Parenting – a tough but fulfilling job
Raising kids is a big responsibility for any parent, regardless of whether you are doing it for the first time or have been parenting for a while. Fortunately, it is also very fulfilling, even though you are quite never prepared. Nonetheless, parenting your baby better today than you did yesterday should excite any parent. Of course, there is just so much to do, and parenting kids is as much a learning process for you as it is for them. Still, you should be excited to guide your baby’s life steps.
Is parenting experience useful?
Yes – it is certainly useful but is never enough. Kids are always growing, and you must adapt, basing on your terms as much as theirs. Also, because your child’s circumstances are always evolving, so should you. Then, of course, the world around your family is always changing in trends and tracks. Somehow, it would help if you absorbed the world’s influences, sieve, and channel the correct ones to your kids. Such is the tough but fulfilling responsibility of any parent. So, whether you are parents for the first time or parents for the umpteenth time, here are tips for being a better parent for your baby.
Be a good role model to your kids. Growing is a learning process for every child, from the baby stages, through early childhood. What they see, hear, feel, and experience from those around them is key to what they become. As a parent, you are their most constant presence, and consequently, their biggest influence. It is especially true for babies. The bulk of children’s behavioural traits depends on what they see in their parents. To a better parent, your baby, give them a good example to copy. Model your baby’s traits and character through a good influence on what they see, hear and experience in your presence.
Encourage more than you criticize your kids.
Do you criticize more times than you compliment your child? You should start doing better. Both criticism and encouragement affect your child. The former negatively, and the latter positively. Think of yourself at work. How do you feel if your boss is the kind who criticizes more than compliments your efforts? Granted, sometimes, maybe even most time, they mean well, but how do you feel? The point is that you eventually lose respect and begin to loathe them. It is the same with children and their parents. So, rather than constantly criticize your child, generously reward their efforts, and look for, or indeed create opportunities to compliment them.
Prioritize communicating with your child
Communication is actually the firm bridge between kids and their parents. It determines the quality and, subsequently, the health of your relationship. Start building a clear, consistent, and comfortable communication culture with your kids right from their birth. They deserve to hear from you as much as you deserve to hear from them. Always take the initiative to talk over things with your kid. In the rare event that they approach you first, give as much attention as you can practically afford, and listen. Let your kid know that they can tell you anything and that you will not only listen but act to address their concerns.
Let your kid make mistakes.
As your baby grows, he or she will make mistakes. However, play is good for any child. It gives them room to build their creative and social skills. Do not be overprotective. For example, your kid might be making a block tower and gets to a point where one more block will likely crumble the whole structure. Worried about the crumble and ensuing tears, your protective instincts could tempt you to stop rather than allow them to proceed with laying the next block. However, it is better to let the child move. The error at that point will instill a lesson more than your explanation can.
Embrace changes in your kid
As your baby grows, you should expect changes, especially in their interests and preferences. You will find them rejecting activities they previously enjoyed doing or shunning food they once loved. It should not alarm you into thinking there might be a problem. Instead, your child is likely only growing.
Often, all that a parent can easily see is the child’s outward and physical growth. You should know that as your child progresses from crawling to walking and thereafter starts to chase your height, they are also growing from the inside, cognitively and emotionally. You should accept the changes as part of their growth and evolve your ways of parenting them.
Spend time with your kids
One of the things that most parents struggle with is spending time with their children. After all, what amount of time is ever enough! However, spending time is key to building a healthy parent-child relationship that will serve both well as the child grows. Regardless of how demanding your work is, you must find time to spend with your child. Find time in the morning to dress them up, come back early from work, and take them through their homework. Take an evening stroll, or join them in building their block towers. Simple house chores are a great time to engage them in doing something together.
What Is Your Parenting Style? Why it matters?
Effects of parenting style
Parenthood is as fulfilling as it is challenging. You get to influence the kind of person that your baby grows to become. Psychologists have long enthused and reflected on how parents’ actions affect the latter behaviours of children under their care. Direct cause-effect links are not that obvious, and there are notable contradictions. For example, children raised in dramatically contrasting environments can grow to have remarkably identical personalities. Conversely, those who grow up under one roof and share the same environment can grow up to have vastly different characters. However, despite the contradictions, several researchers suggest the existence of links between styles of Parenting that parents use and the effects that have on children.
Different Parenting Styles
Some psychologists strongly suggest that the effects of parenting styles influence the adult behaviour of children. So yes, parenting styles matter, and it pays to know what yours is. What combination of strategies do you use to raise your children? There are generally four parenting styles: authoritarian or disciplinarian, indulgent or permissive, uninvolved, and authoritative. These vary in four major areas, including style, discipline, nurturance, communication, and expectations. Knowing your parenting style can be very helpful to how you raise your baby for any new parent.
Authoritarian parents set rules and expect children to grow up following those rules for as long as they live under their roof. The authoritative parent punishes the child when they fail to follow those rules. They also never bother to rationalize those rules but expect the child to obey without questioning. Such parents, despite typically demanding a lot from their children, are less responsive to them. A child approaching them for guidance usually gets the reply, “you should know better.”
Such parents expect the child to act precisely as instructed and not to make any error. However, they rarely direct the child or guide them on what to do or what to avoid in the future. Should the child err, they punish him or her quite harshly without giving any reason. Children growing under the care of such parents never get the answer to the question, “what else could I have done?” Overall, authoritarian parents are dictatorial and oppressive. They expect the child to obey without explanation. Their approach is rather starkly, a ‘spare the rod, and spoil the child’ one.
Authoritative parents are much like authoritarian parents. They set rules and establish guidelines which they expect their children to follow. However, unlike the strict dictatorial parent, authoritative parents are more democratic. They are responsive to children and entertain questions. As much as they expect a lot from their children, authoritative parents still provide feedback and offer support. Should a child fail to meet their expectations, authoritarian parents understand and forgive rather than punish.
Authoritative parents explain the rules and are always monitoring and imparting clear standards for the child to meet. They assert themselves without intruding and restricting the child. It employ supportive rather than punitive disciplinary measures. They strive to raise children who are assertive, socially responsible, self-regulated, and cooperative. By combining support to expectation, authoritative parents raise children with self-control, self-regulation, and independence.
Permissive or indulgent Parenting
Permissive parents, also called indulgent parents, demand less from their children. They have low expectations of maturity, self-control, and independence of their children. For that reason, they rarely discipline their children. These parents are very responsive to their children more than they demand from them. Children do not necessarily have to demonstrate mature behaviour, and they avoid confronting their children. Children are more likely to refer to a permissive parent as “my friend’ because they nurture and communicate well.
These parents have no strict rules to enforce and allow children to figure out their way. They would instead enable their children to decide rather than tell them what to do. Generally, these parents are open to communication and giving explanations. This makes them nurturing and friendlier to their children.
Uninvolved or neglectful Parenting
The fourth parenting style is uninvolved Parenting, otherwise called neglectful Parenting. Such a parent is much less responsive to their child, demands little to nothing, and affords little time to communicate with the child. A neglectful parent will meet and fulfil children’s basic needs, but at the same time, detach from them. They will ensure that the child has food, shelter, and other basic needs, but offer little, often nothing in the ilk of guiding them, laying behaviour rules, or supporting the child’s cognitive skill development. Children can do as they wish, including demonstrating bad behaviour or social tendencies, and the neglectful parent will ignore.
What is your parenting style?
Parents are similar in so many aspects, and their parenting styles broadly fall under the above four. However, only a handful ever really fall under one parenting style. Indeed, it does not seem adequate to apply a particular style solely. Instead, the majority of parents combine different aspects of the four classes with raising their children. Perhaps that is better and confers more positive and balanced effects on the child.
For example, whereas you might not precisely adopt an authoritarian style, there may arise occasions when you need to apply stern discipline to assert your authority as a parent. Alternatively, whereas you may be a permissive parent, who likes to let your child make their own decisions, should they get it wrong, you should be able to adopt an authoritative stance.
Generally, any parent should aim to strike a fine blend of the different aspects of the different parenting styles. Otherwise, a host of other factors, besides the parenting style, plays vital roles in influencing children’s development. Regardless of the type of Parenting that you opt to adopt, you should not employ it in isolation. Consider it among the broad portfolio of other influential factors.
Parents play a primary role in raising their children, and you will find it quite demanding. Nevertheless, you will find parenting a very fulfilling responsibility. You do not have to be perfect, and you will likely make a mistake here and there. An error does not make you a bad parent but provides you the opportunity to learn and improve. What is important is to learn from your mistakes. You need to know as much to become a better parent to your baby and become a better person. Eventually, as your baby grows under your care, you too grow in the process.
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