Parenting tips: How to be a better parent?
There are different educational styles. We can recognize an authoritarian educational style, based on respect for authority as such. An authoritarian style is based on “It’s done this way because I say so”. In this educational system, fear rules, and children’s behavior is influenced by fear.
Is being good parents a task that you can learn or do you become one day by day together with your child? Answering this question isn’t simple but one thing is certain: the fear of not being up to the role, confusion and uncertainty about being good parents is quite common. The truth is that there are no precise rules to follow or rather no person takes a course to learn how to be a father or mother. The role of parent is a continuous discovery, in which different stages of growth are faced, always challenging and to reflect on.
Kids need consistency! Creating an environment where your child knows what to expect can teach them to trust and respect parental authority. For example, empty threats have the potential to create a situation in which the child does not take seriously mentioning the consequences of an objectionable action. If you say you’re going to take video games away from him for a week and then you have to, stick with it for the whole week. Furthermore, coherence between both parents is extremely important:you can’t think of raising a child with different directives and expect him to behave well and as we want! Imagine that at work your manager tells you to do something a certain way and then another manager scolds you for how you did the job and so on. Has it ever happened to you? It is neither pleasant nor educational!
Reward positive behavior
Research has shown time and time again that positive reinforcement (praise, rewards, etc.) is the key to changing behavior. For this reason it is advisable to ‘catch’ your child behaving well and praise or otherwise reinforce him or her for the desirable behavior. While this can sometimes be seen as a small form of bribery, it is helpful to think of it as a way to increase the likelihood that good behaviors will be repeated. For example, you can buy ice cream for siblings who are playing together in a polite and proactive way as a reward for their cooperativeness.
Ignore the negative behavior
Parents are often unaware of the influence of their attention. Children often behave in such a way that they feel a reaction in the adult. Even just eliminating the reaction will lead to a decrease in the frequency of the ignored behavior. To use this strategy effectively, you should also refer to strategy number 1, as the behavior in question is likely to escalate in an attempt to elicit a reaction at first. For example, a child who initially complains begins to complain more loudly because he is ignored by the parent but eventually learns that he must speak more appropriately to get what he wants. At this point the parent refers to strategy number 2 and responds positively to the desired behavior. Furthermore,punishments most of the time don’t work or have too many side effects!
Be clear and specific about your expectations
When making a request to your child it is important that he understands what you expect of him to avoid confusion which can lead to stressful situations for both your child and you. For example, don’t tell a child “get ready for bed”, but instead resort to more specific directives such as, “brush your teeth, wash your face and put on your pajamas”. This leaves no room for misunderstandings about what is expected of the child.
Play with a child like a child
The bond between a father and son is often strengthened during moments of play where both of you are completely immersed and focused on each other. Unfortunately, this aspect of parenting is often pushed aside due to the difficulties of today’s stressful and fast-paced world. Taking time to interact with your child on his or her level is one way to show how much you appreciate his interests and uniqueness. Let loose , drop down and play with Legos or Barbies and you may find yourself having as much fun as your child plus the result of strengthening your bond!
Don’t point fingers
We all make mistakes and make mistakes. This also applies to children. It is important to accept that even the little ones can make mistakes. This does not mean denying the error, on the contrary. It is important to acknowledge the mistake, but without accusing or blaming them. The consequences of a mistake the child already feels on his own skin. It’s best to avoid constantly pointing out the mistake you made. In fact, children need understanding and encouragement. Two magic words that help little ones feel loved and accepted for who they are. Feeling understood, welcomed and supported becomes fundamental for a serene and harmonious development, allowing a good level of self- esteem and confidence in one’s abilities. It is important to believe in childrenand in their potential, helping them to recognize their limits and finding together a way to cope with them.
When there is trust and dialogue , all difficulties can be overcome. It’s important to listen to children even when they tell things that, to the adult ear, may seem insignificant. Never minimize the problems they bring. Instead, we need to accept their emotions and try to understand together how to deal with what worries them. Phrases such as “These are not problems” do not help minimize the difficulties, quite the contrary. Phrases of this type block communication and trust between parents and children.
We need to listen to what children bring. Often, the adult’s tendency is to propose solutions. However, this is not always enough. Children, like adults, need to be heard and understood. Little ones, like adults, don’t want to be judged, because they know that some of their fears are irrational or some thoughts they make shouldn’t be done. For this reason, the best parents must listen to their children, welcoming their emotions , and trying to find a way to cope with them together. The solutions, in fact, must be built together, not descended from above. In this way, moreover, children have the opportunity to experience that sense of self-efficacy that allows them to develop self- esteemand self-confidence to face small and big daily challenges.
The limited times and the thousands of things to do force parents, at times, to take the place of the children. Preparing the backpack or picking up the games are tasks that adults often do to speed things up. In fact, it is known that if the activity is requested of the child, it will take much longer to complete it. Just think, for example, of getting ready in the morning before going to school. The best parents, however, strive to promote autonomy and responsibility, making children feel active protagonists of everyday life.
Care should also be taken not to become overprotective parents. To prevent children from making mistakes or getting into difficulty, parents often take their place. In this way, however, children struggle to experience their autonomy. In fact, children have no way of discovering their strengths and training their most sensitive aspects. By encouraging autonomy, on the other hand, children learn to get to know each other and get involved. In this way, every day children try to grow and improve.