There is one purpose in life more difficult than all others-that of being a parent!
Children do not come with user manuals. Parents are not automatically bestowed with all parental knowledge upon their child’s birth. There is no one person on this planet that has all the answers. If any of this were true, parenting would be a piece of cake and we wouldn’t be writing or reading blogs about it.
The ultimate goal of parenting is to care for the tiny creature you created by nurturing their development and well-being. Yet, we are human, and sometimes we treat our child in ways that are detrimental without even realizing it. Always approach parenting with common sense, patience and love.
Do not underestimate your child. He can understand far more than you think he does and if you make him believe you think poorly of him, or that he cannot achieve highly, this might affect his development. A child’s comprehension typically exceeds his communication skills and he will understand when you are talking down to him. Always build your child up to their full potential.
Always follow through with rules and discipline. Don’t use threats. A child loves a challenge and will probably see a threat as one and follow through with the undesired behaviour just to see if he can escape punishment. And if you do not follow through on discipline, children have no reason not to repeat that behaviour.
Reward your child, do not bribe them. There is a fine line between the two, but a reward should be established before the desired behaviour occurs. For example, a child should be informed that if she gets in the car and behaves properly at the grocery store she will receive a treat at the end of the shopping trip. Bribery would be to telling your child if she gets in the car RIGHT NOW or stops crying RIGHT NOW, she will get a treat. We have a very detailed post which you can read here: Do We Empower or Condition Our Children.
Do not make a small child promise something. They are too young to understand the concept of promises, let alone hold one. It is not fair to punish them for something they did not comprehend – and they will not comprehend why they are being punished.
Give them some space. Children need some freedom to develop normally. Don’t keep them on a short leash. Let them explore their independence while assuring their safety.
Avoid big words or too many words when you are speaking to a young child. Keep your ideas simple and concise so he can understand what you are saying.
Do not expect an immediate and blind obedience. Children should be taught to think for themselves and to not follow orders.
Stick to the rules when playing games. Do not compromise to allow your child to win. This will teach your child valuable skills such as accepting loss, following rules, making efforts and trying again.
Make sure your expectations and discipline are appropriate to the age of your child. A one-year-old should not be disciplined for not cleaning up their toys and would not understand the concept of a time-out. We have a nice article on this blog which got very popular with parents. It teaches you how to do developmentally- appropriate discipline with young children. You can read it here.
Ditch the guilt. Don’t try to inflict guilt on your children as a means of punishment. Instead, encourage your child to empathetic to the way they make others feel.
Parenting is about trial and error, weighing options and gathering information from a million sources. However, parenthood is an elite, understanding and compassionate club of individuals who empathize with its many struggles and stresses, so support is readily available and given to those who ask.
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