Parenting can be the toughest job in the world. You don’t get any training, there are no vacations, and you’re on duty 24/7. It’s not surprising that you might have regrets about your parenting. The good news is that you can always start afresh. It’s never too late to improve your parenting style. Here are five expert tips to start parenting more effectively.
1. Work Out Where to Start
If you’re feeling bad about your parenting, it helps to know where to start to make things better. You can’t change everything at once, but you can prioritize your concerns and work on those. What’s the issue that’s worrying you most right now? Are there behavioral problems, miscommunications, or even substance abuse or violence? If there are safety issues that put your child at risk, these, of course, are a priority.
2. Work Out What You Want to Change
Think of the problem that’s confronting you. Work out exactly what behaviors you want to change and work on them one at a time. It has taken time to develop bad relationship habits, and it will take time to pick them apart and change them for the better. Maybe you have a short fuse and find yourself yelling at the kids. Commit to taking three deep breaths before you respond to their bad behavior.
3. Work with Your Child
It might feel weird at first, and you might doubt it will work but try sitting down with your child when things are calm to discuss what’s not working. It will help if you share that you want to do things differently and provide options for the next time tempers flare.
4. Set Boundaries
It’s your job as a parent to set clear boundaries and the consequences for breaking them. Small children through to teenagers actually feel safer when they know what the limits are, and that those limits will be enforced. They will keep pushing to test where those limits are. So, it’s up to you to be firm and consistent in maintaining the family rules. If you say there are consequences for misbehaving, you must follow through. Living in society requires everyone to follow the rules. You’ll be doing your children a favor if they get used to the idea early!
5. Notice and Reward Good Behavior
Sometimes as a parent it can feel like all you do is yell at kids for misbehaving, Try turning it around, so you notice when your kids are behaving well. Expect your kids to behave well and acknowledge them when they do. Try to reinforce the behavior you want to see, from politeness and kindness to eating neatly.