We all want to be good parents.
To have a positive influence in our child’s life so that they grow up to be well rounded, emotionally stable, physically and psychologically healthy adults. But how do we do that? We must be effective parents.
If we define effective it means to be “successful in producing a desired or intended result.” As parents, we must first know what our desired result is. What type of child do we want to raise? What values and beliefs do we wish to instill in them that they carry them through to their adulthood and future family generations? What behaviours do we want them to have that support themselves and those around them?
These are big picture parenting questions. Have you thought about them? And thought about them specifically?
If you want to get the best out of your kids so that they can be the best version of themselves, you must work this out. Making it up along the way takes up precious time and energy. This is my design an adult activity! Sit down with a piece of paper and think big picture about the adult you want your child to grow into. Areas to think about include:
- Their attitudes, values, and beliefs about the world, other people, relationships etc…
- Their self-concept (how they look at themselves including self-esteem & self-belief)
- Healthy behaviours
- How they treat others around them
- The role in society that they play e.g. being involved in community, volunteering, altruistic donations etc…
- Religion and spirituality
These are all things that you have a direct influence over from when your child is very little. None of this activity is about making your child do x over y. It’s not about forcing them into a specific career path, being in a relationship with a specific person/gender or liking pink not blue. It’s about thinking about how you want your child to be a positive force in the future of the world.
So what next?
If effective parenting is knowing what the ultimate goal is, the next step is to work out how we get there.
First of all, we must remember that we are the best and most-influential role model (in the early years) that our children have. If we want to teach a specific value or belief then we must live and demonstrate it ourselves to our children.
If we want our children to speak nicely to others, we must speak nicely to others and speak nicely to them.
If we want our children to eat healthy, varied diet then we must provide and prepare this food and eat it ourselves.
If we want our children to be involved in our community then we must find ways to do this ourselves and involve our children into this as well.
When we know our specific destination, it’s easy to work out which road to take. We must be the person that we want our child to be.
What about the small stuff, the everyday stuff? Lots of mums come to me with behaviour problems with their children. “They won’t listen” “They’re so aggressive” “They won’t stop fighting” “He won’t eat any dinner” My first statement to them is generally to remind themselves that they are just kids. All of these examples of behaviour are all part of normal childhood development and play a specific role in helping our children learn about the worlds, themselves and how they interact with those around them. It is unrealistic to expect your child to have perfect behaviour.
Better Parenting On A Daily Basis
If we want to be an effective or “good” parent on a daily basis then we must look at how we parent on a daily basis.
- Are we being gentle and respectful? Or authoritarian and aggressive ourselves?
- Do we allow our children to experience the natural consequences of their behaviour so they learn or do we always protect them and save them (of course not applicable when they could potentially seriously injure themselves or someone else, but that’s just common sense!)
- Are we setting consistent limits and boundaries?
Whether it’s easy to admit or not, the way our children behave depends upon how we are acting. If the kids aren’t responding then we must first look to ourselves. Am I making the situation worse? Or better? Perhaps this specific parenting technique isn’t working for our child. Maybe we have to try something else. Maybe siblings need different strategies because of different personalities.
In two parent households, it is crucial that both parents are on board with the same techniques. One parent doing one thing and the other doing another just inflames situations and is confusing for the child and ultimately limits their growth and development. The same applies for co-parenting between two households.
When we choose parenting techniques that work for our child, our family and are in line with the type of adult we want to raise then parenting works. It’s effective and it’s easier.
This post has been about the big picture around parenting effectively and over the next few weeks I’ll start to look at some of the daily things we can do to make parenting easier so keep your eye out for future posts.
As always I’d love to hear your comments on this post so pop them below. Connect with me on Facebook, share this post if it’s resonated with you and get in touch if you’d like to talk about anything that has come up for you.
Have a gorgeous day.