Looking For Some Parenting Advice? 8 Tips From Experts
Updated February 13, 2020
Reviewer Kristen Hardin
No one can dispute the fact that parenting is hard work. It does take a "village to raise a child," and if you have any questions, concerns, or problems, there is no reason to try to solve it alone without looking for some guidance and suggestions. Below are some tips that may be just what you are looking for.
Make Time for Quality Time
Kids are incredibly perceptive, and after a while, they will start to feel like the third wheel to you and your job, or you and your cell phone. When you decided to have children, you were probably excited about all of the new things you could teach them, and how you could re-live your childhood by watching some of your favorite kids' shows with them, or playing with them and their toys.
Now, that excitement must be put into action. Get down on the floor and play with your kids at least once a day. Let them choose what they want to do, and roll with it. It may feel like a small thing and it may be hard because you are thinking of all the other things you need to be doing at that moment, but those little moments that you take with your child will be what makes up their childhood. And it is good for you too to take a break and enjoy being with your children.
Read a book with them. Do a craft with them. Take them for a walk around the neighborhood. Watch Peppa Pig with them. Remember that experiences mean more than stuff, and mean more than words. Think back on your childhood and how good it felt to have your parents undivided attention. Or if you did not, how much you wanted to.
Don't Be Afraid to Set Boundaries
We're all guilty of being a little too soft sometimes, but kids crave boundaries. It helps them make sense of a world that doesn't make sense. And when you don't give them boundaries, you're actually doing them a disservice. They may seem miserable when they cry about not having that cookie before dinner, but in the long run, this provides stability because they can predict what will happen. They will know that they do not get a cookie until after dinner. If you sometimes say yes out of frustration or distraction and sometimes stick to the boundary, your child won't know what to expect and it will lead to frustration for both of you as they will continue to ask.
Many of us do too much for our kids by picking up their room or putting their dirty dishes in the sink. But once the child is developmentally able to do these things for himself, let him. It's never too early to foster independence, and you will feel much better about having one less thing to do in a life that has increasingly become more chaotic. Even more important, your child will feel satisfaction and confidence from being able to do things on his own and it is a building block to him becoming an independent, capable adult.
Remember that discipline is good for your kids. It may feel like punishment to them, but they need it to sharpen their skills in other areas. On a related note, be sure to pick your battles wisely. You cannot stay on top of every single behavior and rule all of the time and keep your sanity. Let the little things go and conserve your energy for what really matters.
Be A Role Model
You are your child's first and most important role model. It's a tough world out there, and your kids need to know they have someone to turn to when times get rough. They also need a good role model to model their behavior after, which can influence everything from the choices they make about what food to put into their mouths to the people they befriend.
You do not have to be perfect to be a good role model. You need to behave in such a way that you would want your child to behave. This means no lying, apologizing when you're wrong, and being kind to other people.
Pay attention to how you and your partner treat each other. Your relationship with your partner is the only relationship your child has to go on regarding how an intimate relationship is supposed to work. The way you behave with your partner in front of your child sets up the kind of relationship he will look for and one day emulate as an adult.
Don't be Afraid to Show Affection
Show affection to your children as often as you want to. No matter what anyone tells you, there is no such thing as "spoiling" a child because you hug him "too much," or give him "too many" kisses, or tell him "I love you" "too often." It feels good every time your partner tells you he or she loves you, right?
It never gets old for you, and it never gets old for your kids. The more affectionate you are with them, the better their self-esteem will be, and the more likely they will grow up to be affectionate, empathetic people.
And always, always, always take a moment each day to savor the little things. Your baby won't laugh like that forever. He won't even be a baby forever. The time will fly. Yes, the house is a mess, and you have people coming over and no time to clean, but if you don't stop and enjoy those little moments now, you won't get another opportunity. The house can always be cleaned, but you only get so much time with your family.
We all lose our tempers sometimes, especially when a toddler is trying your patience and getting on your last nerve. But it's important to remember that whatever you do, that little sponge that is your child is going to observe your behavior and emulate it. If you're sarcastic, she'll be sarcastic. If you're mean, she'll learn to be mean.
The best way to handle a difficult situation is to stay positive. Rather than punishing her, instead focus on her strengths and help her build herself up. (Though, yes, certain behaviors must be addressed and corrected.)
You probably remember that kid in school when you were a kid who would always act out for negative attention. This is what your child will do too if he feels like he isn't getting enough positive attention from you. After all, attention is still attention, negative or not. This is why it's important you show him love and affection and praise positive behaviors. You'll notice he acts up less if he feels more loved and knows that it will be noticed when he does what he is supposed to.
Something else you should never do is compare your child to his or her siblings. Doing so can foster a sibling rivalry that can be very damaging. Charlie might have gotten an "A" in History, while Daniel failed it. But rather than say things like "why can't you be more like your (implied to mean "better than you") brother?", recognize that we all have our strengths and weaknesses, and it is far more effective to focus on each child's issues individually, rather than compare them to someone they may never be able to match.
Never Give Up!
There are times during our children's lives, especially the teen years, when we feel like we don't have the answers. However, there are solutions. If you face problems with humor and determination, and you may find that you'll have a much easier go of getting through it, as will your kids. And such problem-solving skills can help them grow up to be some truly fantastic people.
Do you feel like parenting is a struggle? Are you constantly feeling overwhelmed? Consider reaching out to our counselors at BetterHelp for more advice and information. The counselors at BetterHelp can help you with your individual problems and offer feedback, suggestions, and support. You can get started anywhere you have an internet connection and all you need is a smartphone, tablet, or computer. Parenting is hard but help is available!