21 April 2017
“Children are not casual guests in our home. They have been loaned to their parent temporarily for the purpose of loving them and instilling a foundation of values on which their future lives will be built.” – Dr. James Dobson
No words can adequately describe the joy a parent feel when they welcome their own into this world. There is however a jolt of reality at the realization that you are responsible for another life, and have to give it your best shot. Thankfully, you do not have to do it alone, as we present you with a few tips on how to be an excellent parent.
More often than not, you may have vowed as a parent not to make some of the mistakes your parents may have made, but in working towards being the best parent you can be, you need to set clear standards for yourself. For example, a conscious decision to put your family before your career, or a decision to be there for every single event of your child’s, such as a soccer game or recital. Whatever your goals, you need to set them clearly with your partner, to ensure you are on the same page. It just does not end at setting the standard, but also making a conscious effort to make these standards a reality.
Teach your kids the value of relationships
A hug or warm pat on the back are just a few simple ways you can show your kids that this is not just a ‘strict parent-child’ relationship, but a warm friendship as well. Kids look up to their parents in setting the tone for their own personal relationships. Usually, how well children relate to others is shaped by how they see their parents relate with others. It starts with how well you as a spouse relate with your partner. It is only through a conscious effort that children will understand principles such as ‘Shouting doesn’t always solve the problem’ and ‘Apologizing even when you are not wrong makes you the better person.’
Correct in love
In a setting like ours, it is common for children to be afraid of their parents, especially when they do something wrong. You as a parent need to draw a clear line between correction and abuse. Words have a way of etching themselves permanently in children’s minds. For example instead of always responding to their mistakes with a beating, you could give them a good talking to, letting them understand why they are being punished for what they did. Don’t forget to let them know that you love them afterwards! Even if they do not understand you now, they eventually will.
An excellent parent actively listens
The era where kids were afraid to have a chat with their parents is gradually fading away. You need to have some constant ‘alone time’ with your kids, so you have an idea of what is running through their cute little minds. The more you make this a priority, the more approachable you become to your kids, which is a plus for you especially when they reach adolescence. Moreover, it gives you a golden opportunity to correct any form of wrong thinking they may have subscribed to.
Speak positively into your kids’ lives
The power of your words can never be overemphasized! What you say to your children today goes a long way towards who they become tomorrow. You could find creative ways of encouraging positive thinking by for example pasting colorful posters with words like ‘I’m beautiful’, ‘I am loved’, ‘I can achieve anything I put my mind to’ etc. in their rooms. You could also chip in lovely statements such as ‘I am glad to have you as my daughter’ etc. on a regular basis, to help build up how they view themselves.
This creates a positive atmosphere in which they grow and become confident individuals who feel loved. This also prevents them from seeking love from the wrong places.
Be mindful of your kids’ diet and hygiene
Child health and obesity are increasingly becoming an issue of concern all over the world. What are your kids eating? How conscious are they of sanitary practices such as washing your hands before a meal? You need to instill healthy habits into your kids till they in turn become health conscious. Activities such as exercise and taking a bath could be fun, depending on how you package it. For instance, you could teach your kids how to skip to some good, lively music, or enroll them in some lawn tennis classes for example, to keep them active and fit. Interesting household traditions such as ‘The child who finishes bathing first gets an extra treat!’ could also make your kids excited about such important and everyday activities.
Simply be the best parent you can be!
Children ultimately vary; hence you should not always blame yourself when things are not going smoothly. You have the inbuilt capacity to be a parent, which is why you’ve been blessed with a child. Don’t develop the habit of comparing yourself to other parents and hitting yourself hard for the failures that may sometimes arise. Just learn from your mistakes, and put in your best each and every day. Remember, your child is yours, and specially yours!
Though parenting is not a cake walk, it is definitely a rewarding experience in the long run. Step up to the plate and be the world’s best parent; you can do it!
What makes you most proud about being a parent? Share with us in the comment section below.