Don’t forget to include these strategies in your effective parenting toolkit
Parenting is one of the roles that we are still trying to figure out. An underlying fear is always that we’re not doing a good enough job. What if we slip up once and destroy our kids in some way? What if this, and what if that? Make parenting more effective with these tips that have been proven, by research, to work.
Get Enough Sleep
If you’re wondering what sleep has got to do with parenting, consider the large body of research that shows a connection between lack of enough sleep and poor decision making, and when it comes to parenting, studies show that mothers who don’t get enough sleep are liable to be permissive with their kids. The permissive parenting style is characterised by low expectations from the parent and very few rules given to the child. The child has excessive freedom, and should they misbehave, they face very little consequence because the permissive parent rarely every disciplines them. This lax parenting style is problematic; because children raised this way tend to have behavioural problems as they grow up. Make sleep a priority, so you’re not tired or irritable and make poor decisions, or no decisions at all. These include not following through with discipline when your child disregards set rules, or saying yes when you ought to say no because you’re too tired to engage with them. Experts recommend seven to nine hours of sleep for adults. To make sure its quality sleep, avoid drinking caffeine too close to bedtime, and have a bedtime ritual that will help you fall asleep easily. Avoid working in bed, and if possible, keep electronics away from the bedroom.
Anita always maintained that she was going to be better than her parents. Their parenting style was authoritarian, and she recalls being terrified whenever her father got home from work because of the high demands he set and the harsh punishments that would follow any misbehaviour. He set rules, and provided little in the way of explaining why he set them, or why they were not allowed to do certain things. In the event she managed to ask for an explanation, harsh words would follow, and in her mother’s case, she would scream and yell at her and this, she says, might have been one of the reasons behind her low self-esteem. Fast-forward now: she is a mother and is mortified whenever she finds herself yelling at her daughter. She wonders why it even happens when she vowed to be different. Psychologists have pointed out that actions do speak louder than words and that we tend to subconsciously pick up what we observe from authority figures in our childhoods. That is why you might find yourself doing the exact same things your parents did, even when they are things that hurt you, or things you don’t approve of. Anita is trying to relearn the things she picked up; she tries to set rules with input from her daughter and provide reason for the rules. Studies show that when you engage with your child this way, it can bring you closer. This positive engagement can encourage positive social interaction and help them become better at solving problems in the future.
Spend Time with Their Children
If you have dinner with your children every other day, and during that time any one of you is on their phones, or watching television, that, science shows, is not an effective way of spending time with them. And, in fact, it can lead to behaviour problems. The more and better engaged with them, the better trust and love between you two is fostered. This is especially important when issues such as peer pressure arise. Let’s consider sex: if they know they can trust you with their concerns, they will approach you with questions about sex. If not, if you’re never there for them or fully present with them, they might turn to their peers or the internet and you don’t want that. I mean, what do their peers know about sex? Meaningful ties are forged if you have conversations and engage in other activities like reading, cooking, playing and exercising together. Cooking with them, for example, gives them more than a life skill. Take this time to catch up on their lives and create memories that will last forever. Research also shows that if you cook together they are likely to develop healthy eating habits. Reading together improves their literacy and communication skills as bonuses, and exercising together has obvious benefits. There are so many ways of having fun as a family. Studies also show that if you spend quality time with your children, they can have good social skills later in life.
Be Role Models
You can read all the parenting books you possibly can. You can master the theories of good parenting. You can sit your children down every now and again, and warn them against this and that, explaining why certain things are unacceptable in an honest and open way. You can preach, preach and preach some more about the virtues of drinking water. But when you preach water and drink wine, guess what your child is likely to do? He is likely to drink wine and might even repeat some of your mistakes later in life with their children. Children learn by example. They are smarter than we give them credit for and are likely to do what they observe. So, if you tell them not to yell at people and yet you yell at your partner when trying to solve problems, that’s what they might pick up. If you tell them it is important to be active and you never work out yourself, they will simply do what you do, not what you say.