Many parents live with their children for years and then come to a place where they begin to consider how well they have raised their children or where they may have gone wrong along the way. For parents with grown up children they are proud of, this thought may never cross their mind, let alone be something they worry about. There are very few things as aching as seeing your children grow up to be wayward. Parents who really care about the welfare of their children may constantly be plagued with the thought that they may have gone wrong at some point or the other or probably not put in their best in raising the child.
Some couples also become nervous and concerned when they think of having babies because they are not sure that they have the knowledge, skills or effective parenting tips required to raise their children to become adults they can be proud of. However, this anxiety is just about a lack of knowledge and that is what we are about to do away with. Being a good parent is very much related to having the right knowledge necessary for raising children who grow up to be responsible and an asset to society. Here are some simple but effective parenting tips that will make anyone who takes them to heart and applies them to be parents their children will be proud of and will empower you to raise your children right.
Love, the very first principle
There is a natural love and affection that fills the heart of every parent for their children. If you are looking forward to having great children, one of the most important and effective parenting tips you have to employ is a conscious expression of love. But one thing too many parents do not realize is that that love and affection for children must be consciously nurtured and should be the bedrock upon which decisions are made when raising the child. Nurturing love and affection for your children should permeate and guide your actions and attitudes towards them. You see, it is easy to assume that because a child proceeded from your loins, he or she will always have a special place in your heart. However, a simple look at society will reveal otherwise. Parents don’t automatically detach from every other thing they could be connected to when they begin to raise their children.
There are parts of your life that are connected to your job, school or other things you may be engaged in. Knowing how to handle your commitment and the pressures of life is a vital part of being a good parent. These things could easily distract even the most loving parents from the attention and affection they are supposed to show to their children. So that natural love and affection that children should enjoy from their parents may not always be there if parents let other things come in the way of their relationship with their children.
This implies that loving your children is a conscious choice you must make on a daily basis. You will have to choose between spending quality time with your kids or hanging out with friends. Between taking care of their needs financially or spending money on other things. These are choices that have to be made on a daily basis, both in small things and in big things. No one raises a great child or becomes a good parent passively or by making assumptions. All parents have to love and make choices about their children guided by that intentional love or else parenting will seem like a mystery that can hardly be understood. Parental guidance must begin in the place of love and affection towards your children or else whatever you do to guide or discipline them could be seriously resisted.
Playing the leadership role
Playing the role of a leader is a vital part of being a good parent and effectively helping your children grow up to be responsible. It is not very common to see parents who actually consider themselves as leaders of their children. The role of parents is a leadership role and most basic or foundational principles that guide leaders in other respects of life will work just fine if applied to the family too. Parents cannot effectively raise their children if they forget their role as leaders of those children. Now this means that in order to effectively parent children you will be proud of, you have to consider going beyond just giving them instructions. They learn more by watching you rather than hearing or obeying what you say. Your actions should be the first signal or pointer to the kind of life or example you want them to follow. So don’t give instructions you do not obey and expect them to obey those instructions. Somehow, some parents forget that their children have a very special bond or connection to them. This makes them consider you as their first role model. Remember we don’t follow the words or instructions of role models as much as we respect and follow their lifestyle. From the time children are able to reason and talk, they are very inquisitive and open to receiving the lessons they get by watching the lifestyle of their parents. This is often done subconsciously though very effectively.
If you want to raise children who will be an asset to society and a wonderful parent to their own families, you must let them learn from what they see you do. This takes a great deal of sacrifice, but the benefits are worth every effort you put in. As far as leading your children is concerned, there is nothing as important as letting them learn from your actions. If you have some attitudes or addictions that do not set a good example for your children to follow, it is time to consider changing them. It is common to hear parents warning their children against certain bad practices when they do those things themselves. That is not in line with leadership principles. Trying to give your children instructions to follow that are opposite to what they see you doing is simply confusing and I can assure you that even in the midst of that confusion, they will choose to do what they see you doing rather than the instructions you give them. In order to practice effective parental guidance, you need to make up your mind to be a complete leader in actions and words and you will realize that parenting will be fun and a lot easier.
Relating with children
The way you relate with your children will determine to a large extent how well you can influence and guide them on the right path. Some parents know several other effective parenting tips but lack this one ingredient that should strengthen it all up. The way you relate with your children determines what they think about you and shapes their attitudes towards you as a parent. Lets look at some vital aspects of relating with children that you may not have considered before maybe you have not consciously been practicing.
From the perspective of a parent, the best way to build a healthy relationship with your children is to make them your friends. It is one of the most effective parenting tips to take note of as you raise your children. I know there is usually this fear that parents may begin to loose respect from their children if they establish a friendly relationship with them. Well, that shouldn’t be the case. Children will naturally honor their parents when they grow up under the right atmosphere or principles. There is a place for everything and limitations or boundaries to every relationship. Once those boundaries or limits are put in place you need not fear loosing respect from your children by being friendly with them. And that friendliness does not also mean you have to relate with them like you relate with your grown up friends. It implies having a certain level of intimacy with your children that allows them to openly and freely relate with you, no matter what the problem or issue may be.
Lack of friendship between parents and children is one reason why some children never open up to talk to their parents about some issues that may be going on in their lives. They are not sure what reaction to expect from you so they would rather keep their problems to themselves or talk with friends who may further lead them astray.
We all need confidants in life. Someone we can share our problems with without fearing any form of condemnation or castigation. But you see, confidants must be able to help us go through our times of pain and problems or else they could destroy us instead. That is why it is very important for every child to first consider their parents as their confidants. Now, children will naturally want to draw close and relate with their parents on the basis of friendship, but parents have to encourage that yearning within them to be friends or else the children are simply going to be frustrated with their desire to relate with their parents as friends. One can’t be wrong to say that being a good parent means being a great friend to your kids.
The connection between parents and their children is built on communication and this is a vital part of parental guidance. In order to raise children you are going to be proud of, you must take advantage of the power of communication. Children too have emotions and expectations that need to be communicated to their parents. And like every normal communication pattern there must be a concise means of communicating and receiving feedback. This should be an everyday reality for you and the kids. Have moments when you just talk with your kids and give them the opportunity to communicate their thoughts, expectations and feelings. Some children are extroverted and some are naturally introverted. Those who are extroverted may not need much of a push to express themselves. But if you have a child or more who do not really feel comfortable expressing themselves, you would have to put in some effort to make them open up. Knowing how to communicate with children as they go through different phases of their lives is one of the most important parenting tips for raising children one will be proud of.
The subject of discipline, especially when it comes to parents and their children is one which usually meets with much debate and and different ideas. However, it remains a vital part of parental guidance and is worth looking into. It is indeed a very sensitive subject and one must be able to create and maintain a balance as far as relating with children is concerned. In some societies around the world, discipline for children means making use of a cane whenever children do something wrong. In other places, the idea of using a cane or any other serious measure of punishment is seriously frowned at so much so that children are left without proper discipline. The fact remains that children who are disciplined almost always turn out to be more productive to society than those who are left without discipline.
Every parent may employ different measures or ways to discipline their children. One thing that must be kept in mind however is that discipline must never be taken to extremes. Avoid using corporal punishment on your children or physically abusing them in the name of discipline. If that does not earn you an arrest, it may completely destroy the relationship you may have with your children. What you should aim at when disciplining your children is showing them that you love them enough to correct them rather than giving them the impression that you are trying to inflict pain out of anger. Part of being a good parent is knowing when and how to discipline your children. Children are able to discern when their parents discipline them out of love and when they do so out of anger. They may not like the disciplinary measures you use but the fact that you do it out of love will have a powerful impact on their heart and will positively influence the way they relate with you. Don’t let your children go wild and unruly simply because you cannot bring yourself to discipline them. But you must also remember to apply wisdom when you discipline your children.
Also avoid mental or emotional punishment. Parents who punish their children mentally or emotionally are simply not wise enough as far as discipline is concerned. Using unkind words or actions that inflict emotional or mental distress will simply create a wound in the heart of your child which may take more time and efforts to heal. If you are going to discipline your children, that is alright and very fine. But you must refrain from mental torture or emotional abuse through the things you say or do as disciplinary measures.
One way to make discipline easy to take and effective in correcting children is to take up a habit of also commending or encouraging your children when they do things right. It is very aching, even for adults, when one’s efforts or achievements are not taken notice of or appreciated but he or she has to be punished when something goes wrong. It could communicate to the child that you are not actually concerned about his or her betterment but just inflicting pain. Celebrate and encourage children when they do something right or else refrain from always trying to punish them when they do something wrong.
Develop a loving relationship with your spouse
One of the strongest ways for couples to bring up children is to take special care and pay attention to their own relationship with each other. Couples sometimes make the mistake of putting their children before their spouse. So though they may have had a wonderful relationship with each other before the first child came, that relationship could be strained with the coming of a child because one of both parents becomes too attached to the kids and looses touch with the other partner. The children will then begin to suffer from the effect of this strain in the relationship between yourself and your spouse.
What parents ought to do to effectively raise their children is consciously work on their relationship and ensure that they remain united to build an even stronger bond of love between themselves. This will invariably produce the right atmosphere of love and affection that will help children thrive emotionally and mentally. When children grow up in homes where there is physical or emotional abuse, they find it hard to develop and maintain right emotions themselves. If care is not taken, they grow up with hurt and emotional wounds that could also be transferred to their own relationships and families.
Understand the Different stages in child development
As children develop from stage to stage, parents could sometimes be confused as to what kind of behavior they should expect from them. There are certain behavioral patterns that are normal for children to portray at certain ages. While some of these behaviors may not be “right” it is important to realize that they are simply part of the child’s development. Without this understanding, you may be tempted to overreact or become too anxious about their behavior. Parental guidance principles or measures change from one stage to another. Those who understand what stage their children are at different times of their lives will guide them more appropriately.
When you know what behavioral patterns to expect from children at certain stages of life, it will become easier for you to identify and solve behavioral patterns that are actually a problem at that stage of their development. What should be regarded as normal at a certain age may be a serious sign of trouble in another stage of your child’s development.
Carefully choose the right child care
Parents who work would definitely have to get child care services if they are not able to at least take turns caring for the child during working hours. But not all child care services or institutions are good enough for your child (at least for those who want their children to grow up strong both physically and emotionally). It is bad enough when parents cannot take care of their children full time because they have to work. Your absence during work hours, especially if your job is too demanding, could leave a space in the heart of your child that only you can fill. However, things could get even worse for that child emotionally and physically if you make the wrong choice of child care. Your child should be handed over to a caregiver who is not too occupied with many children and is very well trained for the job.
Remembering your Childhood days
Every parent was once a child and one way to understand effective parenting is to consider your own childhood days. Ask yourself what things positively or negatively contributed to your upbringing. Could you have turned out to be a better person if your parents acted or reacted differently towards you? Making this consideration is a great way to know what methods would be productive or unproductive for your children.
Another reason why you have to remember or consider your own days as a child is that it helps you understand what your children are facing at each stage of their lives. When parents consider what they went through in their adolescent years for example, they can better understand and sympathize with their children. The pressures and emotional issues you went through as a child are not different from what your children may be facing. If you want to relate with them as a parent without putting yourself in their shoes, your analysis and reactions to their problems and situations would sometimes be wrong. Parents who want to raise productive and healthy children in every respect should relate with their children on a friendly and understanding level rather than just as adults or parents.
There are so many wrong things your children are going to do from time to time as they grow up. Parents who understand the importance and power of encouraging their children even when they make mistakes or go wrong are going to play a more great role in bringing them up.
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