Let’s face it; parenting is the toughest job on earth. And, no – it doesn’t come with a user manual. With no instructional guide, there is a huge chance of you failing at it, and an equally big chance of winning at the parenting thing. So, with no guideline, or too much pressure from the society, how do you become a better parent than them?
Now, if you are reading this, and every parenting lesson you took or the advice from your church minister isn’t fruitful, you can say that you are in the ‘them’ category. So, how do you get out of the dark side of parenting? While it has its perks (think free hugs, kisses, and adorable smiles), how do you win at the job of bringing into the world a human being and turning them into successful adults? Is Milton tutoring the best way to go? What should you do when things become dark and grim?
- Keep in mind that your job is to raise good adults
Think of parenting as the art of bringing up good adults. Because let’s face it – we are only proud of our parenting milestones when we bring up good adults. Isn’t it? Since you’ve passed the biggest challenge – don’t kill them, this step shouldn’t be too tough.
With that in mind, what kind of adult would you want to bring up? To make that decision, understand your child’s character and encourage or nurture the trails that will make a well-rounded, confident, honest, respectable, and empathetic.
You also need to know what to prioritize. For instance, should you encourage neatness over creativity, or kindness over obedience, or, can you help your child find a balance between these traits?
- Stop trying to be the perfect parent
If you are a perfectionist, then you will have the hardest time implementing this. Even though the society wants you to be perfect, try not be too hard on yourself. You had flaws growing up, and your child will have flaws too. Mold them.
Teach your children to be honest and accountable. Encourage them to open up. Also, respect your child’s music taste. As they find themselves, they will go through the phases, and they will choose their preferable music and fashion styles which may or may not stick through to adulthood.
- Listen to NPR with your children
They may not listen. Heck! More than half the time, they won’t be aware of what is going on but, make it part of their environment. This is one way of opening up your children’s world to what is out there. They need to know that what is in their external environment affects them.
- Do you hug your kids often?
Boys or girls, hug them. You should hug them even as stinky teenagers. Hugging is an important part of growing up. Even if you aren’t a hugger, hug your babies every moment you get. Touch is essential to kids as it brings about comfort and safety. But, don’t force the hugs or project your issues to them.
- Don’t spoil your children
While parenting presents a battle of wills, you should never give in to the demands of your child. Even if they ask you for something persistent or cry for hours on end.
- Take a chill pill
It is easy to get worked up when your child breaks all the expensive china but, it is part of growing up and, things break. If you want to avoid disappointments, put them away. But, as you open the exploration field, encourage your kids to pick up after themselves. You cannot lose your mind over every broken glass, shred curtain, messy bed, lost shoes and dirty plates. Relax and talk to your kids about their responsibilities (once you calm down).
- Validate your kids’ emotions
Kids and adults are allowed to feel. Emotions aren’t wrong. By validating your child’s emotions, you are teaching them to perceive situations. Guide their action though so that they are responsible for what they do in different situations.
- Value kindness
Above all else, value kindness and encourage your children to be kind to others. Note that kindness is a result of nurture.
Your parents never said sorry? Get over it. If you are wrong, say you are sorry. And, after saying sorry, explain why your action (s) was wrong, and what you’ll do to fix the mistake. How else will your child learn to say sorry for what they do when they are all grown?
- Don’t say bad or stupid. Don’t tell your child that they are broken.
Lastly, have dinner with your family as often as possible. Teach them patience and prevent the me-first mentality by making them wait, and learn to say no.