Parenting is the most wonderful and thankless position a person can be involved in. It is a 24/7 calling that has its ups and downs, its trials and tribulations, its joys and its sadness but it is the one of things that makes life worth living. Remember there is no one right way to parent but my decade and a half of experience has taught me these 12 tips which will remind you to love, laugh and listen just a little more.
1. Say I love to your child EVERY day.
This is an easy one and even the most distracted teen will enjoy hearing it, even when they act embarrassed. Especially, important for when you’re traveling or if you live in separate households, it can be a phone call or a text, just make sure it’s a priority.
2. Pick your battles wisely.
What your child wears, listens to and who they are friends with, within reason, should be their choice. The best way I have found to direct choices is to provide options if you are uncomfortable with leaving it wide open. i.e carrots or broccoli, red dress or blue pants, soccer or basketball ect…
3. Take some time to do nothing.
Family quality does not mean scheduled agendas, planned activities or a large gathering of relatives. While these things have their places, just sitting under a tree in your backyard with your child talking cloud designs can make memories that last a lifetime and cost nothing.
4. The household chores can wait.
Take some advice from the late great Erma Bombeck: My theory on housework is, if the item doesn’t multiply, smell, catch fire, or block the refrigerator door, let it be. No one else cares. Why should you?
5. Work is important but “things” aren’t what really makes you a good parent.
I have never seen a hearse pulling a U-Haul. You can’t take it with you so consider this the next time you are working extra hours for that new whatever it might be.
6. Don’t live vicariously through your children.
While you may love “hockey”, your son may have a talent for the piano. Nurture their true talents.
7. Be positive about the other parent. ALL.THE. TIME.
Children should not have to choose sides in any situation. Whether you are married or not, they thrive when both parents get along. You must have found something attractive about the person sometime, focus on that when all else fails.
8. Teach your children about giving.
Paying it forward not only enhances family life, it makes the world a better place to live. Children who care about others turn into adults that continue lifelong giving.
9. Be your child’s biggest cheerleader.
Praise has been shown to not only improve mental function but also enhances physical growth. Try each day to tell them 3 good things.
10. Teach by example.
Telling your child to eat healthy will not work. Providing a healthy meal that all parties have input on and enjoying it with them is true education. “Do as I say and not as I do” is an absolute waste of your breath.
11. Don’t compare your child to anyone.
You know your child best. Your values, style of parenting and gut feelings are what should influence decisions you make, not what other people believe is best. Bottom line- advice is fine but you always have the last say.
12. Time for yourself DOES make you a better parent.
Hire a babysitter or send them over to the grandparents. Absence does make the heart grow fonder. You’ll be refreshed and they’ll have the chance to miss you.
The parenting experience from baby names, first days of school and now onto the teen years a has been an experience that has been way more than I had asked for but at the same time, way more than I could have ever dreamed. If you are doing the best that you can, you are an excellent parent because our best is all we can do.