Parenthood is perhaps one of the most challenging jobs, but also the most rewarding when the children we dearly love grow into wonderful individuals.
Of course the journey can be stressful and not easy all the time if combined with other external challenges. Regardless of the obstacles, all parents do and try their best to raise a healthy and happy independent child.
Although there are no specific rules to be a good parent, some psychologists consider that the following principles may help parents to easily build a stable bond with their offspring in order to ensure a healthy development:
It is easy to get caught in the swirls of life and career, but parenting should receive as much attention as other aspects. Whenever you have a break or a free weekend, invest your time and energy in activities with your child, such as homework, painting, art craft, etc. It will undoubtedly teach your child a valuable set of social and behavioural skills, while creating the sense of harmony and secure emotional environment.
Your child will rely on your support and guidance throughout early childhood and adolescence, which is why it is highly necessary to setup few rules that will regulate your child’s behaviour. (For a better understanding of the long term effects of boundaries on children’s emotional and behavioural development, please read this article )
However, an important part of boundaries relies on their consistency. It may not always be easy to say “no” to your child, but it is essential that you do not bend the rules or show inconsistency in behaviour. Keeping your word and being an example of your own rule will prevent your child from developing trust issues. Furthermore, an inconsistent set of rules will teach your child that if s/he puts pressure on you, there will be a chance for his misbehaviour to be tolerated.
3) Explain Your Decisions
Children have an innate curiosity of their surroundings and most of the time they will ask many Why’s and How’s. Sometimes it may be tiring for a parent to be constantly bombarded with questions at every move. Nevertheless, you should never forget that your child needs to understand the cause of your decisions, the purpose of your actions and their consequences. A plain and sharp answer “I know better” or “I say so” will give your child the false information that it is alright to make decisions based on impulsiveness and focus on immediate gratification.
4) Promote Your Child’s Independence
While a child depends on parents’ guidance, they also have a strong sense of independence and again, parents play a pivotal role in promoting a healthy development of freedom of choices and decision-making. For example, when your child wants to choose a toy or a cloth, discuss with him/her the options, pros and cons and give him/her the chance to make the final decision when appropriate. It will certainly help your child build a sense of self-control.
However, it is important not to mistake acts of rebellion or disobedience for signs of autonomy.
5) Respect Your Child
The quality of your relationship with your child will determine his/her behaviour in future relationships. Whether you are tired, stressed or busy, make sure you do not transfer your frustration to your offspring. S/he does not have the ability to understand that you may have had a bad day. All your child wants is affection and your attention, so do not deprive him/her of them as it may have a profound effect on his/her self-esteem and confidence.
6) Encourage and Praise Good Behaviour
As mentioned above, your child will watch everything you do and will rely on your support, which may explain some of his/her actions. In otherwords, your child will imitate your behaviour thinking that it is correct and therefore, s/he will be appreciated for it.
Whenever your child accomplishes something or successfully completes a task, give him a descriptive appraisal and not just a simple “Well done!” or “Good boy/girl ”
S/he needs to understand why his/her action is appreciated and how efficient it was.
7) Avoid Comparisons
Sometimes parents use or used to compare their children to others with the purpose of showing them examples of accomplishments or good behaviour. Such attitude must be avoided as it exposes the child to the risk of developing the inferiority complex. The child will grow thinking that what s/he does is never satisfactory and will attempt to gain recognition through various harmful activities such engaging in antisocial behaviour or toxic substances abuse.
Each child has his own skills and qualities. Instead of shaping him/her into someone else, try to cultivate and support the growth of his/her personality.