Consider the following story as it relates to this week’s piece.
Becoming a parent was one of the most joyous moments of my life. And how could it not be? Being a dad was always one of my biggest dreams, so I wanted to make sure I was good at it. Before my daughter arrived, I tried mapping out what I would do in certain situations; I wanted to be prepared. Unfortunately, I discovered that parenting required quick, often split-second decisions, and sometimes I was scared out of my mind! Sometimes, when I least expect it, I doubt my own abilities as a father. Am I being too strict? Am I hovering too much? Now, years later, questions still flow through my head, but the one that always gets me is: Am I being a good enough parent?
One thing that many adults can agree on is that parenting is the single hardest job on the planet. While there have been tons of books written about parenting, no child comes with a manual. When you become a parent, you’re tasked with another human’s development, health and overall well-being! The pressure is on as soon as you become a mother or father (and sometimes the minute you find out you’re expecting), but it’s important to remember that nobody does the job perfectly, and that’s okay!One thing that many adults can agree on is that parenting is the single hardest job on the planet. Click To Tweet
Parents and children come in different shapes, sizes, temperaments, personalities, etc. It’s no surprise that sometimes you’ll feel overwhelmed and question your own abilities. On those really tough days, you may wonder whether you’re even cut out for raising kids at all. We get it. So to help you stay on track or to get back to being the kind of parent you envisioned yourself to be way back when, our psychologists have prepared some valuable pointers to keep in mind.
Parenting is full of hardships and blessings. You don’t have to do it alone; please know that it’s perfectly fine to ask for help doing it. Contact Rice Psychology Group in Tampa today to learn more!
Keep These in MindDon’t ignore the good things that your kids do. Click To Tweet
As parents from different backgrounds, cultures and belief systems, it can be hard to figure out what might and might not work on a daily basis when raising your kids. It’s great to try different ways to encourage your kids, reward them for their efforts and teach them right from wrong. Our main message to you is to do what you believe is best for your kids, what feels right in your gut. With that said, if you’re looking for parenting strategies that are based on research findings as well as an understanding of child development and psychology, consider the following:
- Remember, parenting is the hardest job on the planet. No matter how hard we try, being perfect at it is an impossibility. The best we can do is to be kind, loving, encouraging, forgiving and even strict when the time calls for it. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to be imperfect.
- Kids yearn for parental attention above all else – at least until they’re teens, that is! Don’t deny this to them. Put your phone away or leave your chores for later – take time now to give them your full attention. Try it – you might find that it feels good for you and your kids to be more cooperative.
- Pay attention to the positives. Don’t ignore the good things that your kids do. We have a tendency to pay more attention to the bad things instead of letting them know that you’re also noticing the great things. Appreciate them whenever they do something helpful, respectful and generous. By only acknowledging the bad things, you may inadvertently be reinforcing this behavior since it’s the only way they’ll get your attention.
- Be empathetic when your kids are upset. Remember that they have feelings, frustrations and problems just like everyone else in the world. Explain to them that their feelings are understandable and that you experience them also. This can help them feel less alone with these emotions. Never ignore them when they become upset that their baseball game was cancelled because of poor weather or when they have chores to do. Explain to them that you understand their feelings because you experienced the same. It’s just a part of life!
- Has your son or daughter ever expressed their displeasure with something through low-level annoying behavior? If you have teens, then we’re certain that you have! Annoying noises, tapping, whining and complaining can be characteristics of kids who aren’t happy when things don’t go their way. It’s perfectly normal and a great strategy for dealing with these is to ignore them. What isn’t normal, however, are behaviors that are dangerous, hurtful and destructive. These types of behaviors should be addressed and never ignored.
- Plan and anticipate whenever possible. Let your kids know what you expect in terms of behavior and compliance. Before going out to dinner with family or on a vacation, explain how you expect your child to act, where they should be and even the volume that their voice should be at. By setting expectations at the outset, you provide kids with a framework for their own behavior.
- It’s important for parents to follow through. Punishments and negative consequences need to work for parents first and foremost before they pass them onto their kids. For example, if you make it a point for your child to have their phone on them at all times and to answer when you call, threatening to take it away may bother your kids but is likely to inconvenience you even more! So look out for the tendency to make empty threats or promises. Instead, say what you mean and mean what you say to your kids.
- Kids take after their parents, so act around them the way that you want them to act. If you’re disrespectful to neighbors or sales workers out in public, your kids will pick up on this and might adopt your behaviors. Now, keep in mind that the way we act or say things seems like second nature to us, but if your child does or says something that you don’t approve of, there’s a chance that they got it from you. It’s okay to take a step back and reevaluate the way you act around them.
Helping You be a Great Mom or Dad!Kids take after their parents, so act around them the way that you want them to act. Click To Tweet
Many members of our team here at Rice Psychology Group are parents, so we know just how difficult the job is. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re finding parenting to be overwhelming or just need a helping hand to go in the right direction. We can offer you an opportunity to sit with your kids in a comfortable and open environment to talk about whatever issues you’re having. Contact us in Tampa today for more information.