Parenting is no easy job, and shouldn’t be taken lightly. For those of you that have chosen it, you should congratulate yourself. You are making a big difference in helping the next generation.
Parenting and children have changed drastically. Personally, I think video games and the internet are a big part of it. Plus, all the name brands. How do you keep up? It’s important not to compare yourself to others. I know this is easy to do. I honestly, think we are wired to do this. But, it is self defeating and no one benefits.
You don’t have to be perfect. Your child doesn’t expect perfection, and you shouldn’t either. What children need more than anything is to feel loved. They need this more than material things.
Here are 10 ways to nurture a happy child:
- Trust your mommy gut. You know your child better than anyone else. If you think there is something wrong, it’s alright to question it. If they are quiet when they come home one day, when they are usually loud. Ask your child what is wrong. If they insist nothing is wrong, it may be time to check-in with the teacher to see how things are going at school.
- Show affection to your spouse in front of your kids. This means kiss, hug and touch. Your marriage is the only example of a relationship your child has. This means it’s your job to set a great standard.
- Read books together every day. Start when you have a newborn. Children love to hear their parents voice. This is also good for the brain. This also gives you the chance to cuddle up with your child. Another, great time for touch.
- Don’t try to fix everything. Part of growing up and learning to take care of yourself, is learning to solve your own problems. This will teach your child how to be resilient. You need these skills in almost everything you do.
- Play with your child. This is your child’s language. This means you get down on the ground and play with them at their level. When you play with your child, your child genuinely feels loved.
- Know one important thing that will be happening in your child’s life at school. This goes with departing. Make sure that you keep in touch with the teacher. This way you will know what is happening in your child’s day. You can also ask your child. It will depend on their age, as to how they answer. Make sure you give your child a big hug and kiss before departing for the day. As a society, we have gotten away from touching. But, your child needs your touch. They are actually craving it.
- Don’t overwhelm your children. When your child has too many rules, they can shut down. Start with a few simple rules and stick with them. This lets your child know what you expect from them. It also lets them know there is a consequence for not following the rules.
- Fess up when you blow it. It’s important you apolagize to your child when you have done something we wrong. This teaches your child, that we all make mistakes. It’s simple, you admit to what you did and you say ‘I’m sorry.’ It can be one of the hardest things to do, but one of the best things for your relationship with your child.
- Cheer the good stuff. When you see your child picking up after him/herself, let them know how pleased you are. Thank your child for sharing with your brother or sister, without you having to ask. This will help reinforce positive behavior.
- Give yourself a break. Ordering a pizza when you’ve had a long day, doesn’t mean you are a bad parent. I can tell you, at one time or another everyone has done it. This also let’s your child know they don’t always have to go at 100 mph.
I had the idea to write this article, after seeing many parents and children in my practice. I see a lot of the same problems in families, especially in the Bay Area. I say all of these things a lot in my practice. Remember, no parent is perfect. Good parents make mistakes. What’s important is that you learn from them and make-up.
Lianne Avila is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Mateo, CA. She has helped many parents feel more connected with their children. For more information and a free phone consultation please call or email, (650) 892-0357 or Lianne@LessonsforLove.com.