While no one is ever going to be a perfect parent, some parents have sharper parenting skills than others. But the good news is, everyone can sharpen their skills at any time. And there's always room for a little improvement.
Parenting books, classes, and support groups can be excellent resources to help parents sharpen their skills. But the key to becoming better is hard work, dedication, and a commitment to becoming the best parent you can be.
Parents that are intent on raising children to become responsible adults have a certain set of parenting skills under their belt. And they're constantly refining their skills in an effort to become better.
Recognize Safety Issues
The most effective parents seem to be able to sniff out danger a mile away. They are well versed in internet safety, the latest safety equipment and they recognize a bad idea when they hear it.
They find a balance between being overprotective and under-involved. They allow for natural consequences only when it is safe to do so and teach children skills to make healthy decisions.
Their ultimate goal is to teach their child to recognize safety issues on his own, so he can protect himself when his parents aren't around to tell him what to do.
Parents who say, “Do as I say, not as I do,” aren't effective. Children learn far more from watching what their parents do, rather than hearing what they say.
Although it can be hard to set time limits on your electronics use and use polite words even when you're angry, it's important to remember that your child is always watching. Modeling appropriate behaviors is an essential parenting skill.
Set Appropriate Limits
Knowing when to say no and how to stick to your limits is a skill that takes practice. Over time, you'll know how much your child can handle and how to help him cope with disappointment when you won't let him do something he wants to do.
All kids are different and just because a child is a certain age doesn't necessarily mean he's ready for specific privileges. Sometimes, setting limits involves a little trial and error as parents discover how to help a child learn best.
Enforce Consequences Consistently
Effective parents don’t just threaten consequences, they follow through with them. Consistency is a vital part of helping kids learn to manage their behavior better.
If a child only receives negative consequence for his behavior half the time, the misbehavior isn’t likely to stop. But, clear and consistent consequences will help a child learn.
Choose Battles Wisely
Effective discipline requires that parents are able to recognize whether a battle is worth the fight. Sometimes behaviors just aren’t worth addressing if they are likely to lead to a power struggle.
For example, if a 6-year-old wants to wear her rain galoshes on a sunny day, allowing her to do so might make more sense than trying to convince her why her sneakers are a better choice. Focus on the bigger behavior problems if you really want to make a difference.
Manage Stress Effectively
Parents who manage their stress effectively are better equipped to deal with behavior problems. Stressed out parents are more likely to yell or be inconsistent with discipline.
Stressed out parents are also more likely to use punishment rather than discipline. And it can lead to an unhealthy cycle, as kids are more likely to act worse when a parent is stressed out. Healthy stress management includes self-care and having support from friends and family.
It's a skill, however, to create one-on-one time for a child. But, it can make a huge difference to a child's overall well-being.
Establish Clear Expectations
When kids don’t understand what is expected of them, it can be impossible for them to meet a parent’s expectations. The most effective parents are able to explain their expectations.
An effective parent just doesn’t tell her ten-year-old to clean his room. Instead, she describes what a clean room looks like by saying, “Pick your clothes up off the floor, make your bed and vacuum the rug.”