Being a good parent is an art. While most moms and dads tend to look at parenting through a big scope, it is the little things that you do in your child’s life that will likely make all the difference and the day to day being present and paying attention is a skill every parent can learn.
The responsibility of teaching your young children the best behaviors, habits and manners are often shuffled into the background when chaos and disorder rules the day. Fortunately, you are given the opportunity to be a good parent at every moment of their lives. The key to good parenting is to recognize that your positive actions and reactions to situations can assist your child in learning the best ways to grow and mature.
Learning by Example
At nearly every stage of childhood through adolescence, your child learns by example. Even when you are not aware, your children watch every move you make to study your parental behavior. You serve as their teacher each minute of the day showing them effective tools for handling stress and ways to respond to difficult situations. Think of it this way, your children have much less going on in their daily lives so their brains are sponges soaking up everything.
Using your role as behavioral teacher can dramatically affect your children’s social interaction in their later years. You can use all of life’s experiences as educational tools to help them grow. The more time you spend with your children every day, the greater the potential that your positive behaviors will mold them.
Everyone Makes Mistakes (Children Do Too)
Parents have a natural reflex to help their children avoid pain and suffering. We spend much of their early years preventing any dangerous incident that could cause our child harm. It is important to teach children how touching a hot stove or crossing the street could cause serious injury. However, allowing your child to make minor mistakes is a great way to teach the laws of cause and effect.
The experience of disappointment over the little things in life is a much better learning tool than shielding children from every negative event. Parents can use their child’s disappointment as a learning tool to approach situations differently and learn how to be more successful in the future. When my 10 year old didn’t earn a role in his school play because he didn’t practice for try-outs I coached him to throw his script in the air to get out his anger then we talked about how he needed to prepare for the next play. The child can experience the opportunity to grow when they understand life’s limitations and how to work with limits to reach their goals.
From the newborn’s first days, the young mind of a child begins to associate comfort and nurturing with reward. Parents will often place anything in a young child’s mouth to stop the crying. Toddlers can be bribed into good behavior with a cookie at the doctor’s office, after scraping their knee or to stop fighting with their siblings.
Bribery is hardwired into all of us, especially children. However, instead of using bribery, parents can use incentive rewards such as a chore or sticker chart.
Good parenting is tough and no joke. The words “Mom” and “Dad” are not labels indicating who we are. Instead, they are job descriptions of what we do. Some parents choose to raise their children without direction, while others want to be an inspiration.
If you want to be an inspired parent to help your children live a happier and healthier life then take control. Choose to make one unique change in your child’s life for the better every day no matter how small it is. Begin by committing yourself to the process and positive change will follow.