Updated: Feb 21, 2019
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In 2013 I became a mother--and my whole world changed. Two years later I had another child. Yes, there's been stress, anxiety, frustration, and exhaustion....but there's also been so much love and joy because of these two tiny humans--that I helped create. It's such a beautiful thing to me. I feel honored that God gave me the most important role and sacred calling I could have in this life--to help raise some of His precious sons and daughters. It's a huge responsibility with no instruction manual (even though there is a plethora of information and opinions out there). Pretty overwhelming, huh.
I minored in Marriage & Family Studies in college. The following are notes from a parenting class I took (with many of the principles learned from this book on the left that I recommend). These are of course guidelines for developing effective parenting skills. You may disagree with some of the advice, and that's okay. In the end, you--and only you (and your partner) know what is best for your children and can decide what kind of a parent you want to be.
Building close, nurturing relationships
Know what’s going on in your child’s life: Show interest and concern. Ask questions.
Help your children with the challenges they face: Give advice, be a good listener, and seek to understand their needs.
Spend time with your children: Quality and quantity is important. Have fun and build memories. Hugs, kisses, cuddling, and saying that you love them are important. Express your love in a variety of ways--through words and actions. Set a good example.
Don’t be quick to judge or react negatively: Allow your children to explain before you attack or blame.
Communicate: Be unified in parenting with your spouse, come to an agreement, and communicate rules or concerns to children. Allow them to provide input and manage conflict resolution together. Compromise.
Express unconditional love and establish trust: Develop a trusting relationship with your children in which they will feel comfortable talking to you and will want to come to you for advice/counsel. You can’t just be a friend, however—you are an authoritative parent as well.
Communicating with your children
Don’t push or force your children, or they will rebel.
Parents can be wrong: Sometimes parents don’t always hear or remember what a child has said.
Don’t dismiss a problem: Communicate what you feel and expect. When a problem is communicated or is evident without communication, address it either way.
Don’t be too critical: Acknowledge good behavior. Compliment your children when they least expect it.
Decipher the language of each child: What are they really saying? Don’t be judgmental or jump to conclusions.
Mistakes Parents Often Make:
Not communicating and not showing they care or are interested.
Not listening and shutting a child down before they can explain.
Not allowing children to have input or disregarding their input.
Not being involved with children or asking questions.
Yelling and verbal abuse.
Establishing high expectations
Enforce “The Golden Rule”—“do unto others as you would have done unto you.”
Have a family council—teach your children about respect, being polite, love/forgiveness, etc.
Be authoritative in approach. Be responsive and express high expectation for good behavior. Teach self-regulation, how to control behavior, decision-making, etc.
Offer positive reinforcement when a child completes a chore, cleans up messes, etc.
Implement routines with structure and order (i.e., morning, bed time, dinner time, helping with age-appropriate chores, completing homework, summer time when school is not in session, etc). Instill in them good work ethic.
Setting clear, age-appropriate limits/rules
If you get something out, put it away when you are done with it.
No dessert until after dinner.
You will be punished if you whine, throw a fit, disobey/disrespect parents, quarrel with siblings, etc. (put in time out, privileges taken away, etc.)
You must ask permission from parents and from friends’ parents if you can play at someone’s house, and it must be arranged ahead of time.
Know where your children are, what they are doing, who they are with, when they will be home, any changes to plans—at all times (ask and/or teach your children to tell).
Ensure the safety of your children in the supervision of their activities.
Monitor what food your children eat: Make sure they have healthy diets and get the nutrition they need).
Don't leave your children unattended: Have at least one adult at the park when your children are playing, and be available when your children are home and when they have friends over.
Establish a home of love and peace: Hold family prayer, scripture study, and participation in wholesome recreational activities as a family.
Be loving but firm in discipline: Use natural and logical consequences.
Don’t give into your child’s wishes when they whine and cry: Don’t allow them to always get what they want and take advantage of you.
Conduct joint problem-solving with your children: Teach them how to make good choices (giving them a sense of autonomy). Explain to them the effects of their behavior, the reasons for punishment, why something is wrong, etc.