NO ONE is born a parent; we all learn as we go. We are forever learning and adjusting. When we learn and know better, we do better.
Here are some commitments that will make you a better parent:
1. Commit to taking care of yourself and staying centered.
Commit to taking care of yourself and staying centered so you can be the happy, patient, encouraging parent your child deserves.
2. Commit to staying connected.
Separation happens. That’s why we have to repeatedly reconnect. Remember that quality time is about connection, not teaching, so it’s mostly unstructured. Hug your child first thing every morning and when you say goodbye. When you’re reunited later in the day, spend fifteen minutes solely focused on your child.
4. Commit to role modeling respect.
Want to raise kids who are considerate and respectful, right through the teen years? Take a deep breath, and speak to them respectfully. Not always easy when you’re angry, so remember the cardinal rules of managing your emotions with kids: You’re the role model, don’t take it personally, and this too shall pass!
5. Commit to looking for the needs behind your child’s behavior.
Your kid has a reason for whatever he’s doing that displeases you. It might not be what you consider a good reason, but it’s what’s motivating his behavior. If yelling at him about his behavior was going to change it, that would have worked already. Only by addressing the underlying need do we change a person’s behavior. Parents who address kids’ need pre-emptively by noticing problem areas (“Hmm…. looks like she wants to choose her own clothes, even if they don’t match!”) are rewarded with kids who cooperate.
6. Commit to guidance rather than punishment.
Kids only behave to please us. When we constantly criticize and discipline, they harden their hearts to us. Parents who lead by a loving example, address needs rather than focusing on misbehavior, redirect pre-emptively rather than punish.
7. Commit to remembering what’s important and an attitude of gratitude.
Stay positive and choose your battles. Every negative interaction with your child uses up valuable of the relationship capital. Focus on what matters.