We all want to be good parents, yet we all have moments when we feel we are failing miserably. When we shout too loudly, or have kids that refuse to listen, eat, sleep or basically do anything, we say.
Thankfully what makes a good parent has little to do with these daily challenges; instead, it’s down to a wide range of parenting skills. So while we all parent differently, here's how you can up your parenting game.
12 ways to being the best parent you can be:
- Be a good role model
- Don't jump in with solutions
- Reward behaviour that is positive
- Help your child to prepare for the future
- Allow your kids to make mistakes
- Establish and set rules together
- Be consistent
- Encourage your child to be independent
- Encourage goal setting
- Explain your decisions - but don't over explain
- Believe in your child
- Remember, there is no one right way to raise a child
1. Be a good role model
Being a good role model isn't about always doing everything right. It's about showing your kids that you practice what you preach. It's a crucial parenting job because children watch and learn from what we do. They see how we deal with stress and how we deal with everything from people to money to work, soaking up the behaviours for their own lives.
2. Don't jump in with solutions
As a parent, it's normal to want to fix your children's problems. Yet, jumping in with a solution isn't always what children want or need. Before you step in when they are upset, always ask what they need from you. With small children, do they want a cuddle/reassurance or a solution? With older children, do they want to help or do they need to vent? Holding back helps you discover what your child needs and also promotes resilience in your children.
3. Reward behaviour that is positive
Rewards are a great way to encourage positive behaviour and stop us, as parents from focusing on the negatives. So if you see your child helping out around the house, being kind when a sibling is upset or just simply working hard, acknowledge it. And remember, rewards don't have to be monetary. Kids value several things, so perhaps, tell them how proud you are or offer a more extended bedtime or an extra hour on devices.
4. Help your child to prepare for the future
Helping your children prepare for the future is one of the best skills to pass on. A study from the Money Advice Service has highlighted the power all parents possess to shape the habits of their children and enable them to be financially capable adults.
What can help is regular pocket money and teaching them the foundations of good money habits. This can be done with GoHenry, and the Money Missions feature, which teaches your children about responsible spending and helps them develop good financial habits.
5. Allow your kids to make mistakes
Kids cannot learn if they aren’t allowed to make mistakes, be it with their spending, their behaviour or how much work they put in at school. Allowing them space to make mistakes and to learn from them helps them to discover how to recover from a setback, how to be responsible and how to make better future decisions.
6. Establish and set rules together
No one likes being told what to do, and kids are more likely to resist if they don't understand the reasons behind the rules you are setting. The trick is to set rules together to give your children a sense of control by giving them a choice within a choice.
So with screen-time, say do you want an hour after school and an hour before bed, or two hours before dinner? You can do the same with spending pocket money, asking them if they want to save half of their pocket money a week or a third.
7. Be consistent
Nothing makes parenting harder than inconsistency, it confuses children and makes parenting harder. If you make bedtime 8 pm one night and let it slide to 9 pm the next night, you are asking for trouble. Consistent parenting means clear boundaries and expectations are set and kept to. This then provides children with a sense of safety, and enables you to parent at your best.
8. Encourage your child to be independent
A child’s mission in life is to be independent. So when your child is developmentally capable of putting their toys away, getting dressed, and spending their own money, let them do it themselves. Encouraging independence is good for their confidence, self-reliance and your sanity. Plus making sound decisions requires practice, which can only come from independent experiences.
9. Encourage goal setting
Goal setting is a powerful habit to teach your child. It not only develops responsibility - as success or failure depends on what they put into it - but also self-confidence, as nothing beats the feeling of meeting your own goal. A great way to help kids understand goal setting is by helping them set up a range of short and mid term saving goals on the GoHenry app.
10. Explain your decisions - but don't over explain
Explain yourself once, and move on. It sounds harsh but getting drawn into a discussion about your decisions is a waste of time. Children and parents often have different perspectives, and often no amount of logic will help. Also, different views don't have to be reconciled. It's okay for your child to be unhappy or disappointed with what you say.
11. Believe in your child
Believing in your child is about more than knowing they are talented, intelligent, and kind. It's also about believing they are capable and can do things without you, such as make good decisions, stay safe and look after themselves. Not being a hovering parent helps a child to feel confident and secure to be themselves.
12. Remember, there is no one right way to raise a child
Above all bear in mind that getting hung up on not being a good parent or how you should be parenting hinders parenting as it makes you second guess yourself. Every one of us is different, so trust that you will do a good job and pass on the skills your child needs to be a secure and happy adult.