Parenting styles differ between individuals and families. Each style is unique and typically encompasses much of who the parents are themselves. Children are very impressionable, giving you this prime opportunity to teach them and do what is best for them. Here are some basic tips to consider while tuning your parenting skills.
- Learn as you go. You will already have skills from your own life experiences, but developing additional skills won't happen overnight, it has to be learned, much of which may happen while you are raising your kids. Everyone makes mistakes. Just give it your best!
- Identify Values. Think about your own values and if those are what you want to instill in your children. Teaching children good morals gives them a life-long gift. Most parents want to see their children exhibit characteristics such as being honest, responsible, friendly, loving and fair. You are the key to this success. Parents have the opportunity to overcome outside stimuli such as peer pressure and society to instill self-discipline, independence and respect.
- Be a model. Do as I say, not as I do? That mentality didn't work coming from your parents, so it likely won't work on your children. Plan to be the main example for your children. Our children look up to us first and foremost. Act in a manner that you expect your children to mirror.
- Enforce rules. Parents need to develop and enforce guidelines for their children. Planning the types of consequences to coincide with the nature and severity of the infractions allows you to use discipline as an opportunity to teach.
- Provide guidance. Be there for them. You have the knowledge and life experiences to lead them in the right direction as they will look to you to help them learn and grow.
- Offer reinforcement. Don't frequently criticize. Children often tend to forgo trying new things if they are criticized for their ability. Offering reinforcement lets them know that they have the opportunity for improvement.
- Learn to relate to children in their developmental stage. Try putting yourself in their shoes. Something that may sound small to you could be really big and important to them. Be engaging, listen to their feelings and be responsive.
- Prepare to be involved. Including your children in your activities makes them feel valued. Be interested in their activities as well, no matter how small you may think it is. Remember, it is bigger to them. Talk, read and sing to them.
- Develop responsibilities. Prepare your children for real life. Even small tasks when they are young foster a sense of responsibility. Have them pick up after themselves or take care of a pet.
Remember that every little thing your child sees you do will be instilled in them as a part of who they are. Taking these items into consideration early will help you be prepared for it when the time comes.