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6 Steps to Help You Do More Effective Parenting

Walk the walk. Don’t just tell your child what you want them to do. Show them.

Parenting And Family
| News18.com| UPDATED: November 23, 2017, 9:15 AM IST
6 Steps to Help You Do More Effective Parenting Representative Image: Getty Images
Raising a happy, healthy child is one of the most challenging jobs a parent can have -- and also one of the most rewarding. After all, what is the goal when you're dealing with children? To show who's the boss? To instill fear? Or to help the child develop into a decent, self-confident human being? A good parent strives to make decisions in the best interest of the child. A good parent doesn’t have to be perfect. No one is perfect. No child is perfect either. But it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t work towards that goal. Set high standards for ourselves first and then our children second. We serve as a role model to them. Let’s take a look at 10 guidelines that may help you raise children.

1. What you do matters

Whether it's your own health behaviors or the way you treat other people, your children are learning from what you do. "This is one of the most important principles," Steinberg explains. "What you do makes a difference...Don't just react on the spur of the moment. Ask yourself, What do I want to accomplish, and is this likely to produce that result?"

2. Boosting your child's self-esteem

Kids start developing their sense of self as babies when they see themselves through their parents' eyes. Your tone of voice, your body language, and your every expression are absorbed by your kids. Your words and actions as a parent affect their developing self-esteem more than anything else. Praising accomplishments, however small, will make them feel proud; letting kids do things independently will make them feel capable and strong. By contrast, belittling comments or comparing a child unfavorably with another will make kids feel worthless. Avoid making loaded statements or using words as weapons. Comments like "What a stupid thing to do!" or "You act more like a baby than your little brother!" cause damage just as physical blows do.

Choose your words carefully and be compassionate. Let your kids know that everyone makes mistakes and that you still love them, even when you don't love their behavior.

3. Show your love

There is no such thing as loving your child too much. Loving them cannot spoil them. Only what you choose to do (or give) in the name of love can — things like a material indulgence, leniency, low expectation, and over-protection. When these things are given in place of real love, that’s when you’ll have a spoiled child. Showing these acts of love can trigger the release of feel-good hormones such as oxytocin, opioids, and prolactin. These neurochemicals can bring us a deep sense of calm, emotional warmth and contentment, from these the child will develop resilience and not to mention a closer relationship with you.

4. Set limits and be consistent with your discipline

Discipline is necessary for every household. The goal of discipline is to help kids choose acceptable behaviors and learn self-control. They may test the limits you establish for them, but they need those limits to grow into responsible adults.

Establishing house rules helps kids understand your expectations and develop self-control. Some rules might include: no TV until homework is done, and no hitting, name-calling, or hurtful teasing allowed. You might want to have a system in place: one warning, followed by consequences such as a "time out" or loss of privileges. A common mistake parents make is a failure to follow through with the consequences. You can't discipline kids for talking back one day and ignore it the next. Being consistent teaches what you expect.

5. Maintain a friendly relationship

Stop imposing yourself on the child and create a strong friendship rather than being a boss. Don’t sit on a pedestal and tell the child what she should do. Place yourself below the child so that it’s easy for them to talk to you.

6. Appreciate them

Have you ever stopped to think about how many time you've reacted negatively to your kids in a given day? You may find yourself criticizing far more often than complimenting. How would you feel about a boss who treated you with that much negative guidance, even if it was well intentioned? The more effective approach is to catch kids doing something right: "You made your bed without being asked — that's terrific!" or "I was watching you play with your sister and you were very patient." These statements will do more to encourage good behavior over the long run than repeated scoldings.

Make a point of finding something to praise every day. Be generous with rewards — your love, hugs, and compliments can work wonders and are often reward enough. Soon you will find you are "growing" more of the behavior you would like to see.

6) Be a safe haven

Let your child know that you’ll always be there for them by being responsive to the child’s signals and sensitive to their needs. Support and accept your child as an individual. Be a warm, safe haven for your child to explore from. Children raised by parents who are consistently responsive tend to have better emotional development and mental health outcomes.

First Published: November 23, 2017, 9:15 AM IST
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