I just did a workshop for ‘first time’ parents and it was heart-warming to see how many of them wanted to do and be their best as they came up with questions like, ‘So what is Good Parenting ? What do I need to do to be more effective? How do I know I am not going to mess my kid up!
Well, the first thing I do is take a deep breath and then I tell them to do the same!
Parenting is not meant to be so stressful, you need to relax, loosen up and enjoy it! Sure, Parenting is crucial as you mould a young life and of course as parents we all want the best for our kids, but in the process you cannot stress yourself or your child out. Beware of becoming a ‘helicopter’ parent [ a parent that ‘hovers’ over their child constantly like a helicopter, giving their child minimal space to grow, express…or even make mistakes]
So, here are some of the basics of good and effective parenting:
Be loving but allow independence – as parents we feel the urge to show our immense love for our child by ‘doing’ everything for them, fulfilling their hearts desire, buying them things…no parent ever wants to see their child cry, right? I would say, yes, as a parent you can never ‘over love’ your child…but be careful that you do not ‘over pamper’ your child! Part of your responsibility as a parent is to help your child be independent, responsible and emotionally strong, as your prepare them to fly the nest… that is the law of nature. Think about it, ever seen a nest where the parent birds are still feeding their ‘grown up’ child! So, instead of ‘doing’ for your child, ‘teach them to do’, as they learn the crucial life skills of being responsible and independent…remember, one day soon they will need to fend for themselves!
Be firm but respectful- as parents you are the role models [whether you like it or not!], you are the adult and your job is not to be your child’s ‘best’ friend but rather to be their mentor and guide! Remember, you are the head and you need to set ground rules as a parent for acceptable behaviours. At the same time, as you set these rules, make sure you are being fair and respectful towards your child. Involve them as you set these rules and the consequences of not following them. Beware of being a dictator type of parent. [ a parent who is very strict, dominating and sets a lot of rules that children are expected to obey …no questions asked! Dictator parents may yell, threaten and use physical force to control their children.]