When I reflect on all the challenges I have faced in life, I can honestly say that nothing has been more challenging than being a parent. Don’t get me wrong; I love being a parent. I love it so much that I am pregnant with my third child. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. It’s not. On my best days, I smile and pat myself on the back because I made it, but on my worst days, I end up in tears. The struggle is real.
But despite the tough days, I never give up hope. I know I am a good parent. But I also know that I can do better. We can all do better. But even if we want to do better, how do we actually make that happen? How do we juggle all of our current responsibilities while focusing on making improvements?
I think it’s possible if we all vow to make small changes that can potentially have a big impact on our parenting and our kids. This isn’t an area where you decide to go big or go home. Do things that are realistic and reasonable because that’s the only way to introduce lasting change into your life.
So if you are looking to improve your parenting skills without adding stress to your life, here are 7 ways you can do so in 2017.
We live in a world filled with distractions. From social media to demanding jobs, there are distractions at every turn. As parents, we have to learn how to limit those distractions so we can be fully present with our children. By establishing boundaries and limiting the number of distractions that we allow in our daily lives, we are able to spend more quality time with our kids. It also enables us to set an example that we will want them to follow for years to come.
Focus on quality
Having a busy lifestyle can leave parents feeling guilty about how much time they spend with their children. I know I struggle with this at times because I have an aging mother who requires a lot of my time and I am an entrepreneur. I often feel like I am being pulled away from spending time with my kids when they need me. But I realized that the quality of the time we spend together is far more important than the quantity. So when I am with my kids, I make the most of every minute. I listen to what they want to say, I play what they want to play, and we thoroughly enjoy our time together.
Even the best parents yell from time to time. It’s not intentional, but it can still be damaging. The problem is that yelling rarely solves anything. Your kids are not more likely to listen to you when you yell. The opposite actually occurs. They tune you out. As parents, we have to try our best to communicate with our kids without raising our voices. Yelling increases anxiety, causes people to shut down, and it also sets a poor example. Less yelling and more calmness is definitely the way to go.
Lead by example
As much as you want your kids to listen to what you say, they actually pay a lot more attention to what you do. We all want our kids to be healthy, shoot for their dreams, and live their best lives, but then we try to get by without doing the same for ourselves. One of the best things we can do for our kids is to lead by example. If we want our kids to be their best, we have to let them see us doing the same.
As parents, we may have the best intentions, but comparing our child to anyone else is rarely a good thing. Whether you compare your child to a sibling, or to yourself, it leaves your kid feeling like she isn’t good enough. It’s damaging. Kids need to feel like they are enough, flaws and all, and that you aren’t constantly hoping and wishing that they were like someone else. Let your kid know that you see him and hear him and respect him for who he is.
What are you planning to do to be a better parent this year?