9 ways to be a more effective parent

Wise up to successful parenting skills you’ll need to deal with the challenges of raising your rugrats.

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Being a parent is much more than merely meeting your children’s basic needs ― you’ll need to build a deep and committed relationship with your offspring

When you build effective parenting skills, you’ll nurture junior and encourage responsible behaviour

“Effective parenting skills involve engagement, bonding, positive responses, as well as understanding how your child feels in a particular situation,” says Daniel Koh, a psychologist at Insights Mind Centre. It’s also important to know your strengths as a parent and to listen to what your child has to say, he notes.

You’ll need to work on skills like patience, determination and persistence constantly, so that you can guide your child to grow into mature and responsible adults. By the way, a loving parent can improve their child’s brain development.

Here are tips on how to be a great parent:

1. Build positive relationships

Do fun things together! Humour and fun are the building blocks for mental health and relationships.  Young children learn best through play, so set aside some time to paint with your child or go into the garden to blow bubbles. If you have an older child, play a round of video games with him or watch movies together.

You have many ways to make meaningful connections, too. For example, you can let your kids decide the kind of activity the whole family can do every weekend. Such opportunities offer you and your munchkins a way to engage in lively conversations.

Let your child know that if he misbehaves, he’ll get a warning first, followed by consequences such as a “time out” or loss of privileges.

2. Be consistent

When you discipline junior, you’re teaching him about self-control, as well as what acceptable behaviours are.

When you show them right from wrong, you’ll need to explain clearly what the undesirable behaviour is and what he is to expect if he misbehaves. Introducing a few simple house rules will help him understand your expectations. For instance, he won’t get a playdate if he hits his little sister or he can’t watch TV until he has finished his homework

Let your child know that if he misbehaves, he’ll get a warning first, followed by consequences such as a “time out” or loss of privileges. And be fair ― the punishment should fit the crime.

But if junior continues to push your buttons, respond calmly. Avoid harsh consequences. Help him to see that he is experiencing the consequence of his behaviour. Always be consistent in following through with the consequences though.

3. Make your expectations clear 

Parents expect children to do as they are told, but don’t children deserve explanations, too?

Reason with your children and try not speak down to them,” Koh says. You can also avoid any power struggle by offering choices or encouraging your children to give suggestions on how to solve a problem, he notes.

“Every morning, my 4-year-old throws a tantrum over what to eat for breakfast,” says Saunthra Menon, 35. “Instead of locking horns, I’ll offer Akhil just two choices — toast or eggs — so, he can still feel in control.”

4. Reward desirable behaviour

Catch your child doing a good or thoughtful deed rather than focusing on his faults or criticising him.

Encourage good behaviour with statements like, “I saw you helping your brother with his schoolwork and you were very patient”. Praise junior with kind words or offer rewards like a hug, toys or snacks to motivate him to behave better.