Parenting is no easy job. Most of us just get thrown into it without knowing what’s in it for us. Sometimes it can get so frustrating and drive us to the edge that we want to give it all up. But the reality is that parenting can never really take a break. It’s a lifelong responsibility and the sooner we come to terms with it, the better we’ll be able to play our roles.
Frankly, there is no such thing as a perfect parent. Yet, we’re all striving to attain that status as we get constantly bombarded with issues such as temper tantrums, sibling rivalry, teenage stress, net bullying and what not. While trying to sort them out, chances are it could bring out the worst in us. This is when we tend to hit a low and feel that life is conspiring against us – to be the good parent we’ve always wanted to be.
But hey, remember, you’re trying to fix things – to give your family a good life. And also remember, good parenting doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a skill that gets honed over the years. Some get it naturally, while some have to work on it. As pick up new parenting skills along the way, here are a few tips that could help you in becoming a better parent.
Play role model: You’re probably not aware that your kids are watching you all the time! And it’s true kids are more influenced by what we do than what we say. You could take inspiration from this quote “Children are great imitators. So give them something great to imitate.”
Role modeling is a powerful way to influence good behavior. So if you want to make a positive impression on your child, it is important that you watch your actions. It is also important that you practice what you preach. Stay consistent in your coaching and don’t set unrealistic limits or have expectations that your child will find difficult to cope with. It may seem that you’re not having any influence at all on your child, but remember that perception is no reality.
Prioritize behavior issues – When handling behavior issues, it is natural that you’re trying to fix them all at once. Understandably, as a concerned parent, they all are important to you – school grades, tantrum issues, growing up pains, stress during exams, backtalk. But putting your finger into every pie won’t get you results any faster. When you’re confronted to deal with several behavior issues, the best way to go about is to focus on one problem at a time. Prioritization could help a great deal. Pick an issue that needs the most attention and start working on it. This works effectively as it will give your child enough time to practice better behavior.
Take care of self interests: In our busy and hectic lives, self care, most often takes a back seat. If you allow stress and exhaustion to get the better of you it’s bound to affect your actions and behaviour. That’s why it is important you practice self-care. It re-energises you to tackle your child’s behavior and also empowers you to apply new parenting tools.
Having a self-care plan in place can come in extremely handy when you’re under stress. You can do any activity that you enjoy … reading, writing, going for long walks, or even chatting up with a close friend and discussing the issues you are facing. Sharing problems can release all your pent up emotions and make you feel a lot lighter.
Don’t have unrealistic expectations from kids: As parents, we all want our kids to be well-rounded individuals. However in the process to achieve this, we fall into a trap to raise perfect kids with way too high expectations. No doubt, we have the best intentions for our children and love them from the bottom of our hearts. Why then do we fail to realize that each child is made differently? That each child’s talents are unique? We’re all so caught up with comparing our kids with their peers and raising the bar for our kids that we fail to notice the positives in them. We overlook that’s she’s one of the best mannered children in class, but make an issue about her lagging behind in grasping the concepts of addition and subtraction.
Remember, like you, your child too is trying to do the best she can. She too is struggling to cope with pressures from home and school. Allow her to make mistakes and learn from them. Allow her space to grow and blossom.
Stay calm and cool: This is easier said than done. When kids misbehave it’s natural for parents to lose our cool. And most of us believe that the only way to we can calm our stress is by getting our kids to behave the way we want them to. But the truth is, we often scream and yell and later regret.
The best way to avoid this situation is to tell yourself that letting off steam is not a done thing. Remember, when you stay calm, your kids will also cool down. Calm is contagious – and so is anxiety. So make that commitment to stay in control. Notice what sets you off – is it their indifference, backtalk, temper tantrums? It may not always be easy, but still, taking that all important first step can mean a whole lot of difference.
Be less rigid … relax rules: Some parents adopt a very strict parenting style which may not be effective. While it is important to lay the ground rules and draw the line it is perfectly ok to break them once in a way. For instance if your child is staying out late and violated the curfew timings, try and understand why he has done this. He probably didn’t intend to disobey you but just wanted to have fun with his friends. Is that asking for too much? When you’re confronted with situations like these, putting yourself in the child’s shoes, could help take decisions in a more level-headed manner.
Stay in control: When you’re trying to fix a problem, it is extremely important that you stay on top of things. The best way to stay in charge is to make your point without losing your cool. If you are upset with something that he did or said, tell him so and leave the room. Be sure to be as calm as you can, and make sure you mean business when you say it. Remember once you get out of control, the child’s anger gets even more escalated and you may not get the result you intended to.
As you brace yourself up for another year, do remember that there are other parents like you struggling tackle with behavioural problems. So promise to stay calm and move ahead. Only then can your parenting journey can be a rewarding one!