If I were a perfect parent and I could tell you exactly what you need to do to be a perfect parent too, both our jobs would be easy. Fortunately for both of us, positive parenting is a much richer endeavor than that. I will, however, tell you the most helpful skills I’ve learned to become a better parent.
- Slow Down: When I rush, it makes everything worse. If I can slow down, I have the possibility of listening to what’s going on inside myself and what my children are trying to tell me.
- Kids Are People Too: People with needs, feelings, and people worthy of respect. People who are flawed and who will struggle. People who are worthy of love just as they are.
- Look to the Basic Needs: Food. Rest. Exercise. Love. When children are well nourished with good food and water, given enough rest and sleep, allowed to run and play, and know they are loved there are almost no behavioral issues. When children’s basic needs are met, they are generally happy, loving, energetic, able to listen and generally nice to be around. It doesn’t mean they will always do what we tell them or anything of that sort. It just means that the serious issues will not be part of daily life when kid’s basic needs are consistently met.
- Tend Your Own Garden: When my children act out, there is frequently something going on within me or in the relationship between myself and my husband. Some underlying tension or distraction. Children are highly sensitive. They know when we’re paying attention. They know when we’re anxious or angry or stressed even when we think we’re hiding it. Taking care of your own basic needs will help your children be much happier and healthier.