10 tips to win at the parenting game

Score top points with junior with these simple tips…

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No matter how hard you try, raising a child is one job none of us can ever fully prepare for. So, most of us turn to parenting books, attend seminars and join support groups hoping to become better parents.

However, parenting isn’t about knowing everything and getting everything right all the time. To raise successful children, we first need to be an effective parent — someone who is focused on building a connection with our kids, while teaching them to respect boundaries, even as we give them room to grow and flourish.

Check out 10 simple steps that will bring you closer to this goal of parenting successfully...

1) Accept mistakes as teaching moments 

Instead of rushing to correct junior’s mistake or getting angry, take a step back. Ask yourself, “What will my child learn from this?”

Says marriage and family therapist Dr Hana Ra Adams, “Taking a step back will also help you control your emotional reaction and go into ‘solution mode’.”

For example, instead of punishing your peewee for spilling milk or getting a bad grade, use it as a learning opportunity to help them become more responsible.

2) Instil independence   

The more chances your little one gets to take chances or learn a new skill, the more often they are tested and thus figure out what they’re good at and where they need to improve.

Successful children do their own chores, too, points out Julie Lythcott-Haims, who wrote How to Raise an Adult. “It’s a way for them to learn that work has to be done and everyone needs to contribute for the betterment of the whole.”

Taking a step back will also help you control your emotional reaction and go into ‘solution mode’.”

3) Walk the talk  

Children do as you do, not as you say, so make sure to practise the mantras you preach. You may urge your little one to stop worrying, but if they notice that you fret about every little thing, what they see will make a greater impact on them than your words.

“Show your child how you manage worries or how you deal with problems,” Dr Adams suggests. “Then he or she can incorporate those behaviours into his or her own actions.”

4) Show empathy   

Very often, your tot’s reaction to a situation might be rather exaggerated, but don’t disregard it. To a child, even small things are a big deal because they may never have dealt with this situation before. “It’s very important to validate how a child feels,” Dr Adams says. “It helps them level their emotions so that they will be ready to hear some advice or find a solution.”

Listening well, setting boundaries and four more vital steps in parenting effectively…