Most parents recognize that they need good parenting skills to bring up their children, but unfortunately kids don’t come with an illustrated manual! Whether you are a single parent or have a partner, these skills are an essential part of being a good parent and are going to be needed, and even though your children may not appreciate them now, later on they will produce kids who are well adjusted, positive and successful in society.
While you need to be there for your child and love them unconditionally, it can be hard to balance the rules and the cuddles, the friendship and the discipline, but it can be done. Check through this list honestly and see which of these you have and which you need to work on.
My Top 10 Good Parenting Skills
1. Examine yourself. Because believe me, as a parent your children will examine you. While you may make mistakes, you need to make sure that you are living the life you want them to eventually lead, even if you have done many things you are now ashamed of. So examine your heart and who you want to be, not who you once were, and start making changes to become the type of person you want your kids to become.
2. Feed Them Well. If you feed children junk food and soda, you can actually affect how their brain develops. Make sure they get loads of exercise and sunshine, and feed them healthy food. Vitamins are also a good idea, and especially fish oil. And watch the potion size, because child obesity is a huge issue for today’s kids, and you don’t want them to face it!
3. Spend Time. Spending time with your child helps you to get to know them, their hopes and dreams, their fears and their concerns. Don’t try to take over their lives, but sit and talk, or if they are teenagers, text each other! Your children need a parent who is interested in them.
4. Know Where They Are. To the best of your ability try to make sure you know where they are, who they are with, who is in charge and what they are doing. Set times to come home and stick to them, especially for teenagers, and have an unpleasant consequence for abusing your trust in these areas.
5. Know Their Friends. Make sure you know their friends, and the parents of their friends. You can make sure the influences on them align with your philosophies, and you also can become part of their world. You might even like the company of their friend’s parents!
6. R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Aretha Franklin famously sung about it., and it still is important for today’s good parents. Make sure your child learns respect for you and your rules, and that they also learn to appreciate others. If they are angry, teach them method of coping without disrespecting others. And encourage them to be more tolerant of mistakes in others, even your parenting mistakes.
7. Limit the Screens. TV, DVDs, computers and mobile devices can take over a child’s life, and you have to limit this. Sure they are fun, but try to divide their day into half hour lots, with 5 minutes outside and away from screens every half hour. And limit the total time to no more than 2-3 hours a day outside of school work.
8. Be Consistent with Your Children. Whatever you promise a child as a consequence of their actions, always follow through with it. So good actions are rewarded and bad punished… every time without fail. Don’t modify consequences to avoid conflict or make your life easier, it will be one of the biggest mistakes you can make.
9. Never Yell! That’s right, never! In parenting, as soon as you scream, you lose. You lose your child’s respect, and you lose the game with your children. Yelling makes you become less effective in controlling their behaviour, so understand that you need to apply discipline in a non-emotional way, and do it every time.
10. Listen to Your Children. You can ask questions as a parent, but you also need to listen. They often don’t need a lecture from you, they need you to ask why they did something, then listen to their answer. Turn the TV off, close the lap top and give them your undivided attention. You will learn about them, and they will love the fact you prioritized them over whatever you were doing!
These essential skills for a parent don’t just happen, you need to establish what they are and work towards incorporating them into your life and parenting style. I know it’s hard work, and as a parent you will make some mistakes, but when you see your child blossom into a mature, balanced and successful man or woman, you will realize that any price was worth paying to see the result.