The Parenting Qualities Which Make All The Difference
As a parent, it is highly likely that you often go through periods of thinking that you are not doing it right. This kind of low-level background guilt is very common for parents today, and it’s not hard to see why. With so much conflicting information flying around the whole time about what it means to be a good parent, it is easy to find yourself at a loss as to what to do. It might be that you are never quite sure whether you are doing the right thing, or you just think that you could be doing better. No matter what kind of experience you do or do not have, it is worth slowing down, taking the time to look honestly at the situation, and trying to decide whether you could improve some of the things that you do. However, instead of thinking about these in terms of successes or failures, just look at them as what they are – qualities which it might be helpful to try and cultivate, or to build if you already have them. Let’s see what those qualities are.
Something practically every parent can agree upon is that children often test your patience. Of course, it’s not that they mean to, there is nothing purposeful about it. But still, there will be many occasions when you feel as though you are being tested in some way. This can be especially true at particular ages – the terrible twos for instance – but no matter when it crops up, you need to do everything you can to remain as patient as possible. This is the kind of thing that can sometimes seem absolutely impossible – but it is really just a matter of ensuring that you remain calm, take deep breaths, and don’t’ let yourself make rash decisions too often. I say too often, because it is extremely unlikely that there is any parent out there who will not make a rash decision every now and then. Just try to make sure that you don’t do so too often, and that you at least maintain the self-awareness to know when you have done so.
Patience is something that can and should be practiced – but you should also be patient with your efforts to become patient! It is difficult to do sometimes, and that’s okay – you need to remember to forgive yourself if you do not do so well to begin with. Once you have got to a point where you are usually pretty patient with your kids, you will find that it makes a world of difference, so it is well worthwhile trying to do so.
As a parent, one of the main skills which you will need to develop and utilize as often as possible is that of looking ahead. Being able to look to the future and plan for multiple possible outcomes is one of the superhuman abilities which non-parents can’t quite understand. In fact, even parents don’t fully understand it, even when they are the ones doing it. The more time that passes while you are a parent, the better you will become at seeing the possible outcomes of all situations, and the more adept you will be at planning for those many outcomes. This is a quality which will prove to be particularly useful during times of considerable stress.
A good example is the family holiday. At some point or another, you will be keen to take your family away on holiday – and why not? After all, this is one of those joys that you don’t want to do away with entirely. But even a simple road trip can be fraught with many possible negative outcomes. As a parent, you need to know how to prepare for every eventuality before you even set foot outside the door. This could mean reading a guide to making family road trips safer and more enjoyable, it could mean asking around with other parents, or it could just be using your own common sense. In all likelihood, it will be a mixture of these. But however you do it, you will find that it is hugely important to take control of the situation and be as prepared as possible – otherwise you don’t know what could happen.
It’s something that often parents don’t want to think about too much, but punishment is also likely to be hugely important if you want to bring your kids up in the right way. If you have trouble punishing your children, it could be because you are treating them too preciously. In that case, it might help if you find ways to get around that psychological block, so that you can learn to properly hand out both reward and punishment. Rather than being cruel, punishment is a useful, natural and simple way to encourage in your child the kind of behaviors you want to see, and discourage the less favorable ones. Clearly, this is something that all parents need to know how to do. But you might be surprised at how long it can take to develop a good sense of what punishment is appropriate and what is not. There might even be one or two occasions when you shock yourself with your automatic response to something. Either way, as long as you are consistently trying to better your own approach to punishment, you should find that it affects your child in exactly the way you want it to.
Many aspects of being a parent take a great deal of time to come to fruition. There will be occasions when your child doesn’t do what you want, or you are disappointed in their development or a particular example of their behavior. When this happens, it really does help hugely if you are able to be persistent in your approach towards them and in your own parenting style. Having the compassion to understand why they are doing what they’re doing, will help you to make the most sensible choice and to remain vigilant at all times no matter what.