“I’m not going to do things the way my parents did when I have kids.”
How many times have we all said this, only to revert back to what’s comfortable — what we know — when our feet are actually held to the fire? Instead of going against the grain of what we heard as kids, we just emulate mom and dad. Later, we feel terrible and can’t believe what came out of our mouths or what we did.
Becoming a better parent is more difficult than a lot of things, including climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and snapping a selfie with that rascal Bigfoot. However, it’s completely possible when you set out to make small changes on a daily basis. The key is to be consistent and to stay on track, not to become the mother or father you think you should be overnight.
Below are a few of the simplest ways to make a revolutionary change in your parenting style over the long haul.
- Seek Opportunities to Spend Time with Your Children
This does not include anything that has to do with television or electronic devices. Instead of relying on the bells and whistles of video games and sitcoms, spend little snippets of time doing something together.
Yes, even chores like drying the dishes and folding the laundry can elicit conversations that will bring you closer to your children.
- Take a Stronger Interest in Their Academics
Note that “stronger” interest does not mean you should be a “helicopter parent.” Taking an active interest in your children’s education can not only help you monitor their grades, but also learn more about them as people. What subjects do they like most? What do they want to learn more about?
You don’t even have to force your son or daughter to show you tests and report cards anymore. Many schools today have made student grades accessible to parents online, which is helpful for parents and gives the kids a feeling of independence.
- Give Your Kids Some Responsibility
We’ve become a nation of parents who coddle their kids, which is kind of nice for the children in the short term but doesn’t do much for them in the long run.
Empower your child by giving him or her something to be responsible for, even if it’s just remembering Thursday is garbage day and everything needs to be placed outside your house for pick-up.
- Cease the Meaningless Nagging
Is there something you keep saying to your son or daughter that’s making you sound like a broken record (or, in the Internet era, I guess a broken mp3 file…?).
Obviously your constant badgering isn’t producing any fruit, and it’s probably just driving a wedge between you and your child. Look for more creative ways to get your point across, and if your kid is old enough, have a heart-to-heart discussion and lay out some rules.
- Stop Expecting Perfection
This includes from you! Perfection is a complete waste of time because it’s fairly subjective.
What is “perfect,” after all? It doesn’t exist! Instead of putting your child on the fast track to becoming depressed, let good be good enough when appropriate. Don’t accept slacking off, but at the same time recognize that a decently done job is usually acceptable.
- Enjoy Being a Parent
Most of all, start enjoying being a mom or a dad to your kids. A lot of times, we put so much pressure on ourselves that we don’t take time to smell the roses (or ignore the dust bunnies) for some family moments.
Be less afraid of showing your true self to your child, and learn to laugh more often. Do something silly or crazy; your kids will be shocked if that’s not in your nature and they’ll treasure the memory of a parent letting loose.
You don’t have to keep a stronghold on your sons and daughters in order to be an awesome parent; you just have to be willing to keep evolving and trying your best.
About the Author: Kayla Matthews is a self-improvement blogger who writes about positivity and productivity. You can read more of her latest posts at ProductivityTheory.com, or by following Kayla on Google+ and Twitter.