DEVELOPING EFFECTIVE PARENTING HABITS
As a parent we want the best for our children. We wish them to be kind, confident, cooperative, and assertive. In our daily interactions with our kids, we try to guide them the best way we can. But, sometimes, our best ways are detrimental instead of being beneficial.
Here are a few examples and strategies to guide them effectively:
1. Letting her take chances and make mistakes instead of stepping in. By always stopping your child from making a mistake, you teach her to rely on you exclusively. It prevents her from fully experiencing a situation and learning from it. If your child is never challenged on her own, she will not learn how to problem solve, and will therefore lack self confidence later on when making decisions.
2. Praising her instead of overcomplimenting her. Your child needs positive reinforcement but overdoing it can be detrimental. When you tell your child how great she does for every little thing, then your word will become something she needs. Instead, she should learn how great it feels to feel proud. So, after she overcame some challenge you can ask her how it feels inside and then you can tell her she can be proud of herself.
3. Letting her have her own way instead of expecting perfection. Requesting perfection teaches your child that what she does and eventually who she is, is never good enough. This will lead your child to develop insecurity and low self-esteem. For instance, let your child make her bed. If the she does not tuck the sheets as you would, it does not matter. What matters is she made it and she will learn eventually to make it look better over time.
4. Showing her, not telling her. The best thing you can do is lead by example. For instance, if you volunteer somewhere, there is a big chance your child will ask you to volunteer as well. When you stand up for a cause, another person, or yourself, you show her how to do it. Soon enough, she will “copy” you and start advocating.
5. Talking about uncomfortable issues instead of sweeping them under the rug. Starting a conversation about difficult topics such as bullying, cheating at school, sexual abuse, thoughts of suicide, or drugs is never easy. You can start with an inviting question such as “It looks like something is bothering you. Do you want to talk about it?” Listen carefully and refrain yourself from overreacting or judging. Instead, provide your child with love, empathy, and support. Then, while respecting her point of view, share with her your own way of thinking and viewing the situation. Try to find a solution that works for everyone and implement it.
In order to become responsible and independent adults, children need to have opportunities to practice and learn what is best for them.
As a parent and a therapist, I want to offer some tips on how to raise happy and healthy kids. Please feel free to comment on my posts.