I really wish there would be a simple course for good parenting skills. Kind of just go through the program, learn the lessons and then raise an awesome and happy kid. Yes, there are courses that promise that – and all seems well and fine, until reality strikes.
There are no set formulas when it comes to being a good parent. There are no fixed rules. It’s a lot more about the way you are as a parent, the way you think, feel and act, than about what you actually do. Your attitude, your emotions and thoughts are the foundation upon which everything else is based.
Let me tell you the story of Simon. Simon was a young boy who had a father who couldn’t say no. At least not for a long time.
When Simon wanted something from his father, the father would usually reject his request. But then Simon would keep bugging him a little, and his father gave in, most of the time.
Now this kind of behavior is exactly what you’re not supposed to do. Every parenting guideline tells you you should be consistent with your child. And I advice you to do the same thing.
But let’s look at Simon. He had this father who never really gave him a solid no. Sometimes a yes was easy to get, sometimes it was difficult to get and required a lot of asking, begging, crying, being cute and charming and other tools out of the childish persuasion toolbox.
Simon didn’t get particularly good grades in school – but he was very popular with other kids.
Even the teachers liked him, although he wasn’t a good student.
So he made his was through high school, had lots of friends, not so good grades, but overall things were ok. After graduation, he got a job with the uncle of one of his friends. It was a commission based sales job. Not the kind of job you want your child to have, right?
But right from the first month, Simon was very good at his job. And he made very good money. And he didn’t feel like he was working very hard.
Yes, people had objections all the time. Yes, he got rejected often. Yes, he heard so many “No’s” in the course of a day that he didn’t even bother to keep track. But he knew what “No” really meant. When someone said “no” to Simon, it just meant: “You haven’t convinced me YET.”
Simon was very successful as a salesman, and he is now working as a successful sales director, managing a team of sales people. He’s got a long-term girlfriend, good friends and is tight with his family. He’s a happy young man.
The thing is: you’re bound to make mistakes as a parent. But if the “big picture” is right, that’s going to be ok. Simon didn’t get the consistency he needed from his dad, but somehow that turned out to be a good thing in his life. It built a belief in him that he could always find a way to overcome obstacles, and that gave him a very positive and determined attitude in life.
Yes – make yourself familiar with good parenting guidelines and apply them. But realize that even the experts don’t always get things right – and they do “update” their good parenting guidelines every couple of years. (Update = change).
Give your children lots of praise – they thrive on that. It encourages positive behavior and it brings out the best in them.
Be clear and consistent with your child.
Encourage positive behaviors.
And enjoy being a parent – even if not every moment is fun.