Are you a parent? Do you plan on becoming a parent someday? It’s a tough job being responsible for the life and development of another person, and even on a good day it is highly stressful. Here are ten top tips to help you cope!
Commandments 1-5: Preparation
1. Be realistic.
Don’t think that parenting will be easy. And no matter how hard you imagine it to be, it will be harder. That’s ok. Just be prepared to accept that things can get a lot worse than you had bargained for. Most importantly, don’t expect your child to be a robot. Your child will have their own dreams, drives, wants, and tendencies. Accept that there will be times when what you think is important will be irrelevant to your child. That’s not to say that you should let a child choose what is good for them – of course not! Kids don’t always know what’s best – but you need to be aware that any child is not an automaton and will not merely do as you order all day. You wouldn’t want that anyway. Who wants to be the parent to a robot? Your child’s desires and your own will be constantly changing their balance. This is what makes parenting wonderful and stressful. Be realistic and don’t expect any less.
2. Listen to your child.
Don’t have a child and expect your life to continue as usual. Throw that idea right out the window. You can’t live with any other human and not have your life changed, let alone a human who is completely dependent upon you. Listen to your child. Have a conversation with them every day. When they’re upset, ask them why instead of demanding that they calm down. Engage them in conversation. They will respect and love you more, and you will be able to parent them better if you know them better. Ask them what they are feeling and listen to what they have to say.
3. Work out a reward.
Every parent uses rewards. It has been known for a long time that positive reinforcement (rewards) work much better than negative reinforcement (punishments). Are you willing to pay your child money for them to behave well? Give them toys? You only have a finite amount of money, and there is only so much room for toys. Plus, studies have shown that there is a reward that is more effective than all others: attention. Verbally praise them when they behave well and largely ignore them when they are not. Work out how you want to do this and for what kind of behaviours. Most importantly, be consistent.
4. Work out a punishment.
Published in: Family