Parenting can be one of the most challenging, yet fulfilling journeys a person can take in life. With so many resources, guides, and persistent advice from well-meaning friends and family, figuring out what to do can feeling overwhelming. These five pointers will help you maintain a strong, healthy, positive parent-child relationship, and are essential in practicing intentional parenting.
1. Find ways to keep your child involved in the household
As simple as it may seem, chores that your child can do add a sense accomplishment, and boost the child’s self worth. Most children grow up with some sort of chores, making a list for your child to check off can help boost their sense of accomplishment and self worth. In addition, involving them in regular house maintenance, such as letting them use a screw driver, can help the child gain confidence in their capabilities. Above all, this also establishes a dynamic where the child feels like a valued and important part of their household.
2. Use your child’s interests to bond spend time with them
Whatever your child expresses an interest in, take time to ask them about it, or try it with them. Children love talking about their hobbies, toys, sports, or whatever it is they are into. Showing a personal interest in the things they care about can help show your child respect, establish greater trust, and hopefully a more respectful dynamic.
3. Find ways for your child to succeed
While this can tie into the first tip on chores, it is more effective to find fun activities that your child can use to build their confidence. Playing a sport, game, or building a craft side by side is crucial for their development. It’s also quite important to set them up for success, while failure can be a teachable moment, giving them a nudge so they can achieve it themselves will leave your child beaming with joy.
4. Prioritize structure over reaction
One of the biggest aspects of intentional parenting is to avoid becoming reactionary parent by setting up clear boundaries and consequences. Of course you can’t plan for every situation your child will be in, but having a set of rules, expectations, and consequences is of the utmost importance for the child’s development. Ambiguous or arbitrary punishment has been shown time and time again to do more harm than good. Just as important are clear boundaries, letting your child know what types of behaviors are unacceptable. Children may show resistance to many rules, but despite their initial displeasure, studies have shown this structure leads to much more positive long term psychological outcomes.
5. Don’t forget to take care of yourself!
While your child is the center of your world, it’s important to remember that you have needs too, and not meeting your own needs can make you less effective at meeting the needs of your children. If you’ve been on an airplane, you’re aware of the safety instructions to put on your own mask before assisting your child. Many parents struggle with feelings of selfishness or guilt when doing things for themselves, but just remember that your child loves you, and more importantly needs you to be at your best! Eating healthy, exercising, and as difficult as it may be, getting enough sleep make all the difference in handling whatever parenting may throw your way.