When we have a new baby we are excited and, at the same time, overwhelmed and lacking in confidence about how to be a good parent. How do I not make mistakes that will harm my child? How do I instill confidence and self-esteem in my child?
So, at the beginning of this article, we explore the characteristics that good parents exhibit as they parent their children. This is a overview to give the reader some general concepts. More detailed information, specific to children’s psychosocial developmental stages is offered on this website’s links page.
- Listen to their children.
- Even when your child is engaging you in a debate about why they can or cannot do things that you consider unsafe or inappropriate. They are our children, but they are also people that we love unconditionally. We sometimes treat children much worse than we treat strangers or acquaintances that we encounter. Would you yell at your friend(s) if they don’t do what you tell them to do?
- Although at younger ages it is more difficult to communicate with children in an adult manner, if we show respect to our children, we are teaching them how to treat others. Don’t complain when they are disrespectful to you, you taught them that undesirable behavior. It always amazes me that parents are shocked when their children use foul language, yell at others, or hit their playmates. If your home’s environment is not nurturing and supportive, then your children will learn from that environment.
- Remember….Garbage in = Garbage out.
- Do not foster unhealthy competition between siblings.
- Comparing your children to each other, or to other family members or friends, does not give them incentive to be like the other child. What this does is create frustration, anger, and a very low sense of self esteem. Have you ever said, “Why can’t you be more like John?” or “Other kids can do that, why can’t you?”
- Your family is, or should be, a cohesive unit that thrives in an environment of support, encouragement, and love. If it isn’t, you should read and absorb all the credible information on family that you can find, or make an appointment to see a family therapist.
- Set an example for their children.
- Children learn by example. You can talk the talk, but if you don’t walk it, they will do what you do without regard to what you say.
- Children are little organic recording devices that absorb and assimilate even the most subtle gestures and activities (even those that are not so subtle).
- Children learn how to be mothers and fathers, how to be parents, and how to be good people by watching and listening to you. They don’t learn how to be these things by you telling them and doing the opposite.
- Do not make rules that make no sense.
- My favorite example of this is the evening meal. Your children comes home after a day of school and the first thing they want is an after school snack. So here it is, 4:00 or later and they are eating. They either go up to their room for homework or video games or whatever they do, and 1 hour later they are called down to dinner. Their response: “I’m not hungry.” Your response: “It’s dinner time, you get down here this minute.” They pick at their food, they are forced to bargain with you about how much to eat….And congratulations ! the framework for an eating disorder is born.
- If you eat when you are not hungry, mom and dad will not yell at you.
- My parents don’t believe me because I told them I wasn’t hungry and they think I should be.
- Eating is something you do because my parents make me do it.
- Get the picture?
Your relationship with your children is precious and vital to their survival as healthy adults. If you are going to correct your child, make sure that in doing so, you don’t hurt the relationship…It is that important !!
This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to parenting, and it is not meant as a comprehensive guide. I suggest that you should come in for some help with parenting your kids. It is the most important job you will ever have.
If this sounds somewhat like your home, I can help. Contact me on 404-933-4745 or fill out the form below:
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