Parenting does not come with a universal textbook. Every family develops its own rules through trial and error. This process can be exasperating. Luckily, parents have a wealth of educational material at their fingertips.
Despite the abundance of psychology advice, adults keep committing the same blunders. Here are five fundamental tips to improve parenting skills and communication within a family. These are obvious things, but they are overlooked all too often.
1. Listen Actively
There are two ways to listen: active and passive. Today, our lives are hectic. Busy parents fail to notice their kids are trying to talk to them. Do not just let them express their thoughts: show that you really want to understand.
Your work should not interfere with personal life. Put away all possible distractions once you reach home. Forget about the stresses of your career and focus on your family. This is easier said than done, but not impossible.
Listen to what your kids have to say, and show them you are actually paying attention. Ask to follow up questions and make good eye contact. This will show they are being heard and reinforce your bond.
2. Follow the Rules You Set
It is not enough to draw the line between right and wrong verbally. Whatever rules you try to impose, adhere to them in your own behavior. This does not mean perfection is the only acceptable model. It is unattainable.
Inevitably, you will be wrong sometimes. Parents are allowed to make mistakes as long as they correct them. The key is to admit your own shortcomings and explain why your actions should have been different.
3. Be a Role Model
Kids are likely to copy their parents’ behavior. Remember that they may repeat whatever you do in front of them. Through your everyday actions, you ought to teach them love, honesty, and hard work.
4. Control Your Emotions
Work on your emotional intelligence. Whatever happens, avoid getting too agitated. If you lose your cool in any argument, be it with your spouse or a store clerk, your kids may feel scared. Aggression must never be exhibited in front of them. Instead, show them you can solve problems calmly.
5. Show Love During Quality Time
Love is not just about words, it is also about actions. Its language is very diverse. Make hugging and kissing a habit, as they communicate emotional warmth. Be attentive to your own words, as they should reflect your loving attitude.
Some parents fail to make their quality time truly engaging. This is particularly relevant for those whose kids are stuck with babysitters. Ramp up interaction through different activities. Play board games or have fun outside together. Even conversations will do, as long as kids feel heard.
These are the most basic things every parent should remember. Raising kids is long and hard work, but it is also extremely rewarding. Let love show through your words and actions. Make your kids feel appreciated and they will reciprocate.