Recently a friend posted the statement, “Parenting is HARD.” Why yes, lady, yes it is. Our children are all different and they each present their own sets of challenges and let’s face it there is no one book or manual or set of advice that applies to every child or that works for every parent. For every parent that thinks to themselves, “this stuff is hard” and doubts their abilities I want to take a moment to applaud you because if you are taking the time to question your abilities, you are probably doing something right.
I’ve recently been bombarded with all sorts of parenting information and I thought I’d share some of the most helpful of the hints I’ve discovered.
You cannot give from an empty cup
As a parent, you should never feel guilty about taking care of yourself. I myself have learned the hard way that one person can NOT do it all. There are times that you need to take a break from parenting to make sure you are taking care of yourself.
What your children want most from you is your time
One of the commonly reoccurring themes that I hear on podcasts and read in parenting advice is that what your children want most from you is your time. In a recent podcast from Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk entitled Dealing with the Difficult Child the speaker Dr. Tim Clinton referenced a study done by psychologist Russell Barkley. If you spend 20 minutes a day with your child in command free time (aka in layman’s terms PLAY) you will notice a difference if your child’s overall defiance. Imagine that… 20 minutes a day playing with your child, crawling into their world spending time with them doing something they want to do.
Have Family Dinner
Studies have shown that the more you have dinner with your child, the more healthy the outcome for the child. In my house, we have both Breakfast and Dinner together because let’s face it, there is truth to that saying “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” and also because I want to try to engrain the importance of family in my child.
Communication is Key and Practice, Practice, Practice
Let’s face it, parenting is a skill and if you want to get better at any kind of skill you must practice. Adele Fabor says on a podcast from The Psych Files “The foundation to communicating with your child is to acknowledge feelings. Acknowledge your feeling, acknowledge their feelings and be respectful of those feelings.” Sometimes this is easier said than done, but any skill must be practiced. We must practice empathy and patience with our children and with ourselves every day.
Always Choose Love
The best thing we can do for ourselves and our children is to always choose love, in every situation. Let’s bring back happiness and laughter into our families. Let us choose daily kindness and empathy. Let’s show our children that we love them and our fellow people and teach them to love themselves and others. Let us always choose love no matter what difficulties might try to throw us off balance. A positive mindset plays a key role in a happy lifestyle.