are integrated, they can function harmoniously as a whole, which means fewer tantrums, more cooperative behavior, and more empathy.
To do that, talk through troubling experiences. Ask your child to describe what happened and how he/she felt.
You don’t have to provide solutions. You don’t need to have all the answers to be a good parent. Just listening to them talk and asking clarifying questions will help them make sense of their experiences and integrate memories.
6: Reflect On Your Own Childhood
Many of us want to parent differently from our parents. Even those who had a happy childhood may want to change some aspects of how they were brought up.
But very often, when we open our mouths, we speak just like our parents did.
Reflecting on our own childhood is a step towards understanding why we parent the way we do.
Make note of things you’d like to change and think of how you’d do it differently in a real scenario. Try to be mindful and change your behavior the next time those issues come up.
Don’t give up if you don’t succeed at first. It takes practice. Lots of practice.
7: Pay Attention To Your Own Well-Being
Pay attention to your own well-being.
Often times, things such as your own health or the health of your marriage are kept on the back burner when a child is born. If you don’t pay attention to them, they will become bigger problems down the road5.
Take good care of yourself physically and mentally. Take time to strengthen your relationship with your spouse. If these two areas fail, your child will suffer, too.