Better Parenting

Tips for Better Parenting

By Chris Thompson

Being a parent is not an easy job, but we all have to figure it out once we have our kids. We all love our kids so much; maybe more than ourselves (that’s no exaggeration) and we just want to be the very best for them. Part of giving them the best is better parenting.

If anybody could write a 100%-never-fail manual for parents, I’m sure we’d all flock to the bookstore to get one—no matter how expensive it is. But reality check time – there’s no such thing. The best that every parent can do is to learn from other parents’ experiences, and apply it to their daily life.

If there’s one better parenting tip that I really like, it’s “Don’t compare your kids with each other.” I mean, how many times have you heard a parent say “My Jake is the most well-behaved kid I have ever seen”? Imagine how this makes Jake’s brother feel. Put yourself in his shoes. You’ve just defined your model of thinking out loud and now Jake’s brother feels that, no matter what, he can’t possibly be as well behaved as his bro. Guess what? In his eyes you’ve just given him a license to misbehave. There’s no downside risk since he knows he can’t be as good as his brother. He may as well earn his spot as the misbehaving child now.

Most parents actually DO realize that kids learn from them (either through words or actions). But – and this is a big but – most parents fail to actually keep this in mind when talking or doing. Knowledge is only part of the battle. Implementing the knowledge is what really matters.

Our kids learn from us while we speak with other adults. They learn from our facial expressions, our actions, and our reactions. If you yell at your spouse your kids will grow up learning that this behavior is acceptable. If you provide reasons such as, “Because I said so”, your kids will grow up thinking that they should submit to authority at all times. Do you REALLY want them to have that belief?

Another major tip for better parenting is to allow your child to make his own mistakes.

Seeing your child commit mistakes and just letting them be is very difficult for most parents. But I believe we need to step back and think about the risk versus the reward more deeply. Most of the time mistakes are harmless. Obviously you’re not going to let your child cross the street without looking – that is not a safe mistake to make. But what about all the other harmless mistakes kids would make without our intervention? They’re learning opportunities and you should let your child learn through is own experiences and mistakes.

Better communication is the next tip for better parenting. Always, always, always communicate with your child. Stop assuming you know what your child’s problem is, or why he is upset. Learn to ask good questions. Learn to influence your child’s emotional state through your own communication skills. I’m sure you are already aware that a strong marriage is based on good communication. Guess what? ALL relationships that are strong are based upon that same strong communication. A Parent-child relationship is no exception to the rule.

Chris Thompson headshotAbout The Author:
Chris Thompson is the creator of “Talking to Toddlers”, an audio course for parents. He teaches parents how to overcome the normal problems that every Mom and Dad faces with kids by learning better communication skills.

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