Parenting Basics

Parenting advice is often difficult to hear, understand and incorporate into our daily lives.  No one enjoys criticism no matter how constructive it is. On some days everyone wishes they had a parenting GPS to follow. Due to the complexity of parenting responses and the diversity of behaviors children express a single map is not available. There are, however, certain basic steps to follow that will help you end up at the right destination.

The first step is to recognize when you need help and advice. Everyone needs help. Learn how to ask for and accept help graciously and not feel judged. Parenting skills only improve with repetition and practice. Sometimes it is easier for others to see our mistake.  Deliberate practice and looking at your responses critically through your eyes and the eyes of others you respect will point you in the right direction.

The second step is reflection. Every parent must reflect on the concept perfection is not what we seek. Studies support the need to have a correct behavioral response only thirty percent of the time for your child to learn and acquire an appropriate behavior. Certainly, we all aim for a higher percentage but a better batting average is not needed. You will know when you find this sweet spot when frustration, anger, shame and guilt fade and are replaced by a general feeling of success that your goal has been reached.  Another concept to reflect on is that behaviors change. When you are worn down and believe there is no hope just sitting back and waiting a few days often allows new behaviors to develop and the old problematic behaviors to resolve.

The third step is to monitor your reaction. When the above signs of frustration, anger, shame and guilt begin to dominate your thoughts it is time for you to seek professional help and advice. The importance of knowing when it is time to pursue self-care and seek supportive counseling for you is essential.  Neglecting these feeling can lead to negative parenting responses and unhealthy health consequences for you.

The fourth and final step is to monitor your responses. Perseverance and determination will help you become successful. Committed and basic responses are often best. Find a mentor who can help you stay on track and provide focused immediate feedback to you. As with most teaching the steps to follow are explanation, demonstration, imitation, correction and repetition.  Focus on improvement but be willing to accept negative feedback if you want to challenge yourself to improve your parenting skills.