Being a parent is one of the most challenging roles out there, but it’s also rewarding, fulfilling and gratifying. Of course, everyone needs to learn how to be an effective parent, and this doesn’t necessarily happen the minute your child enters the world. As your child grows, your parenting style will need to adapt too.
How do you parent effectively?
When children get older, they can take on more responsibility, for example. While your role when nurturing a baby may be to provide the security, comfort and care they need at all times, when you’re parenting an older child, your role will also involve encouraging independence and boosting self-esteem.
With the right support, advice, and information, you can ensure you’re parenting effectively at every stage of your child’s life.
1. Be approachable
Whether your child is 5, 15 or 25, you want them to feel they can come to you with any issues they may be experiencing. Make sure your child feels comfortable talking to you, and that they know you’ll always make time for them.
Being a parent often means being frazzled, exhausted and frustrated, but this shouldn’t prevent your kids from seeking comfort when they need it. Whilst it’s easy to get caught up in the myriad of tasks which need to be completed on a daily basis, listen when your child needs to talk.
2. Offer praise
Parents are quick to interject when their children are behaving badly, but do you praise good behavior as often? Although it’s important to correct a child when they’re misbehaving, recognizing and rewarding good behavior is just as beneficial. As well as giving your child positive reinforcement, praising good behavior ensures you communicate with your child when they’re doing things well, as well as when they need a little more guidance.
Children need to be praised regularly and even small achievements can warrant a positive reaction.
The following behaviors are a great opportunity to praise your children:
- Helping to set the table for dinner
- Learning to tie their shoelaces
- Sharing toys
- Packing their school bag
- Playing nicely with friends
- Studying hard
- Showing kindness
3. Enforce limits
Every household needs to have rules, and your children should be aware of exactly what they are and how they’re enforced. Taking a consistent approach can be extremely helpful when it comes to setting limits and boundaries. Whilst children may try to argue against them, having clear limits helps to provide a sense of security for children and young people.
Whether you enforce a set bedtime, limit screen time or prohibit TV before homework, establishing non-negotiable household rules can make life easier for everyone in the family.
4. Follow through on consequences
Parents seem to spend a lot of time warning their kids about what will happen if they do x, y or z, but they don’t always follow through. If you tell your child that they will lose screen time if they don’t hang their clothes up, for example, you need to follow through with the consequence. If children realize that your warnings aren’t reinforced, they’ll quickly learn to ignore them.
Explaining what the consequence of a particular action or behavior will give the child enough time to weigh up their options and decide which course of action to take. If negative consequences, such as a time out or loss of screen time, follow specific behavior, they will be discouraged from acting in the same way again.
5. Collaborate with teachers
Working with your child’s teachers doesn’t just mean attending the end-of-year parent’s evening. Try to make yourself available for regular meetings with your child’s teacher, particularly if they have any concerns they want to raise with you. If your work schedule allows, volunteer your time at the school and take part in school activities.
Taking an active interest in your child’s education can have an extremely positive impact, both on your child’s academic performance and their confidence. Sitting with them when they do their homework, for example, allows you to spend quality time together and it also ensures that you’re aware of any academic difficulties they’re struggling with.
6. Be a role model
Children often mirror their parents behavior, so try to be a positive role model for your son or daughter. If you’re quick to anger or constantly irritable, for example, your child may think it’s okay to react angrily to situations too. Remember that children learn by watching and listening to their parents, so model behavior that you want your child to emulate.
7. Boost your child’s confidence
Many young people have issues with low self-esteem, but this is something you can address from a young age. Reacting positively to your child’s achievements can enhance their sense of self and lead them to be more confident. Even small achievements are worthy of high praise, so be sure to tell your children how well they’ve done something and how proud you are of them. Whilst verbal praise is an extremely effective way of boosting a child’s confidence, your body language, eye contact, and non-verbal communication plays a role too. Giving your child independence is a great way of increasing their self-confidence too, so be sure to give your child age-appropriate tasks to complete.
8. Spend time together as a family
Scheduling family time shows your children that they’re your priority, and relaxing family time can be a great opportunity to unwind and enjoy your kids’ company. Having a day out at the park, cooking together or enjoying a regular movie night are simple and stress-free ways to incorporate family time into a busy schedule.