You are probably wondering about it every waking moment of your life and in your sleep too. It is a constant worry that engulfs you to the extent that there is nothing else on your mind. And you hope and hope that someone will just tell you the ‘secret’ of good parenting and you will be good to go.
But here is the plain truth. There are no secrets or magic spells for it. All that is there are some necessary foundations, but the rest, I am afraid you have got to figure it on your own. But here are some pointers on how to be good parents that will make the journey easier.
Connection before correction
Imagine a scenario where out of nowhere, someone comes and tells you that you are wrong. You will surely be upset, not to mention you will put that advice in the trash. That is the typical reaction human beings have. And seeing as your kids are human beings too, they will also not like it.
However, consider this alternate scenario. You go to them, talk to them first, and then in a calm and friendly manner, you tell them that you feel this is not right.
Won’t this be a welcome change for them if they encounter the quiet and comforting you instead of condescending and angry you? Hence, if you are really aiming at helping your child to listen and improve oneself work on the CONNECTION.
The connection will keep you connected. Just keep in mind that electric current flows only when the wires are connected.
Be their friends
Every child needs a trustworthy friend. And when that friend is at their home, it is an added bonus. Confide in them. Talk to them, ask their opinions.
They will also start trusting you with their thoughts. But when they do this, don’t judge them or criticize their views.
Be as supportive as you can be. And when you think that they may be doing something wrong, talk to them in a calm manner. What you say is not the issue, how you say it is the problem with children.
Stop being alarm clocks and managers
Are you always on your child’s case, making them do this, making them do that, thinking if I don’t remind them, then they will not do it? Well, bad news, you have become an alarm clock instead of a parent.
A lot of money and intelligence has gone into making clocks that will also remind you just so that you didn’t have to do it anymore (not that anybody likes those too). And what did you achieve with your constant reminding? Let me tell you, hatred, rage, anger, tantrums, and a lot more.
Let them be responsible for their time table. Now, you may think that this freedom will make them careless, but that is not true. They may do a lot more time pass than they would have but, when your children realize that it is just them, they will get back to work.
Now in this ‘experiment of freedom,’ it is imperative that you remain unmoved. Don’t lose control and go berserk on your kids. That is one of the major ‘do not’ in ‘ how to be good parents 101’.
Spend quality time with them
Now before you spend this quality time with them, make sure that you have got the hang of it. Quality time does not mean that you have got an all free pass for lecture time or telling them what they are doing wrong.
The definition of quality time is that you bond with your kids. Have fun together instead of you continually ranting at them. When your child wants to have family time again, then understand that you have gotten it right.
Otherwise…well you know now, what to do.
Most of our problems arise because we are not ready to accept. ‘They start hanging out with their friends’ problem, ‘ they start using social media’ problem, ‘they start having their own opinions’ huge problem, ‘ they chose a different path’ how could they!
Them wanting something different doesn’t necessarily mean that they are wrong. They can have a different point of view and still be correct (crazy, isn’t it!) all you have to do for a peaceful life is accept this.
More importantly, accepting the child the way she is. I know you may say I always accept my child. But then, most parents are always on “Improve yourself drive.”
Why are they trying to advise their child to be better versions of themselves? This is a huge problem as it not only creates friction but also lowers the confidence of the child. Every parent needs to seriously introspect if they are doing this with their kids.
If you do this be rest assured, life will be simpler and you will be one step closer to answer the question of how to be good parents yourself.
Be their mentor
Your primary role as a parent is to mentor them and guide them. You have seen the world and know more or less how it works. And that is the knowledge you need to give your child. They need your experiences as a reference and not a road map.
You are not supposed to provide them with solutions to all their problems. It is your duty to provide them with the knowledge they need to solve their problems themselves. The rest they will figure out on the way, just like you did.
Take care of yourself
Being a parent does not mean that your only priority is to look after your kids. Yes, they are a crucial part of your life, but they are not the only part. You exist too.
Take good care of yourself. Spend some time alone to relax and connect with yourself. Clear your head. Not only does this increase your mental and physical health, but it also gives you a new perspective and energy to handle the little tykes.
Take an effort to know them better
When they are toddlers, knowing them is not a problem as they are attached to you to the hip. But once they start going to school, the challenge arises. They start meeting new people, start seeing different things, and the situation worsens when they become teenagers.
Now parents say that their kids have changed and won’t talk to us, well you are not wrong. But that is not the problem. They are going to change because they weren’t going to stay kids all their life. And yes, as they see new and different things, they are going to have lesser and lesser things to talk about.
But the problem is you didn’t change. You did not adapt to the changing times, can’t remain the parent of a toddler all your life. You will also have to evolve into the latest version parent/friend.
Take an interest in their lives; try to get to know what they like and what they don’t like. Make an effort to understand the movies or series they see, the music they hear.
Once they know that you also want to take an interest in this part of their life, they will start seeing you as a friend. And that will complete your status update from parent to parent/friend.
Be their students
Children these days have a lot of exposure. And so, their knowledge about certain things is more advanced than ours. Technology is certainly one of these fields. Hence, it wouldn’t hurt if we learn from them.
It will be beneficial to both of you. You will learn a new skill and they will become more confident. Also, when they teach something, their communication skills also improve.
Moreover, the more they teach the more they will learn about it. And the more time they spend researching, the less time they will have for waste.
How to be a good parent is a question that bothers a lot of parents. But don’t worry about it, the fact that you wanted to learn about it is a great start.
No one said it was going to be easy. And just reading about it or applying it only on the day you read about it is not going to make it simpler. It is a marathon, not a sprint.