By Aussy Aportadera
Parenthood is no joke. According to a Pew Research survey, 71% of parents say that parenting is harder today than it’s ever been. Becoming a good parent is not all about providing for your kids anymore. It’s about being there emotionally, supporting them, and becoming a positive presence. Whether you have normal kids or a child with a learning disability, the tenets of being a positive, present parent are still the same. Here are 9 ways that can help you.
Accept That You’re Good Enough
One of the most significant issues for modern parents is the existential dread that you’re not doing good enough. Everyday responsibilities can make you feel like your best is lacking. Start accepting that what you can do is good enough for your kids and that you can do more over time.
Rather than believe you’re inadequate, it’s best to give as much effort as you can. No parent is perfect, but as long as you know you’re giving it your all, your child should do better than those who don’t try at all. Enjoy every moment and never let go of your dreams.
Be True To Your Kids
Another common problem for parents is creating a facade in front of the kids. Many people have a weird idea of being the perfect mother or father they never had. Some pretend to be someone else, only to crumble because they’re living a two-faced life.
Being authentic to your kids can help them get grounded. Show them what you like, dislike, frustrations, weak moments, and even your strengths. Your imperfections can help you connect better with your kids.
Give Your Child A Lot of Physical Attention
You might not have realized it, but physical touch is crucial to your kid. According to research, hugging, cuddling, and kissing improve brain health, social connections, and overall well-being.
A PennMedicine study found that hugs and kisses boost oxytocin levels, a hormone responsible for love and bonding. Hugging also improves blood circulation and regulates cortisol, a stress-related chemical. Your kid needs your affection, and the best way to give it is by being there physically.
Give your kids a lot of hugs and kisses, especially as a way to affirm your love to them. When your kids are upset, a kiss on the forehead can help you connect better. Match your kids’ affection so they can feel their bond with you without making them feel smothered.
Encourage Their Independence
Most children learn independence through trial and error. They find ways to do things on their own, which lets them gain a sense of pride and accomplishment. It’s okay for your child to make mistakes. Let them learn their lessons on their own and encourage them to figure out their own problems.
For example, provide your baby with a feeding kit that will allow them to explore food on their own. This builds character and lowers the potential to spoil them. Let them make simple choices for themselves. This encourages their self-growth and helps them grow more confident.
Be Sensitive to Their Emotions
Most parents have a sensitive instinct; some, however, are too sensitive. Many moms, for example, are sensitive to their child’s needs, even when they’re being illogical. They can’t deal with how emotional a kid can be; hence they do their best to resolve the issue, even if it’s detrimental to their growth.
At first, this is a good thing: it shows how loving, caring, and empathetic you are, but this sensitivity can sometimes cause you discomfort and confusion. It can be hard to know when to stop listening to someone, especially if they’re your child.
Remember that being sensitive to their emotional state doesn’t mean validating their inappropriate behavior. Independence means helping your kids understand the ups and downs of life. All you have to do is be there for them.
Speak Calmly Even In Anger
When a parent gets angry, they lose their sense of judgment. If you’re angered with your child, avoid yelling, as it can traumatize children and leave lasting fear of reproach. Instead, it’s best to show them your frustration through body language.
Avoid making threats or saying hurtful words. Instead, tell them that you’ll talk about it later and leave it at that. Give them appropriate punishment, but discuss with your child what happened. Being calm in anger helps show your character to your children. They learn how you handle stressful situations and convey the right emotions.
Develop A Strong Bond With Your Kid
Children need to bond with their parents. They want their parents to be there and support them, no matter how old they get. On the other hand, older siblings may find it harder to connect with their younger siblings.
When your child is young, establish a relationship with them by showing your interest. Ask them about their favorite toy, ask them about their day, and be there when they need you. Encourage them to interact with others. Get them involved in sports, games, and group activities. This will make them feel loved and cared for.
Reinforce The Positive Things
All kids love to feel loved by you. When they do something positive, let them know that you love it. This doesn’t mean that you have to make a big deal out of it or reward them for it. A simple “thank you” or “good job” is enough.
Likewise, when your kid does something wrong, stop them from doing it. Tell them why their actions are a mistake and what to do instead. A child won’t do that independently, so you’ll need to help them figure it out. See what influenced them into their actions and help them correct the issue.
Learn To Apologize
Some parents cling to their pride; hence they never say sorry when they make mistakes. Your child might not understand the concept of apologizing. When they do, teach them that it’s okay to apologize.
Explain to them that when you make a mistake, it does not mean that you are a terrible person or that you’ve done anything wrong.
Children have a natural tendency towards forgiveness. They need to realize that mistakes happen, and when you apologize, it shows them that they matter and that you’ve accepted responsibility.
Being a compassionate, supportive, and connected parent is not easy. It requires patience and understanding. While it can be hard, you can now start implementing some of these tips. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll see improvements in how you interact with and relate to your family. Follow these tips and have a better, more positive connection with your kids now.
Aussy Aportadera is pursuing the unhurried life in the beachside town of La Union, Philippines. After a career in communications and publishing for luxury lifestyle, food, and wine, she is now a yoga teacher and co-owner of a ceramics brand.