Raising children is one of the most challenging responsibilities you can take on. There are hundreds of books out there to help you parent. But in the end, you need to figure out what is best for you and your children.
How we parent can impact the lives of your children? You need to raise your children with love, patience and appropriate boundaries. You are not perfect, and you will make mistakes. If you stay healthy and do your best, your children are more likely to mature into responsible adults.
However, if you have serious issues that have been passed on to you from your parents, you will pass on the same problems to your children. The goal is for you to take responsibility for your issues and do whatever it takes to begin the long healing process. If you are on the path towards healing, your children will have a better chance.
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Here are five areas to enhance your parenting skills and to strengthen your relationship with your children.
1. Self Awareness
You need to take 100% responsibility for yourself. You are the only one who can change your behaviour.
The first step is to become self-aware. It is learning to observe yourself in action. It is not easy to learn but not impossible.
To learn self-awareness is to slow down. It is finding ways to quiet your mind so you can be as present as possible. There are many ways to do this, including meditation, prayer, yoga, tai chi, massage, walking, gardening and anything else that helps you to quiet your mind.
It is learning to pay attention to the sensations of your body. Your body is wise. You might have experienced this as intuition. Pay attention to your sensations, and they will reveal knowledge.
When you are open to your body, quiet mind and open heart you will be in touch with wisdom that is available for all of us.
You will begin to observe yourself in action without judging yourself. This knowledge will give you the opportunity to release old ways of being that no longer serve you and discover new behaviours that will be in harmony with your true self.
2. Three different styles of Parenting
High demands and low responsiveness. This form of parenting is where the parent takes charge and makes sure the child follows their rules. It is strict.
This form of parenting has its place in an emergency such as pulling a child out heavy traffic. It could be pulling a child back when they are about to touch a hot burner. These are the times you need to be direct and clear.
Using this parenting style all the time can lead to compromising your child's self-confidence. You expect your child to obey blindly. Thus, your children never learn why certain choices are better than others.
This form of parenting leaves no room for the child to learn how to make their own choices. Your style may push them to do the opposite because they get tired of being told what to do.
When using this heavy-handed model of parenting all the time, it will destroy the children’s self-worth because you are demonstrating to them that they can not be trusted.
All of us, including children, learn the best from making mistakes. Many kids will become fearful of making mistakes because of the fear of offending Dad and Mom.
This style of parenting is characterized by high responsiveness to the children's needs while having high standards. If you are an authoritative parent, you pay attention to the needs of your children while setting clear boundaries that you keep reinforcing.
There are many benefits to authoritative parenting. Here are what child experts say about the benefits of this type of parenting. Children are happy, independent, have excellent social skills, proper emotional regulation and self-control
There seem to be no reported problems to this form of parenting.
Low demands and high responsiveness. This type of parenting has few rules for their children. They will tend to go along with anything their children desire.
Your children will have a lot of freedom to do what they want. You will give your children just about anything they want if you have the money to do it.
Your children know they are loved. They have endless examples of their parents doing nice things for them.
The problem is that these children never have their inappropriate behaviours challenged. They don’t know their boundaries. Some will act out to try and discover their boundaries as boundaries are something for which children hunger.
Low demands and low responsiveness. This type of parenting makes few demands on the children, is dismissive of their children's needs and often wholly neglectful.
Your children will have a lot of freedom.
If you practice this kind of parenting, you will put your child at significant risk. You offer your children little supervision. You are emotionally distant from your children. You have few expectations or demands for behaviour. You fail to turn up at child-parent interviews at school.
If you are parenting like this, you are likely so caught up in your issues that you are not able to be there for your children.
3. Finding your style:
The Authoritative model is the best. However, you will find your way of caring for your children. There will be moments when you must be authoritarian when your child is in danger. There will be moments when you are permissive on a day you are exhausted. On the tough days, you will have moments of being an uninvolved parent.
The important thing is that you try to keep to the authoritative model. There is no one pure form of this model. It is a matter of maintaining a balance of being responsive to your children's needs while creating clear safe boundaries.
No matter what style you use your child needs to know she or he is loved. You need to show it in words, actions, and through appropriate touch. A child who knows they are deeply loved will be able to face many challenges without being seriously hurt.
5. Get help:
You are not perfect. You are going to make mistakes. Learn from them. If you feel concerned in any way about how your parenting is going or have concerns about your children, seek the help of family, friends, religious leaders and professionals. Getting help is a sign of strength and courage. Don’t believe anyone who tells you it is a sign of weakness.
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Parenting is probably the most important job you will ever take on. The authoritative parenting model is the healthiest because it is a balance of being there for children and providing them with healthy boundaries.
Be compassionate with yourself and your children. No one is perfect. When you are tired and stressed you or your children will not make the best choices.
Do your best to stay healthy emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. Take time for your self, get plenty of sleep, get enough adult time with your spouse, family and friends. Make sure you are meeting your own needs.
Make sure your children know they are loved. They need to hear it in words, in the time you spend with them, the care you give them, and through the kindness you show them.
Stay present in your body through learning to slow your mind, pay attention to your sensations, and notice your emotions. When you are grounded, you will know within yourself what you need to do even if that is asking for help.
I am, Roland Legge, a Life Coach here to help you to be the best parent you can be. You can join my private newsletter list for Free Monthly Advice and get Your Free Enneagram Test and sign up for a Free 30 Minute Discovery Call with me in my Acuity Scheduling Calendar.