First things first
1. There is no such thing as a PERFECT PARENT
2. No parent can truthfully claim to have all the answers
3. Theres no single right way to parenting.
Whilst children are trying to learn how to grow, parents are trying to learn how to teach them. Plenty of people have written books and made useful parenting suggestions throughout the ages, but I dont believe any parent has ever been fortunate enough to leave the hospital with their new-born baby in one hand and the rule book, pre-read and understood by the baby, in the other hand. Every parent makes mistakes. Why? Because every child is an individual and parenting has new twists and challenges at every turn of the journey.
Whilst over time, parents build up a library of references based on experiences, theres always bound to be one from left field that leaves a parent wondering how the **** do I deal with this one?
At the most basic level, children need to feel loved and safe. They need to be fed, clothed, educated, and have their health needs met. They are dependent on their parents for this. If these basics are being met and the children are happy then I believe you are succeeding, to the best of your ability, in the worlds most difficult yet rewarding job.
Below is My Top 20. I have made them up based on 20+ years of trying to get this parenting thing right, and trust me; Im still no Wonder Mum. However, my 4 children have all turned out to be happy, successful adults who make a contribution to society, so I must have done something right along the way. I hope these words of wisdom might also assist you.
Here’s 20 helpful Parenting Tips
1. Tell your children you love them, & love them for who they are, no strings attached
2. Dont fight their battles for them, but help them pick up the pieces now & then
3. Stick up for them, always let them know youre on their side, & support as many of their decisions as you can. Whilst you may not always agree, guide them dont dictate to them
4. Provide a solid, nurturing foundation on which your children can build their own person. Include underpinning values like love, trust, patience, honesty, respect, determination, assertiveness, courage, & the desire to just give it a go
5. Ask questions, listen to advice & suggestions, then make your own decisions
6. Dont push your children into pursuits they are not interested in
7. Discipline your children & be consistent in your approach. All children need boundaries, & they will try to stretch those boundaries along the way – always keep firm & consistent
8. Be involved in their life, education & interests but dont smother them
9. Get to know their friends & welcome them into your world
10. Never forget where you came from. Put yourself at their level occasionally & try to remember what it feels like to be a young individual finding their way in life. Remember, as a child you probably did to your parents what your children are now doing to you
11. Be patient. Sometimes all you need do is listen, while at other times you might have to step in and take action – be tuned in to knowing the difference
12. Use positive reinforcement rather than negative criticism
13. Pick your battles & save the war for the big things
14. Use kisses, hugs & calm words to soothe cuts, bruises & disappointments
15. Keep communication lines open – talk lots about all things
16. Be prepared for when everything will be all your fault & they tell you they hate you
17. Remember, you can never put old heads on young shoulders
18. Never close your eyes to the wonderment of children for they can teach you so much
19. Hold on to your sense of humour
20. You will need to learn when to let go.
At some point in their lives, your children will want to put into practice everything you have taught them along the way, & believe me, they will undoubtedly have all the answers! It is hard to let go, but the important thing to remember at this time is that whilst you are letting go of their hands & stepping back from the teaching, you will always hold their hearts, their love & their thanks.
Tips by Cole-Sinclair, A Paramedic in Victoria