Parenting is tough work and it is full of little traps. twists and turns! Parenting young children is challenging, parenting adolescents is challenging, and when you finally reach the stage of parenting young adults it is still challenging. Just when you think you have it right with your child, they go through yet another stage and all the rules change. Raising children is one of those skills that doesn't get easier with time but it seems to get more difficult!
Not only does each stage of your child's development present unique challenges, but every child also presents their own challenges. All children are different and respond to different methods of discipline and stimulus so that what worked for the first child might not work even for the 12th one! No one who has or had children will say that raising children is an easy task. It can be maddening!
Because there are so many parenting questions that do arise, wherever you go you hear some new parenting advice; on radio shows, in newspapers and a quick Google search of the word "parenting advice" shows 1,190,000 entries!
On the one hand this is good; with all the plethora of information you can surely find answers to all of your parenting questions. On the other hand, though, it can confuse you and make you lose your self confidence in your ability to deal with your unique child-parent relationship the way that "feels right" to you.
Here, though, are a few pieces of general advice to parents that the experts recommend to help you succeed in real life parenting.
Balance your needs with your kids.
Take care of yourself while you are taking care of your children. Don't allow your care of your children to be so all consuming that you neglect your own needs. After all, if you don't take care of yourself, you won't be any good to your children. Take some time to tend to yourself and take some personal, quiet time for yourself. Don't feel guilty for taking time to pamper yourself. You deserve it.
There is no "one child fits all" approach to parenting.
Like we said before, different children respond to different parenting strategies. Time out works for some kids while other children do not respond to it at all. Some children thrive in a structured environment, but other children become frustrated and anxious. You have to consider each child's personality before determining which parenting strategy to employ. Fit the discipline and educational strategies to the child, don't try to force the child to fit them.
Discipline as well as play should be age appropriate.
While the punishment should fit the crime, it should also be age appropriate. For instance, if you use time out for your 10 year old, you can send them to their room for 30 minutes or even an hour. However, a 2 year old child would not understand this extended punishment and it would border on cruel and unusual because their attention span and understanding is so underdeveloped. A minute per year for very young children is usually very effective.
What our parents did back then may not work so great today.
Parents Beware; times have changed! Our kids face today things that we as youngsters could never have imagined. This makes it difficult to model your own parenting style 100% after your parents' style because the world has changed so much. Try modifying some of your parents' tactics with modern twists. This way you can hold on to your traditional views, but make them work for today as well.
As a parent, you are preparing children to become productive members of society.
Therefore the dividends that you, your child, and the whole world receives when you are an exceptional parent are humongous. However the pain and damage that poor parenting causes also affects the whole world. Don't treat your role as a parent lightly- the whole world is rooting for you.