How to Be a Good Parent - Loving Your Child
Being a parent can be one of the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences of your life, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. No matter what age your child/children is/are, your work is never done. To be a good parent, you need to know how to make your children feel valued and loved, while teaching them the difference between right and wrong. At the end of the day, the most important thing is to create a nurturing environment where your children feel like they can thrive and develop into confident, independent, and caring adults.
Loving Your Child
- Give your child love and affection. Sometimes the best thing you can give your child is love and affection. A warm touch or a caring hug can let your child know how much you really care about him or her. Don’t ever overlook how important a physical connection is when it comes to your child. Here are some ways to show love and affection:
- A gentle cuddle, a little encouragement, appreciation, approval or even a smile can go a long way to boost the confidence and well-being of your children.
- Tell them you love them every day, no matter how angry at them you may be.
- Give lots of hugs and some kisses. Make your children comfortable with love and affection from birth.
- Love them unconditionally; don’t force them to be who you think they should be in order to earn your love. Let them know that you will always love them no matter what.
Praise your children. Praising your children is an important part of being a good parent. You want your kids to feel proud of their accomplishments and good about themselves. If you don’t give them the confidence they need to be out in the world on their own, then they won’t feel empowered to be independent or adventurous. When they do something good, let them know that you’ve noticed and that you’re very proud of them.
- Make a habit of praising your children at least three times as much as you give them negative feedback. Though it’s important to tell your children when they’re doing something wrong, it’s also important to help them build a positive sense of self.
- If they are too young to fully understand, praise them with applause and lots of love. Encouraging them for doing everything from using the potty to getting good grades can help them lead a happy and successful life.
- Avoid blanket phrases like “Good job!”. Instead provide descriptive praise which lets them know exactly what is being appreciated. For example “You did great taking turns with your sister while playing” or “Thank you for cleaning up the toys after playing with them!”
Avoid comparing your children to others, especially siblings. Each child is individual and unique. Celebrate their differences and instill in each child the desire to pursue their interests and dreams. Failure to do so may give your child an inferiority complex, an idea that they can never be good enough in your eyes. If you want to help them improve their behavior, talk about meeting their goals on their own terms, instead of telling them to act like their sister or neighbor. This will help them develop a sense of self instead of having an inferiority complex.
- Comparing one child to another can also make one child develop a rivalry with his or her sibling. You want to nurture a loving relationship between your children, not a competitive one.
- Avoid favoritism. Surveys have shown that most parents have favorites, but most children believe that they are the favorite. If your children are quarreling, don’t choose sides, but be fair and neutral.
- Overcome natural birth order tendencies by making each child responsible for themselves. Putting older kids in charge of the younger one stokes sibling rivalry, whereas making them take responsibility for themselves encourages individuality and self-reliance.
Listen to your children. It’s important that your communication with your children goes both ways. You shouldn’t just be there to enforce rules, but to listen to your children when they are having a problem. You have to be able to express interest in your children and involve yourself in their life. You should create an atmosphere in which your children can come to you with a problem, however large or small.
- You can even set aside a time to talk to your children every day. This can be before bedtime, at breakfast, or during a walk after school. Treat this time as sacred and avoid checking your phone or getting distracted.
- If your child says he has to tell you something, make sure you take this seriously. If the timing is right now, drop everything you’re doing to listen properly, or set up a time to talk when you can really listen.
- Don’t underestimate your children’s intelligence. They often have insights to share or a way of sensing when something is wrong (or right). Take the time to hear their perspectives.
Make time for your children. Be careful not to stifle or smother them, however. There’s a big difference between protecting someone and imprisoning them within your too unyielding demands. You want them to feel like your time together is sacred and special without making them feel like they are forced to spend time with you.
- Spend time with each child individually. Try to divide your time equally if you have more than one child.
- Listen and respect your child and respect what they want to do with their life. Remember though, you are the parent. Children need boundaries. A child who has been allowed to behave as they please and had their every whim indulged will struggle in adult life when they have to obey the rules of society. You are NOT a bad parent if you don’t allow your children to have everything they want. You can say no but you should provide a reason for saying no or offer an alternative. “Because I said so” is an invalid reason!
- Set aside a day to go to a park, theme parks, museum or library depending on their interests.
- Attend school functions. Do homework with them. Visit their teacher at open house/parents evening to get a sense of how they are doing in school.
Be there for the milestones. You may have a hectic work schedule, but you should do everything you can to be there for the important moments in your children’s lives, from their ballet recitals to their high school graduation. Remember that children grow fast and that they’ll be on their own before you know it. Your boss may or may not remember that you missed that meeting, but your child will most certainly remember that you didn’t attend the play they were in. Though you don’t actually have to drop everything for your children, you should at least always try to be there for the milestones.
- If you were too busy to be there for your child’s first day of school or another important milestone, you may regret it for the rest of your life. And you don’t want your child to remember his high school graduation as the time when his mom or dad couldn’t show up.
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