Don't you wish there was a course that you would have taken in high school and college that would have taught you the fundamentals of healthy parenting? It seems that if we are expected to go through drivers education before we drive a car, we should be expected to uncover "the basics" of parenting.
There is not a one size fits all when it comes to childrearing, but in working with parents for over 4 decades, I know that when you achieve success with one child the next child requires a new host of parenting skills! However, there are certain guidelines that one can follow to increase parenting success.
I am going to share 4 Parenting Principles and I want you to assess whether you utilize them in your daily routine with your children.
Your children need rules and structure. As much as they balk and refute the need for rules and structure, it is imperative to teach them early in their development what is expected when it comes to family functioning. No matter what the ages of your children I would ask you to keep it simple when it comes to their routine. You will have much more success if they have 1-2 responsibilities and if you can keep schedules simple with lots of down time. Your child will have more breathing space to assess what he or she needs to do to be part of the routine.
Kids need an authority figure. Although our society is becoming more and more democratic, your child needs an authority figure with whom they can feel safe and secure. Developmentally, children are expected to be much too self sufficient and I believe it is causing behavioral problems because they are not ready to take on the many objectives that a busy family or an understaffed school requires. It is important to provide the direction a child needs. It is important to validate and listen to your child so that they feel affirmed and understood. When you have that relationship, you can be the democratic authority figure and they are more likely to buy into your wisdom.
You have to remain undistracted and give your child your undivided attention. Now I understand that there are not enough hours in the day to stop multitasking but truly it is imperative to sit with each child for at least 20 minutes and check in with them about their life. I realize this means that you may need to cut something out of your day, but I promise you that this is a lifeline that your child really needs. Get creative ....ask the neighbor if you can carpool to free up the time, ask your sister if she would play "Taxi Aunt" on Thursdays to put more time into your day. Get out your planner and look for ways to make this happen.
Notice their strengths and comment on them frequently. You are the #1 influence in your child's life, and you want the majority of your conversation to instill what he or she is capable of achieving in this world and that requires that your child know what makes them special. Each night as they go to their room or when you tuck them in, remind them what you love about them and give them a hug or a kiss. They need your love, affirmations and attention.
You are powerful beyond measure in the eyes of a child. Don’t underestimate your influence on your child!