Basic principles of good parenting are simple and universal that can be applied to all children and parents, regardless of age and background. When put into action, these principles will help you raise a healthier and happier child, making you more confident at parenting.
Connecting to a child is the basis of good parenting. If you want your child to be robust, active and determined to face challenges, you must lay your foundation on love. Showing affection, reading to kids, assuring them that you will always be there for her/him will make your child grow healthier-physically, socially, emotionally and mentally. Several researches around the globe indicates that loving and connecting approach towards parenting is more successful than coercive or authoritarian parenting.
Realism and realistic attitude towards parenting is another principle of effective parenting. Parents generally have high expectations from themselves. They try to be the ‘best’ parents. But most of the times, these parents find themselves struck in family issues like parenting more than one child, finding less time for children and spouse, making financial contribution, keeping future secure and getting some time for their own self. They try so hard, but then they suddenly realize that everything cannot be perfect: their children cannot bring A+ in every subject and they cannot provide them every luxury of life. In such a situation, they are baffled and tormented due to which their kids get neglected. So, be realistic and understand that the best you can do is to try and never give up.
Time is the most precious present
On various occasions, your children need gifts like toys, dolls, desserts, video games, cellphone etc. But what they need the most as a present is your time. As a parent you must realize the difference between gift and present. A gift can be something material, something that you may not be able to give your child on every occasion. But your time is their present, the most precious thing for your child. So, give your child that desired support and empathy. This is the basic essence of parenting. Your time will help your child to grow, mature and face challenges in life.
Limits and rules are crucial and important principles of effective parenting. A child’s limits must be determined on the basis of his/her disposition and maturity. Some kids may require stronge rules while others may require lesser parental steering. So, you must be very careful while deciding the limits of your children because too much of it can lead to defiance while too little can lead to negligence. Some limits must be implicit like wearing seat belts, never cursing and watching T.V. for a particular time. Others can be decided based upon situations and maturity of the child.
You can teach your children about the correct principles but you cannot govern them. Good parenting incorporates the principle of latitude. Parents must negotiate and compromise on rules whenever it is appropriate. Some rules can be adjusted according to situations. For instance, if your child is allowed to play only after s/he has finished the chores, then adjust the rule for a day when her/his cousins are visiting. For teenagers, rules and regulations must be adjusted accordingly. Remember that limits and latitudes together can help your child feel inspired and creative.
Many psychologists believe that parenting is at its best when children are provided with autonomy corresponding to their age and maturity levels. Children with appropriate amount of autonomy are more understanding. They have knowledge about sharing power and understanding other’s attitudes. Also, appropriate autonomy can help you minimize disputes related to rules and power. For instance, a parent should not dictate an adolescent about what kind of attire s/he should wear and allow them to choose it for themselves.
A basic principle of good parenting revolves around parents discussing the limits with the child in advance. This way when you will enforce the rules on your child, s/he will not feel frustrated. For instance, if you don’t want your teenager to stay outside after 11 p.m. then you must tell her/him in advance rather than telling it suddenly when they are about to go for a party. This way your child will not be confused and will adhere to them properly.
Refrain from punishing
Whether your child is a toddler, a preteen or a teenager, you must always refrain from punishing her/him. Punishment may seem an effective consequence when your child acts in an unacceptable manner, but it will only lead to frustration in him, resulting in further disputes. Instead of punishing your child, follow the idea of negative reinforcement which means that you must assign negative consequences for negative behavior. For instance, you can take way the privileges of your teenager, if s/he is hostile and aggressive. The privileges can be anything like weekly allowance, T.V., car, video game etc. These must be returned only when the child behaves properly over a period of time. Like limits, consequences must also be spelled out in advance.
Communication is the key
Communication is something that can be used to differentiate between successful and not so successful parenting. Parents who are more communicative and encourage their children to express, help them to grow mature in a healthier way. Also, it helps them to know what is going on in their child’s life. By talking and discussing, parents allow their children to put forward their viewpoints. Communication helps your child know that you are always supportive of her/him and will always be ready to listen to their problems.
Always be involved in your child’s life. Know what is making him sad, happy or angry. Ask your children, particularly your teenagers about how was their day at school, their friends and extra-curricular activities. If your child knows that you are interested in her/his life, s/he will happily make you a part of it and will come to you during their times of distress. You can also have some fun time for both of you, but don’t force your child to participate in the ‘fun time.’
Understand and respect
If you have a toddler who throws tantrums, then you must understand that s/he might be doing this because s/he feels neglected or is unable to express her/his feelings. Similarly, if you have teenager who is going to mood swings, then you must understand that their bodily changes are responsible for this. When your child is discussing his/her issues, you must understand their viewpoint rather than judging their actions. After all, they are individuals and have their own unique opinions.
Last but not the least, if you want your child to grow morally and want her/him to learn good things, then you must practice those morals yourself. If you want your child to say the truth, you too should follow it. Also, you should never let the issues between you and your spouse effect your child’s development. Remember that there are no recipes of producing a happy, moralistic, well-developed child, but there are principles that you can adopt in your life to help your child grow and mature.