It’s not easy to be a great parent. There are many reasons – some of us didn’t have the best examples to follow, it’s not a skill taught in school, and the demands keep changing. There’s really no up to date handbook, so you either have to educate yourself the best you can or learn on the job. That doesn’t sound all that peaceful to me.
However, it really is possible to practice what I like to call “peaceful parenting.” That doesn’t mean that we will have the perfect well-behaved children you would expect to see in Stepford. It simply means that with the right skills, mindset, and approach you can be an effective parent without a whole lot of stress.
First off, let’s look at parenting styles. While there are many parenting styles, successful parents share certain characteristics and skills that give their children the best chance for success and happiness. Some come a little easier than others, but with the right mindset, consistency, and focus you can get there.
The first thing is that a successful parent is patient. You probably already knew this would be at the top of the list. Children are messy, noisy, don’t listen well, and can be just down right exasperating. They can be pretty amazing, entertaining, and wonderful, too. You never know which you’re going to get, though, so patience is essential. Learn to take a deep breath, relax, and let go of what you can. Extend the patience to your children, and extend the patience to yourself as well.
Successful parents are usually multitasking experts. Juggling the household duties, your job, your outside commitments and children requires a great ability to multitask. Children constantly need your attention and can distract your from your main focus at the time. Learning to multitask involves more than just doing multiple things at once, it also is important to be able to remember where you left off and return to the task.
Successful parents are encouraging and supportive. With all the negativity outside the home, and the messages children hear from the media, children quickly learn to doubt themselves and worry about the opinions of others. One of the best ways to combat this is to encourage your kids. Encouragement and support go hand-in-hand. Children with support grow up to be relaxed and comfortable. Without support, the world can be a scary place. Teach your child there’s little to fear because you’ve got their back.
Successful parents know stuff – and if they don’t they can figure it out. Some people would call this intelligence but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. One of the hallmarks of intelligence is problem-solving. Children provide a unique set of challenges that have to be solved. Sometimes it helps to look at this like a game – solve the puzzle. Stay optimistic and remember that you do know stuff. You’ve got the answer.
Successful parents are able to go with the flow. Get used to flexibility. Many of your parenting attempts will fail. You must be flexible enough to have multiple solutions up your sleeve. When one doesn’t work, you can always try something else. Plans are always changing, children have last minute needs, or they just plain forget to tell you that they need ten dozen cupcakes in two hours for a major event. Train yourself to adopt the mindset that it’s all good. If you can adapt, then do what you can’t. If you can’t it may be a valuable teaching moment for your child about responsibility.
Successful parents can get their point across without having to yell or scream. They possess leadership skills and are able to influence their children and others in the right direction without having to be bossy. Sometimes the still small voice is much more powerful than the booming one.
Successful parents are consistent, reliable, and dependable. Kids feel safe when they have reliable and dependable parents. They have to know that you’re there, and they can depend on you to be the same person today as you were yesterday.
Successful parents have compassion for their children, their friends and family, and themselves. If you want to have a child that is compassionate and kind, then you have to be that person so they live with the example twenty-four seven.
Successful parents know how to laugh. If they didn’t there would be a whole lot of frustration and crying going on. You need to be able to laugh at yourself, laugh with others, and show your children that it’s okay to laugh. Children naturally laugh way more than adults. They lose that ability as they get older. I think it’s because they are taught by example that life isn’t worth laughing about, and that we must be serious if we are “grownups.” It’s a sad thing to realize we are probably responsible for children losing what used to come so freely to them.
Remember – you are the person your child will look to for most of what they learn in their early years. If you want to be a truly successful parent, you need to be the example you want them to see. That doesn’t mean you have to be perfect – it just means you have to be real.
So the final question I have for you today is do you want your children to learn from and follow the “real you?” If not, you may want to work on those areas we talked about today to become the “real” person you want your children to see. With the right mindset, some practice, and lots of determination you will be on the list of successful parents, for sure.
Find your purpose – find your joy!
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Did you find a few more ideas of your own? If so, I’d love to hear about them in the comments, and as always please reach out with your thoughts.
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