A “perfect parent” is a myth. As much as you try, there will always be times when you look at your neighbors playing with their kids and think aloud, “How are they so good at it?” Like any job in the world, parenting is a lot about learning from experience. When things go wrong, as they sometimes will, you must learn from your mistakes and move on.
What better time to apply those learnings than now? The new year is all about starting fresh with a clean slate! While you may have already jotted down a long list of resolutions, here are a few parenting goals that will do you good:
1. Avoid comparing
As cliché as it may sound, no two people are the same. Each one of us is faced with different situations with our own individual constraints. Before you set yourself on a guilt-trip for not enrolling your child in piano lessons like the others in your neighborhood, ask him where his interests lie. Avoid getting burdened and intimidated by overachieving parents. Also, avoid comparing your child with the spelling bee champion at school. Appreciate him for his achievements.
2. Refrain from judgmental behavior
If you don’t like making comparisons, don’t encourage judgmental behavior either. There might be a reason why a mother has covered her daughter in multiple layers of clothes. It is therefore incorrect to form preconceived notions about the mother. Being a parent, you know best about the many struggles that come with parenthood. Don’t undermine the self-esteem of other parents with those condescending stares and remarks!
3. Don’t carry office work along
Working parents always find themselves torn between work and family. At one end, there is the pressure of deadlines — at the other end, there is your child longingly waiting for you to play with him. Try to avoid bringing the heavy workload home. Leave your work stress back at the office and carry only a contented smile to embrace your child at home. Your agenda for after-work hours should only be to spend quality time with your family.
4. Make time for yourself
Parents always put their kids first, but there’s nothing wrong with giving yourself some time off. Go on that long overdue date with your partner or on a fun night out with your friends. Get your dose of pampering at the spa or the haircut you’ve been wanting for the longest time. Your child must understand that there are places Mommy and Daddy need to go to, alone.
5. Practice the art of patience
Being a parent is a serious test of patience. When you see your pricey vase broken to pieces on the floor, your basic instinct is to scream and bring the house down! It’s natural to lose your cool at the blunders your children make — but, instead of voicing your disapproval in the heat of the moment, try to cool down first. Try resorting to mediums like yoga and meditation. In an occasion where you find yourself boiling with anger, go lock yourself in a room, take deep breaths and pour yourself a glass of water before you go on to question your child’s behavior. Kids respond to calm advice better than angry chiding.
While many a time the resolutions we make don’t translate into actions, try abiding by the positive changes you introduce in your parenting habits this new year. There may be no rule book to good parenting, but there surely are little changes that can ensure a better quality of life for you and your kids. Happy parenting to you!