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Effective parents

Tiernan McKay is a freelance writer based in Denver, Colorado. Her writing has appeared in magazines such as Alive!, Occupational Health and Safety, Restaurants and Institutions, Tampa Bay and Arizona Woman. Right now, she is either ridi...

What do they have in common?

Parenting is definitely a subjective topic. We each have our own ideas about parenting techniques, discipline, scheduling, education, etc. Even through all of these differences, effective parents share some commonalities, not in the way they raise their kids, but in their overall approach. Keep reading to find out how to be an effective parent.

A happy family

Effective parents each have their own unique process, but the results are often well-adjusted, healthy kids. Perhaps understanding the best practices of an effective parent can help you face your daily parental challenges.

Laugh a lot

Raising a family is definitely a serious matter, but life doesn't have to be so serious all the time. Dr. Robyn McKay is a positive psychologist at Arizona State University who specializes in creativity and talent development. "A sense of humor and playfulness are key to effective parenting," she says. "Engaging with your kids in fun activities creates a loving environment where creativity can thrive."

Choose rules carefully

Kids need parameters, but it's best to have more essential rules than a plethora of guidelines that can leave kids dizzy with excessive regulations. "Too many rules become overwhelming and ineffective," says McKay. Pick and choose your household rules carefully to give your kids a chance to succeed without stressing them -- and you -- out.

Don't hover

We've all heard of the infamous helicopter parent. Hovering over your kids 24/7 won't do much to help them become independent, free thinkers. "Parents can provide a grounded, safe nest for their kids, but let your kids discover their wings," says McKay. "Parents who become overly involved in their kid's activities can actually dampen their child's natural enthusiasm." It helps to take a step back every once in a while and let your child figure out a problem on his own.

Manage your emotions

Parenting is not a passive activity. Effective parents know that every emotion and mood that we experience throughout the day is reflected in our children. "Paying attention to how you feel, and learning to manage your own moods pays off in at least two ways," says McKay. "First, your kids learn by your example how to regulate their moods. And over time, you actually can start feeling more alive and energetic."

Utilize everyday life

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Effective parents take advantage of the endless teaching opportunities that exist in everyday life. "You can find inspiration in friendships, nature, mealtimes, music, movies and much more," says Annie Burnside, a parent, educator, professional soul nurturer and author of Soul To Soul Parenting: A Guide to Raising a Spiritually Conscious Family. "These aspects of everyday life provide the perfect curriculum and forum to teach your children powerful and universal principles such as connectedness, self-love, presence and forgiveness."

Be joyful

Kids have the best chance of succeeding in life when they grow up in a positive, joyful environment. Regardless of your personal circumstances, you can create a joyous household for your children by celebrating the little things in life. "Turn the joy up by singing, dancing, smiling, humming, and relaxing rigid perspectives as often as possible through openness and gratitude," says Burnside.

Read more about effective parenting

3 Discipline mistakes parents make
Parenting debates: Spanking
The 21st Century parent

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