“The thing about parenting rules is there aren’t any. That’s what makes it so difficult.” — Ewan McGregor
Parenting: A full time job where you’re the boss, but you’re also mostly clueless about what you’re doing with no advice on parenting that can make you feel sure either. You can neither complain (except to friends who will soon get tired of listening to you,) and nor can you expect a reward or a bonus when you think you did something right (except for maybe a smile on your child’s face, which let’s accept, is the biggest bonus of them all.)
Anyhow, the fact remains that it’s the toughest job on the planet and there’s probably no quick course you can take to make sure you get the right results. Most parenting is practising what we’ve learned from our parents growing up, and following our gut instinct which takes some time and patience to listen to, to begin with.
But however difficult it may be, we know that our parenting style will have the most effect on our children and who they grow up to be as adults in society. This is the age when you can foster empathy, confidence, self reliance, self control, kindness, values and social skills that they would require to become a happy adult in a functioning society.
While there are no set rules, we have some basic positive parenting tips for you to follow to practice good parenting for the healthy upbringing of your child.
1. Be mindful that they learn what they see
One thing children don’t know about or can identify is what’s good or bad. They don’t have our judgement when growing up and they can’t put a label such as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ on the things they see. And most importantly, they’re very impressionable when they’re young. So every time you act or react in front of your children, you need to realise that they will behave the way you behave with other people and also how you behave with them.
The fact remains, that the only constant example of the real world and its behaviour is you, so they will behave just like you do. So one of the good parenting tips you can live by is to make sure you are always mindful of how you are in front of them and observe your own actions and reactions, especially when interacting with your child.
2. Give respect to get respect
We’ve all heard this principle in our lives but rarely practice it. This gains even more importance as one of the important parenting tips when you become a parent. We must treat our children how we wish to be treated.
Since they’re most impressionable when they’re young and are learning from you constantly. So however you treat them, is how they’re going to treat you too. Therefore, it’s a must to treat them like you wish to be treated.
3. Entertain their questions and actually listen to what they say
The one thing we all have to deal with as parents or caregivers is constantly entertaining children’s questions. They want to know the ‘why’s’ behind everything (shamefully reminding us that we too don’t know much about the world ourselves,) and they also want to do everything we’re doing, whether or not we can do it well in the first place.
Although it can be annoying at times, what we should remember is that this is the time when we can nourish, or dampen our child’s curiosity. So even when you don’t feel like it, it’s good practice to make sure you always, always entertain your child’s questions to nourish their curiosity. You could also invest in some educational toys that nourish their curiosity and creativity, without them demanding too much attention from you!
So one of the positive parenting tips to live by is that even if their questions or their wondering is not interesting to you, you should remember that it means the world to them right now. And entertaining their curiosity can go a long way in their adult lives as well.
When they’re curious, the world will always be wonderful and exciting for them. And in the process, who knows, we might gain our curiosity and look at the world through the eyes of a child again!
4. Carve out some quality time for play
This is one of the good parenting tips that seems like a no-brainer for some, but quite difficult for some others. No matter which lot you belong to, remind yourself that play time with your kids is extremely important for them to enjoy learning as a child.
Like they say, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. So make sure you’re not making learning dull for them by not including necessary and quality time for play. And of course, even for successfully doing that, you need to work hard to make sure you get the right kind of material to play with.
5. Establish rules but don’t be too harsh
Last but not least, it can’t be all fun and games, or your child can end up taking you for granted. So establish rules for your child around the house, as to what they shouldn’t be doing. (Think, limited screen time, a dedicated space for play, personal hygiene, a good amount of study time, listening to elders, etc.)
On the other hand, you can’t be too harsh or you can end up negatively reinforcing that behaviour onto them. They might become bullies to their friends, and worse, could re-enact that behaviour in their adult life.
In conclusion, our advice on parenting is to be a friend to your child when needed, but also play the role of a parent, and nurturer at all times. It can get tough sometimes, but is always rewarding if you do it with good intention. There’s no guarantee or surety of what you’re doing will always be correct or good for your child. And there’s no guarantee they won’t annoy or frustrate you. But this can be the biggest learning experience for both you and your child.