Like it or not, parenting doesn’t come with a handbook. And no matter how well it worked for your parents, the advice passed down from them doesn’t take into account the pressures of raising a child in 2019. And the balance between work and raising a family can sometimes raise questions.
Nothing can fully prepare you for being a parent. Despite what it looks like, parenting skills don’t come naturally for many of us. They’re acquired through trial and error. Tears and laughter. And as much challenge as there is joy.
But if the frustrations are great, the rewards can be even greater. And it’s a journey full of twists, turns and the unexpected. If you’re looking for parenting advice to help make that journey a little less bumpy, here are some things to keep in mind.
There’s No Such Thing As Experts, Just Students
We all have our individual quirks, strengths and weaknesses. And your parenting skills will be reflective of them. You need to put aside your own personality if you actually want to be an effective parent, because there’s simply no such thing as a “one size fits all” method of parenting. And while experts can certainly offer you great parenting advice, keep in mind that they’re frequently speaking about ideal situations—situations which may not even apply to you. Anyone who’s ever been a parent knows we’re all in this together. We’re all learning. And we’re all being transformed by the experience as a result.
Focus On Positivity, Not Your Pressures
It’s easy to get swept up in the challenges and aggravations of being a parent. And it’s even easier to spend every minute dwelling on them. But believe it or not, many of those aggravations will solve themselves naturally. Positive parenting doesn’t just mean recognizing your child’s natural talents and individuality. It means looking at your own personal strengths as well. If you’re constantly blaming your shortcomings, your children are going to mirror those same attitudes, even if you don’t realize it. Forgive yourself and realize that everyone can make mistakes. Parents aren’t perfect. But you’re better than you may realize.
Manage Your Child’s Behavior By Managing Your Own
Children mimic what they see in their environment. And if you find yourself constantly impatient and short-tempered, your children will act that way too. Behavior management is a two way street and road rage is not acceptable. Learning to control impulses is difficult enough for a child. But your kids rely on you as a role model. Practice compassion, patience and mindfulness in all aspects of your life, not just as a parent. You might be surprised at just how quickly your child’s behavior can change in the process!
Learn From Those Who Taught You Well
Your own Mom and Dad have probably been quick to offer you parenting advice even when you didn’t ask for any. Ever wonder why that is? It’s because they know there are certain mistakes which every parent inevitably has to make. They themselves have been through them. Just like their own parents have. And they want you to be prepared for those same mistakes. No, they may not always understand building both a career and a family at the same time. But they understand you better than you think.
Choose Your Battles
Let’s face it. The older your children get, the more defiant they get. And this isn’t always a bad thing. One of the defining characteristics of a healthy child’s development is their independence. But with this independence can come stubbornness, and frequently, power struggles. You may know what’s best for your child, but the only way they can learn from their mistakes is to experience them for themselves. This doesn’t mean throwing your hands in the air and caving to their every whim. It just means learning for yourself the difference between a major battle and a minor skirmish. Learn to lose gracefully and your children will learn from you.
Find Inspiration In Your Kids
A million and one things can make you feel defeated in the course of a day. And a million and one things can make you feel like you’ve failed as a parent. But your child isn’t a lump of clay to mold in your own image. They’re an endless source of inspiration. And that inspiration should motivate you in spite of all your frustrations and anxieties. Your child’s journey is full of wonder and marvel for them. Let it be so for you, as well.
Teach Gratitude By Showing Gratitude
When was the last time you told your child how much you appreciate them for setting the table? Probably fairly recently. What about the last time they did well in school? Again, likely pretty recently. But when was the last time you told your child you appreciated them simply for being themselves? Gratitude is infectious, but it’s a dying art these days. Teach your children to revive it by showing it when and where you can.
Don’t Take It So Seriously!
Or you’ll never survive. Being a parent should be as joyous as it is fulfilling. If you find yourself sweating over the smallest mishap in your child’s life, what are you going to do when the big spills happen? Because they will happen. Learn to laugh with your child. Grow with your child. Share in your child’s sense of mystery and amazement at the world around them.
In short? Learn how to be a child again.
Need more great parenting advice? At Handprints Academy, we’re always happy to help. Visit us today at Handprints Academy or call (214) 484-1018 for more information.