‘Children learn more from what you are than what you teach’. W.E.B. DuBois
A parent has the responsibility for good upbringing of his or her child. Your parenting style to a large extent influences the future of your child, shapes his or her behavior, impacts his her development, determines how well prepared the child is to realize his or her full potential and becomes the person or adult he or she is meant to be.
Learn to communicate openly and listen well to your child. Do not presume anything let him or her feel heard and understood by you. Make use of positive and effective communication in your interactions with your spouse and others this will help your child imbibe good social skills and relate better with you and others.
Let your child talk about how his or her day went. Help your child express himself or herself and take time to listen. Model positive communication. This will help you raise a problem solver and not a confrontational child.
Meet the specific needs of your child these include physical needs and emotional needs for love and care. When you fail to provide these basic needs you are neglecting him or her. Love your child unconditionally but you do not have to say ‘yes’ to everything your child demands sometimes you cannot afford it and sometimes you should not. Explain to the child when you cannot.
Create a family routine and household structure. Help your child learn to be useful to himself and others. Cook meals. Teach your children to do household chores early and create fun doing this. Model good values to your child.
Connect with each child
Love each child unconditionally. Understand each child as a unique individual. Communicate, listen to, notice your child. Help him her develop his her unique talents and gifts.
Give each child attention even if it is for a few minutes a day. Let your children know through your actions that everyone of them is important to you and you would need to check on each one of them. This will stem sibling rivalry. This will help them love one another. Let them know how lucky they are to have one another.
Be there for your child
Be there for your child. Be your child’s friend and parent as well. Show interest and participate in activities that are meaningful to him or her. Get to know your child’s friends. Honour school invitations, know the teachers. Be his her number one fan.
Have dinner together. Use it to catch up on the day’s happenings. Make it positive and happy. Allow your child express himself herself, his her feelings and needs. Children these days are facing tremendous challenges due to advancement in technology, social media and all, they are bombarded with all sorts of negative media. Guide your child, build his her self-esteem through communicating your love to him or her.
Play together. Do not be neglectful show positive physical contact, touch, hug, smile and play with your child. Express your affection to your child. Know where your child is and who he or she is with at all times.
Discipline firmly. Let your child know what is expected of him or her. What will not be tolerated and what will be appreciated.
Set boundaries or limits with positive or negative consequences. Be consistent about this to get it established.
Communicate clear expectations of how to behave concerning the use of language, honesty, attendance at school, drinking, smoking, sexual conduct, sharing in household chores, participation in after-school activities, etc.
When a complaint is made concerning your child listen to his her side before responding. When your child makes a wrong choice disapprove of the misbehavior and help your child handle such situation differently next time.
Do not exert power over your child, use your parental authority. Know when to give your child choices, how to support him or her in making decisions and behaving appropriately. Provide guidance but respect your child’s feelings and choices.
As you discipline and set boundaries affirm your child, appreciate his or her uniqueness and peculiarities and fulfil your responsibilities to your child.
Never lose control.
Do not yell. Do not rebuke him or her sharply, criticize or put him or her down. Listen to his or her explanations before disciplining him or her.
Do not take your problems out on your child. Keep your anger from erupting into violent acts and hurtful words. Do not beat your child or any child in anger. Do not beat him or her in public.
Encourage your child to talk to you about everything. Let him know he can talk to you about anything that you will listen attentively, calmly, counsel, rebuke with love and understanding, guide and direct.
Never fight before your child. Do not argue or fight with your spouse in the presence of your children. If you do, settle it quickly and make up. Let your children learn that conflict is inevitable but how you manage it is crucial.
Handle conflicts effectively
When your child exhibits challenging behaviors or when he has made wrong choices, evaluate the impact of your parenting style in the life of your child.
Look beyond the rebellious behavior to the causes behind it. Ascertain to what extent you are responsible for what is happening as well as other influences at work.
Communicate with your child. Ask questions to make him express his feelings, needs and concerns. Pay attention to your own attitudes, habits and approach to parenting in terms of discipline, love, guidance and meeting the unique needs of the child. Offer sincere apology and seek forgiveness for genuine shortcomings.
Do not apportion blame but decide on what should be done from now on in your relationship with your child. Do not try to make up for past mistakes by becoming overly permissive but set out in a new direction with your child.
When faced with a difficult or stressful relationship with your child you can seek for help from a counsellor or child psychologist.
Help your child know God
Raise your children God’s way. Help them build a relationship with God. Inspire them to love God’s Word. Be a praying parent. Pray for your children.