Every parent in the history of the world has uttered the words “Parenting is not easy”, and understandably, every other person has greeted this statement with scepticism. The fact remains that parenting is a challenge, adventure and sudden rush of new experiences in itself. First time parents have before them an entire new universe of problems to tackle, aside from their own lives. It can be daunting to be handed the reigns to an entire new life and the ability to shape the views, opinions, ideals and lifestyle of a person. While the difference between good and bad parenting is fairly subjective, the bottom line remains that a good parent is one who puts efforts into ensuring the wellbeing and progress of their child. The following are a few key points that anyone striving to do right by their children should attempt to incorporate in their own parenting behaviour.
It is important to remember that being a good parent is not synonymous with being a good human entirely. Nobody is perfect, and a parent should not attempt to project themselves as a perfect being to the children. Accepting and being open about personal flaws, mistakes, and errors in judgement can actually be a very constructive way of teaching children that mistakes are a part of human life and that single mistakes do not define a person. Moreover, it can teach values of humility. Parents should never be afraid to accept their own mistakes and apologies to their children.
Similarly, it is important to understand the fact that no two children are the same. Just because a previous child behaved a certain way or preferred a certain activity does not guarantee that other children will feel the same way. Similarly, comparing children to their peers and deeming them as competition can be highly detrimental to their overall growth and their mental well being. Children must be given due freedom to be themselves and there should be no belittling or comparisons. They should be encouraged to explore their own interests and personalities.
While not interfering with their personal growth, it is equally important that parents support the children in their endeavours and provide due encouragement.
While children may be strong willed and may consider themselves completely capable of making their own decisions, it must be kept in mind that young children, and teenagers, are susceptible to peer influences and may make bad decisions. Here, there is a fine line between stopping them completely and letting them explore and understand their mistakes through their own experiences. While it is never easy, sometimes, the best action as a parent may be to let the children explore on their own and make their own mistakes and have their own problems. A good parent must always be on hand to provide advice and to assist them through tough times but must not pressure them or force them into actions which they deem appropriate as an adult.
SETTING GOOD EXAMPLES
An important thing which every parent must remember is that in their early years, and well into their teenage, children are greatly influenced by their parents’ actions and behaviour. Hence, it becomes very important for parents to set good examples and follow the behaviours which they are attempting to instil in their children. It would be very hypocritical and unfair to expect children to adopt practices which their parents are not personally following.
In terms of punishing and chastising children, it is important for a good parent to understand that mistakes are a part of life and rebelling is to be expected from children, especially in their teenage years. Parents must be calm and collected and must not lose their temper or be unfair in their judgements and punishments. While it is acceptable for the children to be punished for their faults, they must also receive a fair explanation and a method to redeem themselves. Another suggestion which has been put forth in recent times is positive disciplining methods which involve rewarding children for good behaviour instead of handing out only punishments for wrongdoing.
Overall, it is important for parents to understand that there is no specific yardstick associated with good parenting. They must simply attempt to do things which are in the best interests of their children while not being overwhelmed by the incredible task upon them. In the end, parenting should be taken up as a new experience and it is important to have fun during these years.
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