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Tips For Great Parenting

Updated on August 22, 2014
Tips For Great Parenting
Tips For Great Parenting | Source

Being a parent is a very delicate task.

You get 18 years to raise a child into a confident, healthy, contributing member of society. You get a very small and precious window of time to help set them on a course towards a brilliant future, so use your time wisely.

Be a Parent, Not a Best Friend

Your children have plenty of friends, what they need is a parent. They need structure, discipline, and guidance.

Some parents don't want to be harsh on their children and want to be seen as "cool" in their eyes. They are afraid that their children will see them differently. They need to see you differently. It is for their good that they respect you.

As mature as your children may seem, they don't yet have the life experience to make every decision on their own and they need a parental figure who will set guidelines for them.

Being a parent doesn't mean you just have to be a cold hard dictator of the family rules. Kids also need you to be warm, playful, and a shoulder to lean on, when appropriate.

Set Solid Expectations

Your children need rules and expectations. They need to know what is considered acceptable behavior and what the consequences are for poor behavior.

Setting family standards will make your family more cohesive and will cut down on nagging and repeat conversations. For instance, a rule that no child is allowed to watch R rated movies in your household, will cut down on them begging every time they want to see a movie with too much violence or provocative content. Also, there will be no sibling jealousy because one kid was allowed to watch one movie and the other was denied.

When your children have no doubt what is allowed in your household, they can creatively make their own decisions on what they think is acceptable for themselves. Setting rules grows maturity in them.

Don't Just Say No

When one of your kids asks to do something and you enforce your household boundaries, use that opportunity to teach them life lessons. Just saying no will often prompt a child to rebel and push your boundaries. Instead, help them understand the reason for why those boundaries exist. If possible, show them an example of the consequences.

Always enforce rules out of love and care for your child, not selfish reasons. For instance, don't enforce an early bedtime because you want some peace and quiet in the house. When kids see that the laws of the household are for their protection and benefit, they are more likely to joyfully comply.

Adapted from Flickr/ Matt Mertl
Adapted from Flickr/ Matt Mertl | Source

Set The Example

As a parent you the leader of your household, and good leadership means setting the bar high. Kids are extremely more receptive to your actions versus your words. How you treat your spouse, your neighbors, and even your enemies will have a profound effect on your children's formation and sense of right and wrong.

One important concept is that your children are highly unlikely to set their standards higher than your own. If you make your bed everyday, your kids will see that as a normal part of living and will typically follow suit. However, don't expect their comforters to be four inches off of the ground in perfect military style, if you leave yours unkempt.

Your children need to see, through your example, what a moral, compassionate, self-reliant, self-controlled, and disciplined life looks like. Make good choices and behaviors a normal part of life.

Leave the Safe Harbor.
Leave the Safe Harbor. | Source

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Balance Protection and Freedom

It's a scary world out there and your responsibility is to protect your children from physical and emotional harm. That said, you need to find a balance between protecting your children and allowing them to explore the world on their own terms. Being too rigid can cause them to rebel against overly strict household rules and expectations.

Being a parent requires you to make some tough decisions like which houses your children are allowed to sleep over, at what age they are allowed to walk to the store by themselves, how late they are allowed to stay out on school nights, which dances and parties they are allowed to go to, and what movies they are allowed to watch.

There is no magic answer. Most of those questions have to be answered on a kid by kid basis. Kids mature differently, and what you might allow your son to do at age 6, you wait until 8 for your daughter.

Some dangers and mistakes can have lifelong consequences for your child, so erring on the side of caution is prudent. You can always let down your guard later but you can never give back innocence to your child.

Examples of Responsibilities to Give Your Children

  1. Give each child a weekly chore.
  2. Hold them responsible for how they upkeep their own space.
  3. Teach them to save for big goals and let them decide how to spend their allowance.
  4. Let them pick out their own clothes.
  5. When camping, give them a responsibility like helping set up the tent, setting up for s'mores, or building the fire (under your guidance).
  6. Let each child take turns picking out a weekly activity like a trip to the park, a community event, or an outdoor activity.

Give them Responsibility

Giving your children responsibility is about more than just divvying up household chores. It's about giving them domains of responsibility in all areas of life. Don't make the mistake of assuming that your child is too young or incapable. Parents often missjuge their matuiry level. If you treat your children as mature little human beings, they will act like mature individuals.

Teach Your Children to be World Citizens

One of the best things you can do for your children is to have them explore the world. Take them to museums, travel to other states and countries, do science projects, explore a local park, get them involved with volunteering outside of their comfort zone, take them to a recycling center, get them outdoors, teach them to appreciate nature, and expose them to other languages and cultures.

Children begin forming a worldview at a very young age, so getting them involved in world affairs and getting them out on the world's playground is important. There are a lot of messy things going on in the world, and so it's important to use discernment and wisdom when choosing family excursions. However, getting them a little outside of their comfort zone, can grow them by leaps and bounds.

Cultivate your child's heart.
Cultivate your child's heart. | Source

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Cultivate Your Child's Heart

Help Your Child Build Their Own Identity

A child's heart is a beautiful and delicate garden that needs to be nurtured in order for it to grow. You are in an amazing position to help your child gain self-confidence, a strong sense of identity, and pursue their ambitions.

Kids need to grow up knowing that they are unconditionally loved, cared for, and valued. If they don't get this at home, they will look for it in other places, like popularity, substance abuse, and from other people. They need to know that no matter how badly they fail, you will always help guide them back on the right path.

Listening to your Children

Develop a listening ear for your children. Often they don't have the maturity to express themselves the way that adults would. If they are acting out, hiding away in a reclusive state, lack joy, or other abnormal behaviors, try to address the root of the problem and not just the behavior. Maybe a bully at school, a rocky friendship, or a personal failure is being expressed differently than you would expect.

Your child might be crying out for help and what they need is your guidance and compassion, not an iron rod. If you see abnormal behavior, it should be a trigger for you that something is wrong.

Ask Lots of Questions, Then Listen

Often they won't just come out and say that a kid at school was making fun of them, so you'll have to ask a lot of questions to pull it out of them. Make asking questions a normal part of your child's life, so it doesn't seem like you are interrogating them when a problem arises.

Take undivided time every day to check in with your child. Ask about their teachers, their friends, what they are proud of accomplishing, and what they are looking forward to.

Help Build Your Child's Confidence

One way to build your child's confidence is to verbally encourage them. They need your praise, your admiration, and your support. Knowing that there is someone who will always fight on their side immeasurably build's their confidence.

Not only will your words build their confidence, but their own actions can have equal influence. Encouraging them to pursue their strengths, and standing beside them as they obtain small victories, will help them move mountains later.

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    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 3 years ago from California

      MPG, thanks for the encouragement, voting, and pinning.

    • RobertConnorIII profile image

      Robert Connor 3 years ago from Michigan

      Agree at times you have to be a parent - a best friend does not always get your intention across!

    • MPG Narratives profile image

      Marie Giunta 3 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      A good article on parenting. I especially like the idea of taking kids out of their comfort zone occasionally and letting them see things differently. The world certainly is a scary place but these tips will help many parents to navigate parenthood because every child is different as you state. Thanks for sharing your tips Availiasvision and congrats on the HOTD. Voted up, useful and pinned.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Good article, congratulations on Hub of the Day.

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image

      Kathryn 3 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      I don't have kids, but this is full of great tips, and it's well done.

      Thanks for sharing this with us, and congrats on winning HOTD.

      Have a wonderful weekend.

      ~ Kathryn

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 3 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I like "ask lots of questions, then listen" best. I wish I would have listened to my children with my eyes more often; probably too many of our conversations were on the run where my attention was divided. We are blessed with wonderful grown-up sons, though, so I think we did something right. Thanks for this and congrats on HOTD!

    • DealForALiving profile image

      Sam Deal 3 years ago from Earth

      Availiasvision - I really enjoyed reading this. There can never be too many articles about how to best raise our kids!

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 3 years ago from California

      Thanks Chitrangada! I'm still shocked that it is the HOTD. Never been awarded the HOTD before.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Congratulations for HOTD!

      Great tips on parenting and I agree with your views here. Parenting is a tough job and there is no doubt that if you do this job well, your children will love and respect you throughout life.

      Voted up and thanks for sharing this helpful hub!

    • Availiasvision profile image
      Author

      Jennifer Arnett 3 years ago from California

      Thanks for reading and sharing.

    • abbasizaibi profile image

      Zaib Abbasi 3 years ago from Pakistan

      very nice article about parenting am gonna h+ this and voted up your article :)

      stay blessed