Unlike the education or training you received to prepare for your job, parenting skills can’t be taught as much as they can be learned. When you become a parent, no one hands you an instruction manual and says, “This is how it’s done.” You can take a special class to boost your parenting skills or simply acquire them over time. But even the best parents have room for improvement.
If you want to be the best parent you can be, try improving your parenting skills by doing the following:
1. Listen to your child. Listen to what your child or children have to say. Parents are so busy telling children what to do, many times we fail to listen to their concerns. Learn what your children’s hopes, fears and anxieties are. The better you understand your child’s needs, the better parent you can be.
2. Show good judgment. Good parenting skills start with good judgment. Know when to say no to your children and when to give in. When you make good choices your children see this, and in many cases learn to make good judgments on their own.
3. Be a role model. Don’t do anything in front of your children that you wouldn’t want them to do. If you find yourself exhibiting behavior that you don’t want mimicked by your child, then it’s a sign you should change how you react in certain situations.
4. Stick to your rules. Whether it’s when you’re disciplining your children or simply saying no to a second piece of cake after dinner, rules need to be enforced after they are made. Good parenting skills require you to stick to any rules you establish. If you show children that you make rules, but eventually break them, they will think rules are made to be broken.
5. Keep control. If you lose your cool in front of your kids they may become fearful of you. Whether you’re arguing with a bill collector on the phone or you’re having a spat with your spouse, don’t exhibit angry behavior in the presence of your children. Any time you lose control and yell or argue with someone, you’re showing your children this is how people react when times get tough. Instead, exhibit good parenting skills by illustrating how you can keep your cool and resolve the problem at hand in a calm manner. If you do lose your cool, be sure to apologize and take responsibility for your anger. That is another way to model healthy behavior.
6. Show love and affection. Many parents love their children, but don’t always let them know it. Don’t let a day go by without saying “I love you” to your children. Hug and kiss them to show emotion. An embrace for a child often makes him or her feel loved, safe and able to count on you.
7. Spend quality time with your child.Oftentimes parents spend a large quantity of time with their kids, but fail to be actively engaging with them. This is especially important for working moms to do since we often have our children with babysitters or in day care when we are at work. Exhibit good parenting skills by initiating interactive activities, such as playing old-fashioned board games, enjoying outdoor activities, or simply talking with your children to make the most of the time you have together.