As a parent, you have a huge influence on your children’s life and development. Parents who know how to interact with and raise their children well are likely to have kids who grow into happy, healthy adults who excel in all areas of life. Parents who struggle with their parenting skills or aren’t interested in improving may have children who are more prone to behavioral problems and negative outcomes in life.
The most important thing you can do as a parent is to teach your kids good behavior and provide them with the tools they need to make wise choices. Whether you are raising toddlers, preschoolers, or teens, these parenting tips can help.
1. Give your kids the attention they need.
Kids need positive attention from their parents to feel secure and loved. They also need to know that their parents care about them and value their opinions. This doesn’t mean showering them with gifts or money, but it does involve spending quality time with them – even when your schedule is busy. Try getting up a few minutes earlier to have breakfast together or leaving the dishes in the sink so you can take a walk after dinner. It also helps to compliment their positive behaviors. Comments like, “You ate your vegetables all without being asked; that’s great!” or, “You helped your sister with her homework today; you’re such a helpful kid!” can go a long way in encouraging positive behavior and promoting good self-esteem.
2. Be consistent with your rules and discipline.
Changing up the rules you enforce from day to day can confuse your child and make them less likely to follow them. Be sure to set rules, present a united front, and establish non-negotiables. It is also important to be consistent in following through with consequences for rule violations. For example, if you discipline your child for talking back, don’t let them get away with it the next time.
3. Avoid overpowering or scaring your children with punishments.
Many parents attempt to control their children by yelling at them or making threats, but this is not a good way to raise a child. Punishments are often viewed as negative reinforcement, which can actually lower children’s self-esteem. A better way to raise a child is to encourage them to behave positively by showing them how to do it, and then praise them when they do it.
4. Have realistic expectations.
It can be easy to feel overwhelmed by your responsibilities as a parent, especially when your kids aren’t meeting your expectations. However, it’s important to keep in mind that every kid is different and will have their own unique challenges when it comes to learning new skills. For example, your preteen may be having trouble with math and take a while to catch on. This is nothing to be alarmed about, but instead a chance for you to work with them on strategies for improvement.
It’s also important to have realistic expectations about how your kids will perform in school and in social situations. Try to avoid over-stressing these issues and instead focus on building strong relationships with them.