Become the best parent you can be in the new year.
I think that most of us can agree that parenting can be tough!
We might feel that we can do a better job and that we would like to change and become a more happy, confident, fair and positive parent.
However, we don’t know how to and what steps to take. Or we might have tried, failed and given up!
But it IS possible to become the parent that you want and need to be for your family.
Here are five tips that will help you to become the parent you want to be in the New Year:
1. Put YOU first: yes you heard right, make time for you. If you are healthy and happy, things will be ok. A tired and stressed-out parent is a ‘good-for-nothing’ parent. Remember, that all our kids want is for mum and dad to be happy, as this must mean that they are good enough, worth being with and loved for who they are. So why not make an addition to your weekly diary; what you will do that makes you happy and relaxed and when will you do it? Then schedule in it.
2. Connected at all time: yes conflicts happen, but make sure you reconnect. If you and your child have had a battle, move on and connect afterwards with some positive time together. I know it can be hard to forgive and let go, but we need to move on from the battle and connect – otherwise we are developing a negative circle. Don’t forget that it is OK to say sorry if we feel we might have acted or behaved the wrong way. Say it as you mean it without adding guilt (guilt in the enemy to your happiness!).
3. Look for the good: As parent we tend to notice and focus on all the negatives in our kids the most. But remember that what we focus the most on we will cultivate and grow! So try to be your child’s ‘positive spy’. Catch your child being good, notice it and acknowledge that you like it and you will see more of it, ‘Tom, I noticed that you hung up you blazer, I really appreciate that’.
4. Come from a place of LISTENING: you might not like what you hear and that is ok! But your child still deserves to be heard. Listening is the strongest tool you have in your parenting toolbox. When your child is listened to he/she is more likely to: listen to you, reason with you and accept what you have said. ‘I can hear that you are mad because you can’t watch more television’, ‘I can hear that you are sad because…’.
5. Guide rather than punish: personally, I don’t like the word punishment, or even consequences, but prefer the word ‘guiding’ or ‘teaching’. Try to agree in advance, to your household rules (expectations from ALL family members) and agree to what will happen IF someone does not stick to them. IF someone then breaks the rules, it is their ‘choice’ since they knew what would happen if they chose to do what they did.
Then guide your child in a calm and matter of fact tone and body language; ‘because you hit your sister you chose not to watch TV tonight’.
Why not try this Parenting Goal setting activity:
• What am I doing well that I will continue with in the new year?
• What do I need to do differently, introduce, or do more of, in the year to come that will make me the parent I want to be?
• What do I need to STOP doing that will get in the way of making me the parent I want to be? I wish you a happy start to the new year.
Best New Year wishes, Mette Theilmann, Director of Predictable Parenting and founder of the Parenting Community app