If you are reading this article you are no doubt a parent and you are probably frustrated right now with how you are dealing with your children. This frustration is normal and understandable. All parents make mistakes and often it seems that we are just kind of “feeling our way through this.” More than likely though, you are doing a pretty good job with your kids and could just use some tips or advice for good parenting skills; a refresher course of sorts. Remember, all parents make mistakes. The important thing is to learn from those mistakes.
There are four cornerstones that make up the foundation of good parenting. Think of them as skill sets that you can develop and strengthen with practice:
1. Never be too busy for your child. My dad gave me this advice years ago when my son was born and I’ve always tried to remember it. I think dad felt guilty that maybe he had not been available to me often enough and now regretted it as I was grown up and out of the house. This is important to remember and apply not only when your kids ask for your time, but even offer it if they don’t ask. There is no better gift you can give than to show your love by being available to you child.
2. Appreciate your child. Everyone likes to feel appreciated and your kids are no exception. In fact, they need it even more during these formative years as they are forming a sense of identity and self esteem. Thank your child for a job well done or a recently completed task and tell him or her how much you appreciate it. Most kids really like to please their parents, even though it probably doesn’t seem like it at times. Show them you noticed and appreciate what they have done!
3. Be affectionate to your child. This one can be difficult for some parents because not all of us are affectionate by nature. I have no problem kissing and hugging my son and telling him that I love him, probably to the point of driving him crazy, but at least he knows how I feel. The point is, don’t just assume your children know how you feel. It is very important to tell them even if it’s only on occasion, and show them by your actions how much you love them.
4. Accept your child unconditionally. Your children will test you constantly, even as they get older. Sometimes it might be difficult to keep going to bat for them. But if you don’t then who will? Your kids need to know that you love them and accept them for who they are without condition. This doesn’t mean you condone or accept all of their behaviors or actions, but you are always in their corner.