Good Parenting Practices And Tips: How to be the best parent you can be
By: Dylan Buckley
Updated July 28, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Aaron Horn
Before your child is put into care–be it through birth, adoption, or another method–it is normal to wonder if you are going to make a good parent. We often think of how our parents took care of us. What things we would like to implement into our parenting structure and what things we want to throw out. Every new parent has many things that they need to learn before a child comes and while they are growing up. That is, after all, the goal of hosting life and sustaining a family.
However, many parents may be thrown off guard and forget some of the things that they have learned along the way. As a parent, you should expect slip-ups, and as much as parenthood is about teaching your child, it is also about learning from your child and doing the best you can each day.
One of the hardest things for expecting parents is finding the right information. There is so much information available on the internet, and in books that it can seem like overload. Your friends might also have different and contradicting advice. Not everything that you read or hear will always be reliable or suit your parenting style. (That being said, don't let it discourage you from soaking up as much knowledge as you can and going from there! Every learning experience is a good one.)
Types Of Parenting Styles
Before we dive into helpful tips, we are going to evaluate the different types of parenting styles that adults will employ to raise their children. As you may have guessed, all of these parenting styles are present in our society, but not all of them are beneficial to the children who are brought up using these methods (this will help us in our tip section later on). In general, there are four widely recognized parenting styles, with three being unrecommended and the fourth providing the best results, recommended for good parenting. See if you can guess which is which! These parenting styles include...
You may be able to quickly recognize the parent who uses the authoritarian parenting style to raise their kids. They value obedience over all else and allow their child to have little say in the matter of nearly anything. These types of parents will set rules that children must follow without question. If a child dares to break a rule, they will punish rather than discipline them. While this type of parenting method is definitely effective in making children obedient, the children raised using this strategy will often suffer from self-esteem problems, may become hostile or aggressive, and may learn to lie as a way to get out of punishments.
On the other end of the spectrum, we have those who use permissive parenting. Permissive parenting is a strategy in which they try their best not to interfere. These types of parents will provide children with rules but will not enforce them. They try to stay out of their children's lives as they believe children learn best with little interference from adults. Because of this, children raised this way will often struggle academically. They may start to have behavioral problems from the lack of enforcement and develop low self-esteem. Many children in these homes have health problems such as obesity and even cavities.
Appropriately named, uninvolved parenting means that a parent is not involved in a child's life. Things such as rules and consequences don't apply to these children because parents are not often around emotionally to pay attention to and maintain these standards. However, it is not the only discipline that is lacking in this type of relationship dynamic. Children will also not receive the guidance or love that they need to grow up the right way and will often be left to fend for themselves. As with most other negative parenting styles, children raised this way will develop self-esteem issues, have behavioral problems, and frequently feel unhappy.
Of the four styles, this is the most highly recommended one. Authoritative parenting is characterized by positive reinforcement, nurture, respect for the child/children, and rationality. In other words, this type of parenting is a more moderate approach, taking all of the best qualities of the other styles and combining them. Authoritative parenting emphasizes good communication between children and parents as well as empathy toward your child's emotions. Setting high expectations is also a key aspect of this parenting style, but specifically explaining reasoning behind these expectations fosters that good communication we were talking about. Children raised this way are more likely to become independent, socially accepted, academically successful, and well-behaved.
Just because someone uses one of the more unhealthy and ineffective parenting styles, they aren't necessarily a bad parent or person. Maybe they just do not know all of the tricks and tips to the authoritative parenting style. Here are some important tips to being the best parent that you can be.
Spend More Time Reinforcing Good Behavior Than Disciplining Bad Behavior
Parents often think that the only thing keeping their child from behaving poorly is the fear of punishment. Discipline is indeed important and you will have to make sure that you have certain rules and fair consequences for breaking them, but research shows that children respond better to praise than they do to discipline. If you praise more than you punish, your child will learn what is expected of them and choose good behavior instead.
Keep Up To Date With Your Child's Development To Ensure Success And Avoid Unfair Treatment
Certain behaviors come with developmental stages while others indicate that your child may need additional reinforcement or consequences to alleviate the issue. Some boundary-pushing behaviors are to be expected during a child's development. These marginal behaviors may indicate that they are right on track within their age group. It is important that you keep up with these developmental milestones as your child grows to avoid problems.
Lead By Example
Children are always watching us. As they grow up, they will start to emulate our behaviors, relationships and conversational styles. For parents who are aware of their behavioral patterns and actions, this is a good thing! However, for parents who may not have the best habits or who are not careful about what they say or do, these things can rub off on the child. They will start to incorporate these actions or behaviors into their routine. It is important that you become self-aware and lead by example so that your child always has a strong role model to look up to.
Make Time To Keep Your Relationship Strong
Raising a child is hard work and its work that piles on top of other adult responsibilities such as maintaining a job, paying bills, trying to squeeze in hobbies, or even going to the gym. It is rewarding, but it is a job within itself as well. Some parents start to drift away from their children when they begin to gain more independence. This may not be a direct parenting style but can happen simply because you are busy. It is important to make time to keep your relationship strong and to bond with your child. It is important for their development and emotional health.
Regulate Your Own Emotions When Your Child Misbehaves
Children can be steadfast in their behaviors and feelings. Children may be positive and agreeable one day and fussy and problematic the next and it can be easy to lose your temper. It is important that you regulate your emotions. Children mimic what they experience and believe that it is okay to act hostile when someone else is acting hostile towards them. If you act calm during these types of situations, your children will be more likely to behave in the future.
Make Sure To Provide A Stable, Creative, Loving Environment For Your Child
Your child needs structure and stability to grow and develop. Children are unable to feel safe when things are unpredictable and will not learn how to behave when there is no routine. They need an environment that is not only secure, but one that allows them to be creative, to learn, to grow, and to be loved. Children who come from homes that are not loving or secure can experience a wide variety of issues that impact them down the road.
Practice Self-Care And Reach Out For Support If Needed
Taking care of a child means making sure that they properly care for, but part of parenting is making sure that you are properly cared for as well. As the saying goes: You cannot pour from an empty cup! This means practicing self-care regularly and reaching out for additional support when you need it so that you can take a much-needed break to recharge. The best caregivers are the ones who take care of themselves so that their child is raised by the best version of their parent possible.
Speaking of support, there may be a lot of emotional support that can be needed during the parenting process. Perhaps you are someone who had issues in their childhood that have gone unresolved and are currently affecting your ability to be a successful parent. Maybe your child is having issues, and both of you need someone to talk to so that the two of you can better understand and work through those issues. Maybe you are just a parent who needs someone to speak to so that you can get rid of some of the stress that builds up.
If you can relate to any of the above statements, one great resource to receive the help you need is BetterHelp. BetterHelp is an online counseling platform that connects you with certified therapists while allowing you to book sessions that work with your schedule, all from the comfort of your own home. If you believe that this type of support could benefit you, simply click on the link provided above to get started!
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