What makes a great parent isn’t only defined by the parent’s action, but also their intention. A good parent doesn’t have to be perfect. No one is perfect. This means that no child is perfect either and as parents, we have to set our expectations accordingly. Successful parenting is not about achieving perfection. 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 role models for them. Here are 10 parenting tips that will make you a better parent.
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 imitation. 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.
Show Your Love Through Action
There is no such thing as loving your child too much. Loving them cannot spoil them. Only what you choose to do (or give) in the name of love can — things like a 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 every day. Showing these acts of love can trigger the release of feel-good hormones such as oxytocin. These neurochemicals can bring us a deep sense of calm, emotional warmth, and contentment, from the child, which will develop resilience and not to mention a closer relationship with you.
Practice Kind And Positive Parenting
Babies are born with around 100 billion brain cells (neurons) with relatively few 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 others. 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.
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, haven for your child to explore.
Children raised by consistently responsive parents tend to have better emotional regulation development, social skills development, and mental health outcomes.
Talk To Your Child
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, more empathy, and better mental well-being.
Reflect On Your Own Childhood
Many of us want to parent differently from our parents. Even those who had a good upbringing and 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 to consciously change one’s child upbringing methods.
Take Care Of Your Own Well-Being
Parents need relief too. Pay attention to your own well-being. Often, 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 road. Take time to strengthen your relationship with your spouse. Don’t be afraid to ask for parenting help. Having some “me time” for self-care is important to rejuvenate the mind. How parents may take care of themselves physically and mentally will make a big difference in their parenting and family life. If these two areas fail, your child will suffer, too.
Do Not Spank Your Child
No doubt, to some parents, spanking can bring about short-term compliance which sometimes is a much-needed relief for the parents. However, this method doesn’t teach the child right from wrong. It only teaches the child to fear external consequences.
The child is then motivated to avoid getting caught instead. Spanking your child is modeling to your child that he/she can resolve issues by violence9. Children who are spanked, smacked, or hit is more prone to fighting with other children. They are more likely to become bullies and to use verbal/physical aggression to solve disputes. Later in life, they are also more likely to result in delinquency and antisocial behavior, worse parent-child relationships, mental health issues, and domestic violence victims or abusers.
Always Keep Your Parenting Goal In Perspective
What is your goal of raising a child? If you’re like most parents, you want your child to do well in school, be productive, be responsible and independent, be respectful, enjoy meaningful relationships with you and others, be caring and compassionate, and have a happy, healthy and fulfilling life. But how much time do you spend working towards those goals? If you’re like most parents, you probably spend most of the time just trying to get through the day. To not let the survival mode dominate your life, step back the next time you feel angry or frustrated.
Think about what anger and frustration will do for you or your child. Instead, find ways to turn every negative experience into a learning opportunity for him/her. Even epic tantrums can be turned into invaluable brain-sculpting moments.
Use The Latest Neurological And Psychological Research
Parenting is one of the most researched fields in psychology. Many parenting techniques, practices, or traditions have been scientifically researched, verified, refined, or refuted. Using scientific knowledge is of course not a one-size-fits-all strategy.
Every child is different. Even within the best parenting style, you can choose many different effective parenting practices according to your child’s temperament. For example, besides spanking, there are many better alternatives, e.g. redirection, reasoning, removing privileges, time-in, etc. You can choose the non-punitive discipline method that works best for your child.