Once I became a parent, I thought providing my kids with unconditional love and nurturing was all it took to raise successful and happy kids. But the moment I realize I may fail my kids due to my emotions and overprotective nature, my entire world began to crumble. My heart sunk deep in my chest, and many thoughts started crowding my mind. I began to research and study strategies that I would need to implement, to adjust my parenting skills to raise successful adults. Is this what I wanted? Absolutely not. However, as parents, we don't recognize how our past has influenced our way of thinking. So we apply rules that we believe would be in the best interest of our child, but instead, we are unintentionally damaging our kids and setting them up for failure.
How do we as parents redirect and reposition ourselves to be effective in our parenting skills?
1. Recognize and accept that our parenting style is ineffective. The first part of changing anything in life is recognizing our shortcomings and acknowledging our mistakes (calling it for what it is; being truthful to ourselves). Once we pass the stage of recognition, we can begin adjusting and changing specific things or areas that have been a blockage in our lives.
2. Be Flexible and Adaptable. It is being willing to shift from one parenting style to another for the benefit of your child. Also, being open to changes based on the child's developmental level or milestones. Try different parenting methods until something works. Once you have developed an effective parenting style, begin to change and implement it, and then the next step is to lock in the new skill by adapting it for the long term.
3. Be available to take constructive criticism and advice. It is helpful to read other parents' experiences on what worked and what didn't. Constructive criticism is the process of offering valid and well-reasoned opinions, involving both positive and negative comments in a manner that is friendly and not oppositional. We learn best from our own experiences as well as others. Parenting is a role that requires trial and error. Yes, we will make mistakes from time to time, but growing and developing from those mistakes, will help us improve and become better parents.
4. Change language and tone. We tend to demand and talk down to our kids instead of treating them like people with feelings. For example, instead of telling your child, they "should do something." You might want to mention that they "might want to try something" instead. giving them a suggestion allows them to decide and develop decision-making skills to carry them through life. Instead of feeling like you are ordering them around and demanding them to do things your way, you have now shown them that you consider their feelings and opinion.
5. Enroll in a parenting course or program that teaches child development. It is imperative to enroll in courses that provide advice on how to be effective when parenting. Parenting programs offer a detailed outline on the development of a child's mind, how parents should approach disagreements, and how to get your child to listen. We think we know it all in parenting until we hit a stumbling block and realize what we thought we knew wasn't enough to help groom our kids into becoming confident and booming adults.
As a parent of two boys, it is safe to say parenting is not an easy role. Most parents agree, especially when our kids' transition from the Baby and toddler stages to the adolescent and teenage stages (which are perceived to be by many parents as more challenging). I’m proud to say I’ve taken the necessary steps to improve myself so I can be an exceptional mother to my boys. Parenting requires a lot of training to help raise kids into becoming thriving, successful and happy adults with purpose.