4 Steps to More Effective Parenting

4 Steps to More Effective Parenting

The role of a parent is the most rewarding yet challenging job you’ll ever hold in your life. Because it’s so important, you want to do it well. But every child/parent relationship is unique, and there’s no 100% accurate handbook that works every time.

However, there are some things that consistently make for “good” parenting. Remember, as long as you start with unconditional love as the foundation, you can’t go too far off track. 

In addition to that solid base, use these four steps to help your parenting skills become more effective.

Step 1: Focus on the Positive

If you want to teach your children to have strong self-esteem and excellent citizenship, you need to model those character traits for them.

None of us are perfect. By showing your child how to handle mistakes with grace, you’re establishing one of the most important skills they can take into adulthood with them. Use mistakes as a lesson they can learn from and explain the lesson to them.

The same idea applies to things that we all struggle with, from insecurities and bullying to tragic events. Don’t downplay your child’s emotions, but try to help them find the positives hiding in the negatives. 

Step 2. Practice Consistency “All the Time”

Children give us their trust from the moment they’re born, but we begin to lose it over time by being inconsistent with them. Your child understands subconsciously that sometimes you’re kind when they mess up, and sometimes you get upset.

They’re too young to recognize when they’re going to get which reaction from you, so they start trying to hide their mistakes. 

Consider your discipline plan. How do you “punish” your children for messing up? What do you consider a mistake to look like? 

If you don’t know these answers, your child doesn’t, either. This uncertainty grows into fear and, eventually, disrespect. Make a discipline plan, and be consistent with it.

Step 3. Provide a Stable Home They Can Trust

There are things we take for granted that your child’s peers may not have. As they grow up and interact with others, they’ll recognize what’s missing in their environment and what they should appreciate.

The most important thing a child can have after love is stability. Your work schedule might be hectic, but you can still provide certain essentials that help your child develop trust, like:

  • A home that keeps them safe from the elements
  • Daily electricity and utilities without the worry they’ll be shut off for non-payment
  • Accessible food for every meal, whether you make it, buy it, or have someone else cook it
  • Transportation to and from important events, like school, extra-curriculars, award ceremonies, etc.

Many parents think the way to provide for their children is to give them the latest gadgets and a full wardrobe of designer clothes. In reality, your child only needs stability and love to grow into a well-rounded adult.

Step 4. Plan for Their Future

Right now, your little one is probably not going to appreciate the $20 doll or $50 pair of shoes you bought for no real reason. They’re not going to fit in the $100 pants forever.

In other words, the things you buy won’t last, but if you put that money into their future, they’ll appreciate it more later. 

Look around your child’s room and try to count how much you’ve spent on the toys that are piling up and the clothes they don’t fit in anymore. For most of us, that could have been a pretty good dent toward a college education. 

So, instead of going overboard during the holidays, ask your friends and relatives to invest in bonds or donate to a savings account. When you have an extra five or ten dollars, or someone gives you money for your child, put it straight into their savings.

While you’re thinking of their future, consider investing in a life insurance policy and disability insurance for you. If you can’t work, your child will still be taken care of financially.

Conclusion

How you feed your kids, whether you use cloth or disposable diapers, and all the other nuances of parenthood are personal choices. They won’t shape your child’s personality too much, and as long as you keep them safe and healthy, they’ll grow into happy adults. 

To be an effective parent, you don’t need to worry about the small details. How you love, discipline, and provide for these young minds as they’re growing is what’s important.