Parenting should be the most natural thing in the world, so why is it so difficult? That can probably be put down to the fact that we are all different and that we expect our children to be one thing when they might be trying to be something quite different. There is no doubt that expectation can inhibit parenting and push parent and child in opposite directions.
To help with parenting, we thought that it might be useful to come up with a few tips that allow a parent to, in a sense, know what the child is thinking to end up on the same wavelength so that everyone knows what to expect.
Be a Good Role Model
The best thing that you can do as a parent is to be the perfect role model for your children. This does not mean doing everything right all the time, but when you aren’t, showing your children just how you put that right and learn from your mistakes. Let them know that we cannot be right all the time and that there is nothing that cannot be put right unless it is illegal. This is is because then it is taken out of the hands of parents and dealt with in an entirely stricter and less forgiving way. Support can then be all that is left for a parent to do to pick up the pieces.
Avoid Criticism and Boost Self-Esteem
A child has an inborn desire to want to please their parents, but too much criticism can take its toll. It can mean that children in effect essentially give up on trying to please their parents, thinking that it is not even possible. So, do not fix your expectations of your child too high and avoid being too critical. Instruction is necessary but not to the extent that a child is left with nothing to use common sense about.
Praise always wins over criticism that is aimed to force results. A child will desire more and more praise and so go above and beyond to achieve greater and greater things to please their parents. Then, when they get older, will start to do things to please themselves academically. So, always emphasise praise and downplay criticism by being subtle about guiding a child with what is expected, rather than outwardly verbalising the wrong.
Make Time for Your Children
Busy parents will more often than not end up with the naughtiest children. This is because they are too busy to notice what is happening. Also, children feel neglected and will often do things that they would not normally do simply to gain attention. They might get into trouble at school, for example. This can then affect their prospects. So, always know what your children are doing at all times by keeping in contact with them. Be sure to exchange more than a few words each day to know how they are feeling.
It is beneficial to make clear to children that you are there for them if they need to talk something through. That you will not be mad at them whatever it is they have to tell you. It is better to know the truth and what is happening so that you can deal with it together.
Making time for children also aids their learning. So, whether or not you chose to be a parent, rearrange things to make that time. The years go by so quickly and most of a child’s learning happens in the earlier years. It only gets harder to learn and retain information as we get older. There is no substitute for a good educational grounding in the first place.
Be flexible about rules. If you make them too strict then they are only going to prove harder for a child to follow. Rules that are too strict are more likely to result in rebellion and turn a child into a young anarchist rather than the perfect son or daughter.
It can be a good idea to relax rules at the weekend and make them different from those enforced for a school night. Then the emphasis becomes the schoolwork rather than strict Victorian parenting passed down through generations.
How a teenager dresses can be a contentious issue for many parents. Particularly the length of clothing for girls. Skirts or dresses can be considered too short and heels on shoes too long. It all seems like a contradiction to the teenage mind trying to make sense of it all. They simply do not understand the dangers of looking too adult too soon and attracting the wrong kind of attention. On the other hand, there is an element to it that has been passed down through generations of parental preaching, and working out a compromise in terms of length should help restore harmony within a household. A parent does have to bear in mind peer pressure so as not to have their child seem the odd one out at the school disco. It is a fine balance and one that is not so easy to achieve in heels. So, put a pair of plimsols in the back of the car when collecting your daughter from the disco. If you provide the transport then you can be with your children every step of the way into adulthood.
How late a loved one should return from a night out is always a debatable point. It is a matter of safety and the amount of sleep they will be getting. As long as they are with someone trustworthy and late nights do not become too much of a regular thing, perhaps some flexibility on timings once in a while would help maintain or restore the parental relationship.
The only non-flexible rules should be those affected by legalities. Anything else should be capable of being negotiated. Particularly as many of them will seem like petty rules and will risk the Mother-Son or Father-Daugther relationship. This is how it tends to be.
Two parents might find it hard to be consistent with their rules but must work at it. Whereas, one-parent families will invariably find it harder to make rules seem like just one person is not making them because it is just what they want. There is no doubt that a rule requested by two people, with the other reinforcing it, is more likely to seem like a necessary rule.
In summary, an effective parent should be seen to be the good role model their child expects, praise more than they criticise, and always be there for a child to talk to when they need to. Flexibility on rules will help parents and children to get along when a compromise can be reached. Parenting is a two-way process and is more successful when communication is maintained between child and parent.