4 months ago · lizzie · 0 comments
Are you engaging in good parenting?
This question of ‘good parenting’ is a common one every parent asks themselves from time to time. As a parent of a child (of any age), you can quickly begin to doubt your parenting skills when you hear the latest parenting news that contradicts what you thought you were doing well. For instance, your parents were most likely taught to sleep a new baby on it’s tummy. However we now know this is dangerous and SIDS advice is to sleep a baby on it’s back to avoid the potential for sudden infant cot death.
So how do you know if you’re doing a good job?
Besides the basics of ensuring your child is safe, secure, healthy and happy, there is one key ingredient to effective parenting
The No.1 Thing All Parenting Should Know Is How To Parenting With Consistency (including learning from mistakes & starting again)
Consistency has two elements:
- Being consistent with your parenting approach
- Tweaking things when your approach isn’t having the desired outcome
Let’s break these down a little further
Being consistent with your parenting approach
One of the most important (yet challenging) aspects of being a parent is being consistent. Consistency provides security and boundaries for children and helps them to develop healthy self esteems that are not dictated by your moods. When you parent inconsistently, your child becomes very insecure and riddled with self-doubt. This outcome of inconsistent parenting is often seen in older children who find it very stressful to make decisions, out of fear of making a mistake.
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, your child’s ‘pester power’, your moods, your child’s moods and the influence of others – all can impact on your ability to parent consistently. Children have a way of finding a parents weak spot and pestering until you let go – often after a few minutes of arguing. This behaviour of course makes being consistent a BIG challenge for parents.
You may have decided to be a calm, rational and reasonable parent, who is supportive and caring to your child. But… how does this parenting style hold up against a tantrum in public? How do you remain calm when you’re exhausted from work, or you’ve had a really bad day? These are the times when it is really hard to be consisten and yelling or raising your voice can become the norm. Contrary to your explicit desire to be calm and rational with your children. So what’s the answer?
The key to being consistent in your parenting style is trusting in yourself and in your methods of parenting. It is IMPOSSIBLE to be a consistent parenting when you have low self esteem.
Let’s say, one very hot afternoon, you finish work, pick up your child from school and decide to buy her an icy pole on the way home from school. You enter the service station store and she asked to have an ice cream. You are concerned about her recent weight gain, so you say “no” and offer her the icy pole again. She continues to pester you and begins to stamp her feet and get angry with you when you won’t give in. This scenario could go a number of ways:
Scenario 1: You ignore the tantrum. You continue to calmly ask her if she would like an icy pole. You finally tell her if she doesn’t want the icy pole, you’re happy to leave with nothing. She finally calms down and takes the icy pole. Later when things calm down you explain that her behaviour was not respectful and ruined a nice gesture from you. Next time, you hope she can be more gracious. She apologises and you move on.
Scenario 2: You get angry over the tantrum. You start yelling at her and telling her she is being very disrespectful and selfish. She responds by saying you don’t care about her and only think about yourself. You start to feel guilty for saying “no”. You give in to the tantrum and buy her the ice cream. She is so happy, but you feel terrible for giving in to something you things is unhealthy for her. She has also learnt to just keep pestering you until you feel guilty and cave in.
You can only engage in Scenario 1 when you feel self confident and self assured in your parenting decisions. If you feel doubtful or insecure, then you will give in when your child hits the right note!
Tweaking things when your approach isn’t having the desired outcome
There will be times when you are consistently trying an approach to parenting, but it just isn’t working. As a result, it’s making you frustrated and causing you to derail your desired parenting style. For instance, let’s say you have decided that your child should be in bed by 8:30pm every night (unless it cannot be avoided). Your method of getting your child to bed is by providing a routine you follow every night. However, when it comes to ‘lights out’, your child begins to perk up. Every night is takes longer and longer to get your child to sleep and you end up having to yell to get him to sleep. By this time it’s ridiculously late and you all wake up emotional and tired the next day.
Believe it or not, many parents will just continue with a routine like this that isn’t working, because they believe the method MUST be right. Yet all children are NOT the same. When a consistent parenting approach isn’t working, it’s time to tweak something so that you get the desired outcome without having to get upset. In this example, a reward chart could work really well, or a written list of things to do before bed might work. This way your child can physically be involved in the routine. You could trial different methods until you found the one that worked best. Then be consistent in your parenting approach with this new approach.
So, there you having it. The No.1 good parenting tip for all parents is to learn how to be consistent and to tweak this consistency as needed for your specific child.