The Secret to Being a Good Parent (and Three Ways to Do It)
From one home to the next, the differences in parenting styles can vary as much as night and day. One parent may never discipline her child in hopes of insuring love and friendship, while another may allow his children to make all the decisions in a misguided attempt to inspire maturity.
In this article, I’m not interested in addressing the flaws in the most common parenting styles I see in my counseling practice. Rather, I want to focus on the one thing that each approach is lacking.
We all know that there is more to parenting than simply feeding, clothing and chauffeuring our children. Yet in our world of corporate ladders and pursuing dreams, our children are often put on the sidelines. Because being busy 24/7 has become the norm, we don’t see that we’re doing anything wrong when we try to make up for the time we don’t spend with our kids by letting them call the shots or get away with bad behavior.
The one thing that can transform every parenting style is a quality relationship.
And how do you build one of those with your kids? I can tell you that it doesn’t require a Wii or a never-ending parade of activities. It does require time. Both quality AND quantity.
Here are three tips to building quality relationships with your children. They may require that you adjust some of your priorities. They may require that you sacrifice some of your time, but the results are well worth it. Believe me, what you skimp on now will only come back with a vengeance later.
- Provide positive feedback. I don’t mean that you talk in a sweet high-pitched voice, telling them how great they are at everything. (Because they are not great at everything, nor could they be. No one is!) Kids know when you’re not telling truth; constantly telling them they’re doing a good job does not build up their self-esteem. It confuses them. What they need is to hear recognition for and encouragement about the things they are good at.
- Step out of your world and into theirs. I don’t mean that moms wear their daughters’ clothes. I do mean that you remember what it was like to be a kid. Look them in the eyes and hear their stories. Your corporate ladder will be there tomorrow. This age and stage with your children will not.
- Help them to trust God. If you don’t trust God, how can you expect them to? If your life is a constant pursuit of the next thing or go, go, go is a regular way of life, you may need to slow down and learn to trust God yourself, so you can translate this vital nutrient to your children.
Regardless of your parenting style, the quality of your relationship with your children is the number one biggest factor that will determine how much of an impact — whether it be positive or negative — you will have on them.