There’s no one right way to be a parent. But some common threads connect all parents, whether they’re raising their kids in the city or the suburbs, with one child or several.
From the moment our babies are born (or even before, if we’re lucky enough to find out we’re expecting), parents are responsible for their safety, health, happiness, and well-being. Many parents worry about them when they’re sick, when they’re hurt when they’re happy when they’re sad. As parents, we want nothing more than to see them smile and know that they’re safe and loved.
It’s also our responsibility to raise them well. Any good parent wants their children to grow up as kind and good people, who treat others with respect, work hard, make positive choices, and share what they have.
To do this successfully requires a whole new set of skills that involve many different aspects of parenting. However, these six essentials are necessary for raising the best kind of kid you can.
Set boundaries and enforce discipline
Every child needs clear boundaries to understand right from wrong and learn how to behave appropriately in various situations. Discipline is also essential for teaching kids about consequences and learning from their mistakes.
Setting boundaries can be as simple as having rules for bedtime and mealtimes or for how to treat others. However, it’s also important to be consistent with enforcing these boundaries. For example, if your child knows that certain behaviors will result in a punishment, they’re less likely to do them.
Another way to set boundaries is to encourage positive behaviors by rewarding your child for following the rules and behaving well. For example, you can set up a system where good behavior means earning extra privileges, like screen time or playtime with friends. This is what Psychologist Jean Piaget called positive reinforcement.
Positive reinforcement can also be used to teach new skills or behaviors. For instance, if you want your child to learn how to brush their teeth, you can praise them and give them a sticker each time they do it. Eventually, they’ll know that brushing their teeth gets them positive attention and praise, so they’ll be more likely to do it on their own.
It’s essential to communicate with your children openly and honestly. Good communication means listening to them when they talk to you, being interested in what they have to say, and answering their questions truthfully (in an age-appropriate way).
It also means being open about your thoughts and feelings. For example, tell your child how and why when you’re feeling happy, sad, or angry. Explaining it to them will help them understand their own emotions and how to deal with them healthily.
Be a Good Role Model
Modeling is an essential part of learning. It’s part of the social learning theory made by Psychologist Albert Bandura.
We must take the time to frequently talk with them about bullying, racism, sexism, prejudice, and compassion. It’s also important that parents model themselves as the ideal person they want their child to be. Treating people with respect is essential regardless of their identity or race.
Encourage Autonomy and Independence
One of the most important things you can do for your child is to encourage their autonomy and independence. Autonomy and independence mean giving them the opportunity to make their own choices within reason and letting them experience the consequences of those choices.
Autonomy plays an important role in the development of self-regulation, or the ability to control one’s emotions and behavior. When children are allowed to make their own choices, they learn how to regulate their emotions and behaviors. They also know how to solve problems independently.
It’s also important to let them know that you’re there for them when they need help or support. But ultimately, it’s up to them to figure out how to solve their problems.
Give Them Good Education
Lastly, you should also ensure that your child is getting a good education. This doesn’t mean just teaching them the academic subjects they need to succeed in life; it also means giving them opportunities for social and emotional learning.
This can involve setting aside time for talking about issues like prejudice, ethics, respect, kindness, and so on. It’s also a good idea to encourage involvement in extracurricular activities such as sports or clubs where kids can develop their social skills and build relationships with others. A school with an international curriculum always has good extracurricular activities, so make sure to enroll them in one of those.
While raising a child isn’t easy, following these six essentials will help you raise one who is kind, considerate, and well-adjusted. By helping your child learn how to make good choices now, they’ll be better equipped.