Top 10 list of best parenting practices
If you want to be a good parent (and presumably you do), you may have learned that trying too hard can wear you out and make you more of an irritable, impatient parent. You’ll do better by focusing on the few key practices here.
1. Don’t Be a Perfectionist
This comes first because it’s vital not to become obsessed with fear you’ll ruin your kids’ lives forever by doing one thing wrong. Perfectionism and fear of failure ruin far more lives than does well-intentioned bumbling. Go easy on your kids and yourself: focusing on the positive; not making a big deal over less-than-100-percent; learning to laugh good-naturedly at mistakes.
2. Provide Unconditional Love
Make sure your kids know you will never label any mistake unforgivable. Emphasize that they can always come to you with any concern, and that you will always listen to their side and make solving the problem your first priority.
3. Emphasize Responsibility
Forgiving a mistake doesn’t mean ignoring the consequences: it means emphasizing solutions over blame. If your children owe reparations or an apology, don’t rush to “fix things” yourself, any more than you should exempt kids from all everyday chores and responsibilities.
4. Encourage Risk-Taking
Not life-and-limb risks undertaken merely to show off: but never be afraid to let your children pursue dreams of exploring far and wide, succeeding in unusual careers, or doing something big for the world.
5. Be a Good Listener
Don’t make decisions for your kids without listening to their preferences, and don’t be “too busy” to give them your full attention. (They may well be trying to share something that would solve part of the “busyness” problem.)
6. Keep a Cool Head
It’s inevitable that children will occasionally do or say things that shock you. You’re the one with the mature brain; don’t let panic or fury overwhelm it. Take a deep breath and look rationally at what the situation warrants. Don’t punish when intentions were innocent (correct gently, or ask the responsible party to clean up the mess, instead). And remember you only have the right to tell children what to do, not what to think or feel.
7. Allow Your Children Their Privacy
Rummaging through drawers and reading diaries “so I’ll be able to protect them” only creates antagonism. If you encourage openness and emphasize problem-solving, you can head off trouble without resorting to “snooping.”
8. Don’t Try to Plan Their Lives for Them
This covers everything from signing them up for extracurricular activities to deciding what careers they’ll pursue. Your children are unique individuals with unique interests of their own; if they take any route only to please you, they and the world will be poorer for it.
9. Show Interest in Their Interests
You may hate basketball, but if your kid is on the school team and loves it, show up for the games. If nothing else, you can enjoy watching the glow on your child’s face.
10. Always Be Available
Be ever ready to listen, ready to respond, ready to participate in things that matter to your children. Even after they’re grown and independent, you can be a friend and mentor for life.