We all want what’s best for our kids, but sometimes we overstep our parenting boundaries. There is never just one way to parent, but many ways and we all have our ways. Being a mama of four, I have definitely had a fare share of trial and error when it comes to parenting and wanted to share these with you.
Allow them to have their feelings. Allow them to deal with their emotions. This way they will learn to handle their feelings. when they are upset, sad, angry, etc., don’t run to rescue, just tell them “I see you are upset..” and let them handle their emotions. When my two and a half year old throws a toy, not only do I take the toy away I also tell her “I know you’re upset but we don’t throw things.” And, let her deal with her emotions. Trying to reason out with an angry/upset/sad child is simply not possible. In fact, it creates more of a chaos. They’ll calm down on their own and you can have the talk you wanted to have then.
Encourage; don’t praise them
Encouraging them to do something better for themselves will teach them to be independent. When you praise them for doing something good, that teaches them to always need you there to keep them going. For example, when my son tells me he made his bed. Instead of telling him, I am so proud of him, I tell him, “you must be proud of yourself.” This way he will do things for himself, and be proud of them. Encouragement teaches self-evaluation.
Listen to them so they listen to you
If you listen to them, chances are they will listen to you better too. If they feel acknowledged (and listened to) then they feel important and will in return hear you out. It’s easy to interrupt and lecture them immediately but that also makes them upset, and doesn’t allow them to express their feelings. When I tell my four year old that it’s time to brush his teeth and go to bed, but he wants to tell me something, instead of lecturing him how it’s bed time, I listen to him and we move on. Whenever I have tried to interrupt, it just takes longer and he still wants to tell me what he wanted to.
Always give two choices
This is probably the best parenting advice I would give anyone — always give them two choices. Do you want to brush your teeth first or put on your pajamas? Do you want to make your bed now or get dressed first? Do you want carrots or celery with your lunch? Do you want to clean up your room now or after you eat? And the list goes on. I have found this to be so helpful when it comes to younger kids (even older). Not only do they still get a choice to do something, but they still do what you wanted them to do and nobody gets upset.
Focus on the solution
Sometimes as parents we want to point out the mistake they did, as it makes sense to tell them it was a mistake. But, remember we want to make parenting easier and more effective so instead of focusing on the blame, we should focus on the solution. For example, when the boys start fighting over who spilled which bucket of toys and who should clean up what. The solution is that if they work together they will clean up faster and we can go to the park. Not only does it encourage them to work together (in this case) but it also focuses on the solution (the toys need to be picked up before we can go) and everyone is happy.
Don’t say ‘No’
Instead of saying don’t run across the street, say “we walk to cross the street”. Instead of saying don’t touch the that, say “we play with the toys and not mommy’s things.” Instead of saying go to bed, say “we are all tired and need some rest”. You get the idea. Kids don’t like to be told ‘No’ and it seems like they want to do it even more when you tell them they cannot. I have learned that it’s better to distract them and lead to something else then repeat “don’t touch that, don’t run, don’t interrupt…” a million times.
Don’t talk back
Don’t talk back to your kids. This is not who is right and who is wrong. This about resolving the situation in the best way possible and talking back just makes things worse. You are still the parent, and they are still the child but you don’t need to exert authority over them by talking back. As a child myself I have talked back, but as a parent I have realized that talking back only frustrates both parties. So when one of my kids want to talk back, I validate their feelings and end it at that.
You can read more on GENTLE PARENTING and why it works here. It’s a parenting choice, that allows both sides to find a happy means.
Create a Routine
Children thrive on routines and parents benefit from them. Routines are not bad. Routines help children become more independent. They teach them self-discipline and self-control. You can brainstorm the tasks that need to be done and help them accomplish them together. For example, our bedtime iroutine consists of putting on our pajamas, cleaning up the toys and tidying up the room, brushing our teeth and reading a story. It’s very simple but efficient.
Always Follow Through
This is a big one and very important — always, always follow through with what you say. If you don’t follow through, they will not take you seriously. So the next time they are not behaving at the park, you tell them that they will be going home if they are not playing nicely. You better follow through and go home otherwise this same situation will come up the next time you are home. If you know you cannot follow through on something then don’t say it. Instead find a different scenario that you can follow through on.
Again, these are parenting tips to help you be a better and more efficient parent so don’t compare your children to one another. They will start to have issues against their siblings, and that doesn’t help anyone. Focus on the child that you are dealing with and tell them what they need to do better or not do, instead of telling them “why cannot you be more like your brother and clean your room.” Comparing is never a good idea.
Another thing to remember as a parent you have to adjust parenting depending on the ages of your kids, but at the same time a two year old will pick up on what the four year old does and so on.
Eating breakfast at the table, means we all eat breakfast at the table. Obviously, the six year old understands that concept way better than the two year old but, the two year old will pick up on that eventually too (don’t give up).
Speak to your children as if they are the wisest, kindest, most beautiful and magical humans on earth, for what they believe is what they will become.” — Brooke Hampton
What else would you add to this list of 10 Parenting Tips Everyone Needs to Know? What is something that works for you?