Mum 101: Effective parenting tips

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Parenting is perhaps one of the toughest jobs that is not accompanied by an instruction manual. Parents adopt different parenting styles and some of these can be detrimental to a child’s growth and coping mechanism later on in life. To avert this, it is important to provide guidance to children while at the same time allowing them chart their own path in life, make mistakes and learn from their own experience. The following tips will help you do just that.

Allow your children to take some risks.

Although it is the responsibility of parents to ensure that their children are safe, they should also allow them to take healthy risks. For instance, many parents today are fond of keeping their children indoors and on the computer rather than outdoors in the name of safeguarding them from danger. Let them play outside, get some injuries and learn for themselves the pitfalls to avoid, as long as they are not endangering themselves or others. Cushioning them from hurt and pain makes them afraid of taking risks when they become adults. Yet, more often than not, success comes with its own share of risks. Nobody got to where they are in life by cocooning themselves in their comfort zones.

Don’t live your life through your children.

Some parents have a tendency of attempting to fulfill their unaccomplished dreams and aspirations through pressuring their children to pursue these lost opportunities. Children should not be forced to follow in the footsteps of their parents unless they have a genuine desire to do so. This kills their creativity because, rather than allowing children to think for themselves, you dictate how they should live their lives. It also breeds resentment and frustration in the child, which will ultimately have a negative impact on the relationship between you and your child.

Let your children learn from their mistakes.

Allowing children to fail is not always easy for parents, especially when you are sure that they are making a mistake. It is only natural to want to shield them. But, allowing them to fail and learn from their mistakes provides an opportunity to develop coping mechanisms and resilience: skills that prepare them for life’s challenges. Offer your unwavering support to your child while simultaneously making it clear that they need to find the solution to their own mistake and remedy it.

Be consistent when instilling discipline and reinforcing rules.

Consistency is pretty essential to successful parenting. But it’s also clear that building a consistent routine of discipline is not a walk in the park. You can achieve this by letting your child know what your expectations are in terms of discipline. Sometimes your child may intentionally test you by crossing the line just to see your reaction. Should this happen, follow through with the consequence for the broken rules. Chances are that if you let it slip the first time, it may degenerate to a norm that will be hard to break once it becomes a habit.

Be involved in your child’s life.

Good parenting goes beyond material providence; it calls for a parent to create time to be actively present in their child’s life. Being involved means that you spend time interacting with your young ones so that you can create a relationship with them. Kids who aren’t getting the attention they want from their parents often act out or misbehave to get noticed. Children with loving parents are more likely to grow up happy and healthy and to get on well with others. If you have an open, comfortable, and trusting relationship with your child, it is likely that you will be in a better position to instill discipline in them.

Published in January 2015

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