We recently attended a parenting workshop at Owami’s school. As much as it’s important to work on your romantic relationship, your career and everything in between, I believe that it’s important to brush up on your parenting skills every now and then. Parenting is not easy, so any form of assistance is more than welcome in my world!
A strong family can be a source of emotional support, love, security and protection, which makes the challenges and trials of day-to-day living easier to face. Children flourish when they feel loved, nurtured and supported by their parents and siblings. A good family life can even have positive effects on your physical and mental health, including improving blood pressure and increasing life expectancy.
Here are some of the most vital traits of effective families:
Every person in the family needs to feel treasured
This is demonstrated by what you say and your actions. Tell your kids that you love them and that you’re proud of them all the time. Hugging or cuddle time is critical for the little ones, consider creating a cool handshake with the older kids.
Kids need to see that you as parents are prioritizing each other, when mom talks dad listens and vice versa. Learn to say difficult things graciously. The way we talk to our kids is going to be the way that they talk to us and others. The next time your little one tries to tell you something, respond by saying mmh…… tell me more, until they are done. Summarize what they’ve said and then respond. If kids know that we listen, they will talk to us more. Remember, there are times for listening and times for teaching. When they are highly distressed and emotional, listen don’t teach.
Remember that children are different, and we need to customize parenting according to each child’s needs. Celebrate and encourage their differences. For example, If the one child is gifted academically and the other maybe in sport, it’s important that when each child does well in their area of expertise the whole family celebrates, because each child will get a chance to be celebrated.
Always encourage their effort rather than the result. We are responsible for teaching our children how to emotionally regulate.
Common Faith/Belief system
It’s important to have a shared religious belief. What is your ethos as a family? It doesn’t have to be religious based, you can create your own family value system.
Respect is mutual. Children should know that we respect other races, religions and cultures. Encourage them to be curious about other people. The way that you treat other people, is the same way that your children will treat them. For example, if you disrespect your waiter in front of your children, don’t be surprised when your children do the same. Even more important is the way that you treat the support staff (security guards etc.) at your kid’s school, if you treat them as if they are invisible don’t be surprised if your kids do the same.
You are not doing your child any favors by not giving them responsibilities. Responsibilities and routine gives them a great sense of security. Consider having a family meeting at the beginning of each year to discuss new responsibilities as your child gets older. Each year that goes by, more responsibilities are added and the meeting gives a parent an opportunity to give a rationale for the added responsibilities.
Play is not an option it’s a necessity. Encourage your child to play, try to play with them as often as you can. Not only is playtime a great bonding occasion, it also also be used as a learning tool. Play is also important for the older kids, board games are the perfect solution.
Celebrating family rituals or traditions
If you are trying to build a strong sense of family, create family rituals. They create a great sense of belonging and stability. If you have a blended family create new rituals, and if you have older kids you can let them create new rituals. For example, we eat dinner together every evening, no cellphones and no TV. We use that time as an opportunity to catch up on each other’s day. We all get a turn to talk about our highs and lows for the day, even if you had a terrible day you are forced to find something positive.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you feel as if you failing. Talk to other parents, attend parenting workshops and seek professional help if necessary.
Remember, parenting is a daily learning experience. Be kind to yourself, your best is good enough.