Raising a child is never easy. Being a parent involves taking into account a great number of aspects that can affect how our progeny can develop.
While most parents do their best and in most cases end up doing well, it is common to find people who are unsure of what they should do to best perform their role.
Educating Well: A Challenge for Parents in Distress
In other words, it’s not unusual to wonder what to do to be a good parent. Therefore, in this article you can find a series of tips on how to be a good parent and provide a stimulating environment and encourage proper physical and mental development.
1. Communicate and listen to your children
Children need to be shown interest in them, they need to feel important to their loved ones . Listening to what they have to say, their experiences and concerns, implies that we care and are interested in them.
The adult should also share his or her thoughts and emotions in a way that shows trust and allows for a close bond. It is very important to talk to the children and not to the children.
2. Share and spend time with them
The presence or absence of a specific parental figure is a very influential factor in the development of a child .
Even if for work reasons it is not possible to have continuous contact, the time spent with the children should be enriching and active so that it is lived as something motivating and exciting. Talk, read, play, teach them things or go on excursions with them.
3. Give example
It’s easy to tell someone what to do, but what you end up learning is what you see others doing. Our children will imitate the behavior they observe at home . We must make our speech and our actions go hand in hand so that the child learns on the basis of coherence.
Also, activities such as doing household chores, reading, or playing sports are easily accomplished if the child observes that his or her reference figures often perform them.
4. Demonstrates affection
It has been shown that the fact that both parents show affection to their children improves the level of happiness and self-esteem of the latter. Showing your love and affection for your children in a direct way is essential. It makes the children feel accepted and loved.
It’s about making them see that they are loved unconditionally. They also learn to show affection for others and that such expression is not inappropriate or embarrassing.
5. Set limits
It is essential for the child to have marked (albeit flexible) limits, in order to know what to do and how far they can go . Being excessively permissive will mean that he will not have a pattern to guide his behaviour.
6. Do not compare him to others
Making comparisons with other people may make the child think that he is not good enough or that he is appreciated or should be appreciated for what others have or do. Furthermore, this damages the parent-child relationship , as well as it may damage the possible relationship of the child with the person with whom he is compared.
7. Praises his achievements
Very often people highlight the bad things that others do, while when they do something well we usually consider that it has been done and there is no mention of it.
It is important for a child that when he or she does something well or achieves a goal it is praised and celebrated by the parents. In this way the child is reinforced in his or her good behaviour. This is one of the most useful tips for being a good parent in order to promote the learning of the little ones.
8. Don’t overprotect him: give him space
A typical mistake made by many parents is the idea of continuously protecting their child, trying to limit possible situations that could harm him/her. But overprotection does not allow the individual to learn and grow and makes it difficult for him or her to make their own decisions. Let him fall and make his own mistakes.
9. Avoid stiffness
An overly rigid educational style may result in a fearful and insecure pattern of thinking and behavior, over-reaction, or inflexible and limited behavior.
There needs to be some flexibility to show that things can change , that there are different views. The reasons for the decisions must be explained to them. It’s about providing limits and a certain order but without becoming a tyrant.
10. Become interested in their vision of the world
They may not have the level of understanding of an adult’s situation, but children also generate their own opinions about the world. Asking for your opinion allows us to get to know our child better and can serve to clear up doubts and fears in the child, as well as make him/her see that his/her opinion is important and valid.
11. No to over-demanding
It is positive to believe in the possibilities of our children and to motivate them to act and to maximize their potential. However, we must be careful not to demand too much of them too quickly. Each person advances in life at the speed they can, and if they are demanded too much they can end up blocking themselves and/or causing frustration and the feeling that nothing they achieve is enough .
12. Don’t shout at them
Sometimes children’s behavior can have negative effects and cause us some level of anger . However, their misbehaviour is not a reason to shout at them. Shouting is a humiliating and painful act for them and does not make the situation better. It is preferable to calmly explain to them why their actions are not correct and what the results are, including possible punishments.
13. Answer their questions
Childhood and adolescence are times when young people begin to observe different aspects of reality, discovering a great deal of information. The world is complex and what we observe can generate a great deal of doubt. Answering them means increasing the information of the offspring regarding the different aspects of reality, while allowing a greater connection with them.
14. Don’t suppress their emotions or yours
Repressing emotions, whether the child’s or your own, may cause the child to see them as a weakness or something aversive that must be hidden. It is highly recommended to help them express themselves both directly and indirectly (through drawings or games).
For example, if someone close to you dies, it is not bad to cry in front of the child , since this teaches him that it is not bad to express sadness. This is necessary both for positive emotions such as joy or love and for negative emotions.
15. Watch your expectations
It is logical that when a child is born its parents think about how it will be when it grows up and how they would like it to live its life. However, we must be careful not to make overly rigid expectations.
You and your children are not the same person. We must not try to make them live the life we would like to have lived, but we must support them to live the life they themselves want to live .
16. Be consistent
Ambivalence in the treatment of the child , in the application of rules or the fact of not having clearly established limits, implies a high level of confusion for the developing child.
If you punish him for something but then buy him a toy to make him happy, you’re sending out a mixed message that he won’t know if something is right or wrong. The same thing happens if the rules change depending on who obeys them. You need to be consistent in your actions.
17. Admit your mistakes and accept theirs
We may be tempted to be heroes for our children , someone who never makes mistakes and does everything right. However, everyone makes mistakes. Recognising them means that the child is able to see the mistake not as something shameful but as something from which he can improve.
Explain the error and why it is an opportunity for learning and acquisition of values such as honesty . In the same way it is necessary to accept that children make mistakes and not criticize or shame them for it, but understand and support them.
18. Generates a respectful family climate
It is very important for the correct development to be able to count on a suitable family climate that generates positive stimulation and allows the acquisition of confidence and different values. This implies that we not only have to focus on the child as a being, but also on the environment we are offering him/her .
The link between parents, their social life and participation in the community are aspects that will somehow end up being engraved in the child’s mind.
19. Educate him
It may seem obvious, but it is important to participate in the education of the children. Showing them a way of seeing the world, teaching them to act and how society and the environment around them works, establishing limits and transmitting norms and values such as respect, tolerance and coexistence are elements of great importance for the efficient and adaptive development of the child.
20. Don’t be obsessed with being a perfect parent
While these tips are designed to reflect on and visualize different important aspects of a child’s education, we should not become obsessed with the idea of doing everything right. There will be times when you feel bad, when you lose your patience, when you don’t realize that something is wrong with your child, when you can’t be present or when for some reason you make different mistakes .
Thinking that we must always be perfect is harmful because it loses spontaneity and gives the appearance of being something forced, thus reducing credibility. In addition, it transmits to the child the idea that we must always be exquisite in our dealings with others, which can cause him to be excessively demanding in his relationships both towards others and vice versa.
21. Being a parent is forever
Being a parent is something for life . It is not something we can give up when we want to or something that has an expiration date when, when the child reaches the age of majority. Our adult children may not depend on us in the same way as they did in their childhood, but we must always be available to them.