Parenting does not come with a 5000-page guidebook on how to raise kids. You learn through experience; even then, it is always a work in progress. From diaper duty to teenage angst, there is always something new to learn. What is most important is to be patient, understanding, and loving.
Most parents agree that the key to effective parenting is growing with their children. You learn and grow alongside them, making mistakes and celebrating victories together. It is a beautiful and rewarding journey, but not without its challenges.
Below, we have compiled a guide that enlists some of the most effective parenting tips. But acknowledge that what works for one family might not work for another. The most important thing is to be present and attentive to your children’s needs.
1. Keep Track Of Changes
The early years of child growth are crucial in terms of their physical, mental, and emotional development. In some cases, children under two start showing signs of congenital disabilities or other developmental disabilities. As a parent, you must pay heed to these changes so you can address them early on.
Cerebral palsy is one of the leading congenital disabilities in the United States.
Fidgety movements, muscle rigidity, and problems with balance are all common symptoms of cerebral palsy. If you observe these changes in your child, consult with a doctor as soon as possible. Check out cerebralpalsyguide.com to learn more about this condition.
2. Be An Active Listener
Parenting comes with an innate desire to control and direct our children’s lives. We want them to make the “right” choices and avoid the pitfalls that we have experienced. However, in our attempts to control their lives, we often forget to listen.
Active listening is a skill that all parents should hone. It involves being present and engaged with your child without judgment or interruption. It shows that you respect their opinion, even if you do not necessarily agree with them.
The next time your child brings a problem to you, take a step back and listen to what they have to say. It might surprise you that their little minds have so much potential.
3. Encourage Independence
Do you remember the first time you rode a bike without training wheels? Or when you first drove a car by yourself? These are big milestones in our lives that signify our independence.
We want our children to experience that same sense of independence.
But we often forget that our children are capable of much more than we give them credit. Instead of doing everything for them, try encouraging them to do things independently. It could be something as simple as letting them choose their clothes or helping with dinner.
Of course, there will be times when they need our help. But by encouraging independence, we give them the confidence to know that they can handle whatever life throws their way.
4. Have Realistic Expectations
“Perfection,” “standards,” and “goals” are nothing more than ideas in our heads. They do not exist in the real world. So, as parents, we must have realistic expectations for our children. Maybe they are not going to be the valedictorian or the star athlete.
We should encourage our children to put their best foot forward while accepting them for who they are. Studies reveal that children who feel accepted by their parents are more likely to be successful in life, regardless of their IQ or talents. Similarly, those who feel they have to meet unrealistic expectations are more likely to experience anxiety and depression.
5. Do Not Take The Spanking Route
Spanking is an old and detested form of discipline. But just because it is popular does not make it right. Many studies have shown the negative effects of spanking on children.
It has been linked to aggressive behavior, mental health problems, and lower IQ scores. So, why do we continue to do it? In many cases, it is because we were spanked as children, and we think it is the only way to discipline our kids.
However, now is the time to break the cycle. There are many other effective methods of discipline that do not involve violence. Try things like time-outs, loss of privileges, or even just a simple discussion.
6. Always Be Their Role Model
Studies reveal that children learn more from what they see than what they hear. So, show your child the importance of honesty instead of telling them. Be who you want them to be. They will think it is okay to be rude if you are rude. If you are dishonest, they will think it is okay to be dishonest. So, choose your words and actions wisely.
Your child is watching you, even when you think they are not. Some areas where you must ensure you are leading by example are:
- Helping others
- Respecting authority
- Being honest
- Having manners
- Working hard
- Expressing gratitude
Children are the most impressionable during their early years. So, start early and set a good example for them to follow.
7. Befriend Your Teenage Child
The teenage years often become a time of conflict between parents and children. Teens are trying to figure out who they are and where they fit in the world. They also go through hormonal changes that can make them moody and irritable. In contrast, parents are struggling with the shift in power and accepting that their “baby” is now a teenager.
During these years, peer pressure and outside influences are at their strongest. Trying out the “trendy drink” or smoking cigarettes can seem like a fun way to rebel and fit in. But it does not erase the fact that your child is still your responsibility.
The best way to prevent your child from going down the wrong path is to stay involved in their life. Get to know their friends and their interests. Be their confidante and their sounding board. Most importantly, be their friend.
8. Do Not Be Too Hard On Yourself
Our society is enough to make anyone feel like they are not good enough. It is no wonder that so many of us struggle with self-doubt and low self-esteem.
We must remember that we are human too. We make mistakes, we have flaws, and that is okay. Our children will learn more from our examples than our words. So, instead of beating yourself up for not being perfect, show your children that it is okay to be imperfect. It is okay to limp along life’s journey as long as we do not give up.
Also, while you are at it, give yourself a break now and then, you deserve it.
Parenting is not all about half-birthdays and first steps. It is also about the dedication to raising a happy, healthy, and well-rounded individual. In parenting, there is no “right” way to do things. Just as every child is unique, so is every parent. What fits your “effective parenting” criteria might not work for someone else.
What matters is that you are doing your best to provide your children with a loving home and a bright future.