By Michael Refiner, Thriveworks
The birth of new technologies in the 20th Century was supposed to make our lives easier and provide more time for family, personal interests, or just to relax. Instead, the pace has picked up. Work demands have become more hectic. Our schedules are overloaded. But our children – – not much has changed!
Sure, kids today can operate smartphones and computers long before they can even read, but many of their most basic needs have been the same since the dawn of time. As parents, we need to recognize that although are children are far more technologically advanced than they were just two decades ago, their emotional needs have stayed relatively the same.
But they’ve had many of the same needs for generations. If you want to improve your parenting skills in our fast paced culture, but are not sure where to begin, here are 21 tips that will help you do just that:
- Tell your children that you love them. Don’t assume she knows it. Make it a priority every day. You can even turn this into a playful game by asking your child, “Has anyone told you that they love you today?” Then tell be sure to tell her all the special reasons why you love her.
- Eat dinner as a family as much as possible. Children learn valuable communication skills and life-lessons around the dinner table. Put your phone down and ask meaningful questions. This might be hard at first, but you can do it! It’s worth the sacrifice.
- Pick your child up and hug her when he asks. There may come a day when he stops asking and you’ll find that you’d give anything just to hold him in your arms again.
- Ask questions. Get to know your child. You might be surprised by what they’re thinking.
- If you must choose work over time with your child, let it be an anomaly. Work will likely always be there, your children will not.
- Model kindness. It’s rapidly becoming a lost practice in the world today. Model the type of characteristics you hope to see in your children. They are watching you whether you like it or not, so set a good example.
- When your child asks you to stop smoking (or any bad habit), Stop! What they’re really asking is for you to be there for them later.
- When a child offers you a gift, no matter how seemingly insignificant to you, accept it with genuine gratitude. They may be offering you the best they have to give.
- Always rescue your child from danger, whether real or perceived . . . because it’s always cool to be a hero!
- If you have to discipline, remember that the goal is to modify behavior, not hurt them. Never discipline when you are angry.
- Take your kids on dates. Model the qualities you hope they’ll find in a future mate. Set the bar high and encourage them to never settle for a relationship.
- Pay attention when your kids asks you to watch them. They want more than just your attention; they want to know that you value them more than your iPhone.
- Children thrive with structure. Find a schedule that works best for your child and stick to it.
- Never follow praises with negativity. Your child is likely to remember the failure rather than the accomplishment.
- Play games that interest your child, not ones that are most convenient for you. This is a great way to identify what excites your child’s imagination.
- Children will test the boundaries you set. Stay consistent. If they don’t respect your authority when they are young, they will have difficulty respecting any authority later in life.
- You play the greatest role in creating confidence and security in your child. Make a daily effort to identify the positive qualities that set your child apart from all other children. Remind them of these attributes. They need to know that you’ll love them regardless of their mistakes.
- Put your kids to bed on time. They need the sleep and you need time to recharge your batteries. Create a bedtime routine and stick to it.
- Learn your child’s love language and use it to demonstrate your love everyday. (Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, Physical Touch).
- Don’t make comparisons between your children. They’ll get enough of that from society; there’s no place for it in the home.
- Cherish ever day with your children. Their life is your gift!
It’s possible that you’ve read this list and now you feel discouraged. Don’t be! Let this list be a challenge, not a litmus test for success. Use it to set goals to help you become a better parent, the one you always hoped you’d be. There’s an old adage on parenting that puts all of this in perspective: Long Days, Short Years!
Being a parent is a difficult job. No one ever said it was easy. In a blink of an eye, the growing years are gone and you’ll forget about the sleepless nights, the temper tantrums, and all the other challenges that parenting brings and you’ll long for times when your child falls asleep in your arms, splashes all the water from the bathtub, and sings without any inhibitions.
So choose to enjoy these times. Both you and your child will be better off if you do.
This article is presented by Thriveworks editorial team, now celebrating our new Fredericksburg Counseling location.