Parenting can be the most challenging, yet fulfilling job a person can have. No amount of schooling or education classes can prepare you for raising kids. Because let’s face it, being a mom is hard and with the number of parenting tips out there, it can be hard to determine which ones will work. Fortunately, wanting and trying to improve your parenting skills is already such a great starting point to becoming a better parent.
12 Ways To Improve Parenting Skills
Good parenting can help children thrive and set them up for success. To help, I’m sharing ways you can improve your child-rearing skills and become a more fulfilled parent. These tips have worked for my family and it’s my hope that they will work for your family as well!
Listen to your children.
One way to immediately begin improving your parenting skills is to listen more often and more effectively. There might be several moments throughout the day when your kids are talking to you but you’re not really hearing what they’re saying. You might be distracted by things going on around you or thinking about other things.
The next time your child says something to you, make it a priority to actively listen to what they are saying. Make eye contact and listen to what they’re saying as well as how they are saying it. Whenever possible, give your child your undivided attention to show them that you care, what they’re saying is important, and communication is important.
Make time for your kids.
Really try to be present when you spend time with your kids. Many behavior problems can be remedied by simply paying more attention to your kids. Even older children, like teenagers, who act like they don’t want to be around you, need time with their parents.
Try to set aside time whenever possible to be with your kids. You might be surprised by how much of a difference it can make when it comes to your child’s attitude and behavior.
Of all the parenting techniques to consider, consistency is a crucial part of each one of them. You want to be consistent in showing unconditional love, but also with your expectations. Teaching children important life lessons is much easier when they know what to expect.
Being consistent with the consequences of bad behavior is just as important. If you let your children get away with a certain misbehavior one time, then punish them for that same behavior another time, your children will become confused and will likely continue to act out.
Offer choices whenever possible.
Giving your child choices allows them to feel like they have more control over the situation. This parenting technique is particularly helpful with young children. You give your child two options, either of which you would be okay with, and then allow them to choose which option they prefer. This way, they feel like they’re in control when in reality you’re still the one in charge.
Be a good role model.
Kids are far more likely to mimic what you do, rather than what you say. If there’s something you don’t want your kids to do, don’t do it yourself in front of them. Be mindful of your actions around your children and set a good example.
Your children watch you more than you might realize. They see when you work hard, manage responsibilities, maintain healthy relationships, and learn from your mistakes. You don’t have to be perfect, you just want to inspire your children to become hard-working, responsible, and honest adults.
Control your emotions.
Keep your cool as best you can when you’re around your kids. Regardless of the situation, it’s important to model emotional regulation. Avoid behavior that is reactive, immature, and cruel whenever possible, but especially in the presence of your kids. Keep your cool and solve the problem calmly and appropriately. Doing so helps to teach your children emotional intelligence.
In moments where you do lose your temper, it’s important to take responsibility for your reaction and apologize for your outburst. These are healthy behaviors that your children need to learn. For more on this specific topic, read my article on how to be a calm mom and listen to this episode of my podcast with Amy Morin on staying mentally strong in challenging times.
Are you overwhelmed by expectations for yourself and your kids? Have you considered how unrealistic some of those expectations might be?
Parenting shouldn’t feel like a burden. If you’re overwhelmed by the goals you’ve set, it might be a sign that you need to be more flexible. A lack of flexibility puts too much pressure on your kids to be perfect, and also often means you expect too much of yourself.
Try to be more flexible and let go of things that won’t matter in the long run.
Give your children chores and responsibilities.
Giving your child chores is good for more than just helping you with household responsibilities. Children who do chores tend to have higher self-esteem and are more responsible and better able to handle frustration, delayed gratification, and adversity.
Additionally, the Harvard Study of Adult Development found that children who do chores are happier and more resilient. Giving your children chores helps them to develop a good work ethic which correlates to being a more successful adult.
If you’re not sure where to start, read my article on age-appropriate chores for kids of all ages!
Emphasize good behavior.
Focusing on your child’s positive behavior instead of constantly scolding them for their bad behavior motivates them to repeat those good behaviors.
Children who are constantly reprimanded for misbehavior tend to become less motivated and unlikely to change their behaviors. In fact, scolding them will probably only lead to more bad behavior.
Encourage your children to challenge themselves and step outside of their comfort zones.
Carol Dweck, a trusted psychologist, has spent her career researching the connection between a person’s mindset and their success. One of her most notable findings was that people with a growth mindset who challenge themselves are more likely to be successful.
Successful people use challenges to their advantage; they see them as difficult, but acknowledge that growth occurs from them. You can help your child benefit from this growth mindset by encouraging them to see challenges as fun opportunities to grow. Encourage independence and show them that stepping outside of their comfort zone is often very rewarding.
Help your kids develop important social skills.
Researcher Mark Greenberg followed 750 adolescents to find out which skills were more likely to lead to success. He found that kindergartners with appropriate social skills were more likely to become confident adults.
The following social skills are important for children to learn:
- Conflict resolution
- Emotional management
- Active listening
- Respecting others
- Asking for help
- Complimenting others
- Giving feedback
Here are some fun, kid-friendly activities to teach social skills!
Don’t forget to take care of yourself.
It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to be the best parent you can be if you don’t take care of yourself. Your mental and physical well-being matters, too. Plus, when you take care of yourself and reduce stress by utilizing appropriate coping skills, you model that behavior for your children. You’re showing them that self-care is a priority.
Signs Of Good Parenting Skills
Your child has their own identity.
If your child has developed their own likes, dislikes, interests, and passions, you’ve successfully helped them to create their own identity.
Your children are comfortable talking to you.
Good parents are ones whose children feel comfortable coming to them for advice. Your children come to you when they’re physically or emotionally hurt. They feel comfortable opening up to you about whatever is bothering them.
Your kids practice safety habits on their own.
You teach your children important safety habits like looking both ways before they cross the road and not talking to strangers, but do they follow those habits when you’re not around?
You prioritize spending time together as a family.
Good parents know that spending time together as a family is crucial for creating strong bonds between parents and children. If your family members frequently spend time together, you’re doing amazing!
Your child has gotten mad at you.
It’s never easy knowing your child is upset with you. But if they’ve gotten mad at you, it means you’ve stuck to the boundaries you’ve set and they’re learning an important lesson as a result.
Your child knows you love them.
How do you show your child you love them? If you show and tell them you love them consistently, you’re doing wonderfully as a parent.
Your children show empathy and respect.
Two of the most important skills any person can develop are empathy and respect. If your children can empathize and show respect without being prompted, you can pat yourself on the back for helping them get there. For more on empathy read my article on How To Teach Empathy To Kids and check out this list of books about empathy for kids.
Your child isn’t afraid of failure.
Growth follows failure. Everyone fails at something, sometime. Your child is bound to face failure. If rather than protecting them from it, you allow them to fail, you’re teaching them that they don’t have to be afraid of failure.
Your child acknowledges clear boundaries.
Setting boundaries is a crucial part of parenting. When your child acknowledges those boundaries, you can rest assured that the various lessons you’re teaching them are sinking in.
Your child demonstrates problem-solving abilities.
A child who demonstrates problem-solving abilities is destined for success. Problem-solving is an important part of life at every stage. If your child already displays the ability to resolve conflict and overcome obstacles, you’re doing an incredible job parenting them.
Looking at ways you can improve your parenting skills is proof enough that you’re trying to be the best parent you can be for your kids.
Parenting is hard. VERY hard. As parents, we never stop learning and trying to be better. Now that you’ve read through this post, I hope you feel more confident to be the best parent you can be for your child.