The start of the year is a great time for reflection, and setting new directions and goals. We do so at work and in our personal lives, so why not set some goals to become a better parent in 2015.
I’ve listed 10 very different ideas below to guide and inspire you to reinvigorate your parenting this year. Read on and choose one or two ideas to focus on in the coming months.
1. Build redundancy into your parenting You don't want your kids living with you when they’re forty so you had better start making yourself redundant right now. Expect kids to help at home without being paid and develop their self-help skills from the earliest possible age. If your kids are dependent on you then start small and work from there.
2. Build self-belief in kids It is self-belief rather than ability that holds many kids back from really achieving their best. Parents mirror back to their children how they see themselves. If you are naturally negative start by focusing on children’s strengths, let them know how they can improve and give them real responsibilities so they learn that their parents have faith in them.
3. Talk less when kids misbehave Do you repeat yourself when your kids don’t do as you ask? Perhaps you raise your voice to be heard. Don’t. It leads to parent-deafness. Act rather than repeat yourself or shout. Put the meal on the table rather than remind them to come to dinner. Turn the TV off if they are fighting rather shout for some peace and quiet. This year talk less when kids are less than perfect.
4. Choose your battles wisely If you always seem to be fighting with one or two of your kids sit back and assess what’s important and what’s not, and then only fight over major stuff. Fighting over minor issues burns up parent energy and damages relationships. Make a list of minor and major issues as a reminder.
5. Help kids appreciate what they have Some children have a default mechanism that is both negative and self-centred. They are never happy and they always want more. You can change their way of thinking with effort. Start by encouraging him or her to look on the bright side and be thankful for what they have.
6. Encourage kids to be self-occupiers Parents underestimate the importance of kids being able to keep themselves busy. Spending time on their own encourages self-initiated play, is good for their mental health and is a pre-requisite for success at school. If you are your child’s home entertainment machine then you can change. First, avoid rushing in when children seem bored. Then suggest ideas rather than provide entertainment when they’re bored.
7. Don’t fight your children’s battles Leave some battles for your kids. Well-meaning parents can sometimes fight too many of their children’s battles, robbing them of opportunities to solve their own problems. If this is you, next time your child experiences some frustration or difficulty at school or at home stand back, offer support and suggestions but don’t solve the problem for him.
8. Have at least five family mealtimes a week If you want to influence your kids’ thinking then you need to talk with them. Mealtimes provide these opportunities as long as the TV is turned off and you avoid getting into fights about how much they eat. Set a goal of five shared mealtimes as a minimum.
9. Encourage a sense of generosity Moving kids from thinking 'me' to thinking 'we' takes work these days as families are small and parenting tends to be child, rather than family-focused. Develop a sense of altruism by encouraging your kids to volunteer, giving some pocket money to charity, and giving away old or unused toys.
10. Fast track your own development Being a modern parent means you always have to update your parenting skills and knowledge. After 30 years as a parenting educator I know that the most effective parents are those who have a rich repertoire of skills and knowledge at their disposal, which is constantly being updated. So take a course; go deep into an area such as emotional intelligence; confidence-building or resilience development; or develop a relationship with a respected professional who can guide your development.
Take the fast track to parenting success in 2015 and join me in Parentingideas Club. It’s a gold mine of parenting advice and information that’s guaranteed to enrich your parenting. Find our more.
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