Happy New Year! After the busy holidays, this is a time when we are settling back into our routines and may be reflecting on our lives.
It’s fairly common for all of us parents to wonder if we are doing the best job possible in raising our children. After all, the day-to-day reality of child-rearing is a mix of, as Parenting Now! says, “joy, exhaustion, challenge, stress and delight.” Being a parent can be overwhelming. At some point, every one of us will be tested, no matter what our intentions or resolutions may be.
At Parenting Now!, we help parents learn child-rearing tools and support them to take care of themselves. When parents reduce the stress in their lives, they can better care for their children. It helps a lot to know what’s typical behavior for my child’s age and to have strategies for preventing or dealing with problems when they come up. It also helps to be with others who understand…both the amazingly wonderful and the stretched-to-the-limit experiences of being a parent.
At Parenting Now!, parents and staff talk about things that help to make parenting a pleasure and nurture children’s growth. With the disclaimer that there are many other valuable ideas, here are some of my favorites:
- Live your values. Be clear about the values you want your child to learn, and demonstrate them regularly through your actions. Children learn from what they see and experience far more than from what they are told. Children don’t always do what you say, but they will often do what you do.
- Understand child development and what is reasonable to expect at your child’s age and ability level.
- Set and carry out clear, consistent and reasonable boundaries for your children, appropriate for their ages and abilities.
- Give positive attention. Notice and comment on the things your child does that you like.
- Listen to your child.
- Use discipline as teaching, not punishment.
- Choose your focus. Decide what is most important, and let the rest go.
- See and respect your child for the unique person that he or she is. Understand that your child does not see the world the way that you do.
- Take time to have fun with your child! The days may go slowly, but the years go by very quickly.
- Let your children know through your words and actions that they are important and that you love them unconditionally. Be there for them.
Whatever resolutions, intentions or commitments you’ve created for your family, here’s to making the most of your time together, 365 days a year.
Minalee Saks, M.S., is the founding director emerita of Parenting Now! She is an author of numerous parenting curricula. Parenting Now! is a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening families through parent support and education. Explore this site; visit us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram; or call 541-484-5316. Family Info Line is also available; call 211, extension 5, or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org