Parenting skills 101 refers to the basics of being parents, and you might think that most people know the basics. However, in the heat of the moment even the basic knowledge we have about good parenting can go out the window, so whether you are a new or experienced parent, going over the basics is always going to be a good idea!
With this in mind, here’s a Top Ten that you will do well to go over once again.
The Top 10 Parenting Skills 101
1. Provide Unconditional Love
Loving your children is easy when they are good and a bit harder when they are disobedient, stubborn or badly behaved. Yet if the kids know your affection is independent of their failings they will feel secure and strangely, their behavior will often improve.
2. Be a Leader
Children don’t need you to be a friend or a buddy, and they certainly don’t need to parent you! What they need from you, especially early in life, is for you to lead, direct and guide them, so step up to the mark and be a true, decisive yet loving leader for your children.
3. Provide Structure
You might be a free spirit, and you might want that for your children, but kids need and even crave structure. They need to know what is right and what is wrong, so set this out clearly for them and let them learn from their mistakes. Our society functions on rules, and they need to learn them to be a part of our society. In the same way that you need road rules to drive effectively, so you need life rules to live effectively. Within that structure their freedom will blossom.
4. Teach Them Consequences
Children need to know that whatever they do, good or bad, there are consequences. Many troubled teenagers fail to grasp that cause and effect are part of life and there are always consequences for our mistakes! Failure to grasp this leads to lawlessness, defiance and self-pity (how can this happen to me!), so wise parents make their kids learn about the consequences of their actions before they commit the act.
5. Teach Them Self-Discipline
Discipline is not an evil word, it’s an effective time of training that can help your kids learn. A successful life will always involve discipline. Just ask any elite sportsman or successful businessman! As children, they cannot be expected to discipline themselves so you must apply that discipline when they are young, so they can learn to discipline themselves as they grow older.
6. Teach Them to Take Responsibility
The blame game is common among people today and well-meaning counselors, courts and social workers inadvertently add to this. Yes our upbringing, the way we were parented and life experiences can affect us deeply, but there comes a point when we must take responsibility for our actions, and you can start to teach children this early in life.
Aretha Franklin sang it first, but it still applies. We should be teaching a child respect, both for themselves, their body and their mind, and especially for others. Authorities should be respected, elders should be respected and especially, you as a parent must be respected.
8. Use Kind Words
Many parents speak harshly with their children, and this should not be the case. You should encourage and build your child up, in their successes and especially their failures.
9. Bribes or Rewards
So many parents fail Parenting class 101 because they constantly try to bribe their children to improve behavior. Rewards for obedience, effort and respect need to be carefully considered, so that the real reward is a job well done not the physical bribe. Buying the latest in fashion or technology is not always appropriate, and giving the child a reward after they ‘eventually’ do what you want is counterproductive.
10. Care for Others
You don’t need to teach a child to put themselves first or be selfish, they figure that out themselves. You do need to teach them care for others. They need to be taught how to share, how to love the unlovely and how to have humility, self-control, patience, kindness and consideration for others.
Good parenting starts with love, unconditional love, the type of love that does not change with the obedience of the child.
Master this Top Ten and you will surely have mastered Parenting Skills 101!