There are so many schools of thought when it comes to parenting. For thousands of years there was one way to parent and everyone adhered to it. Children were expected to be dutiful and obedient, seen and not heard. So, what changed? Enter a new field of study: child psychology, pioneered by Freud. He believed that the way that parents handle their children during childhood has a profound and lasting influence on the overall development of their psyche. From his work, it was recognized, for the first time, that the events that occur in the lives of children deeply impacts on their later lives.
In some ways this knowledge has taken away our confidence as modern parents. We want to make sure that we give our children an emotionally healthy start to life.
Many of us have moved away from the traditional model of parenting and we are not sure what to do instead. Although modern parenting is still evolving, there are ways for us to reclaim our confidence as parents.
Here are some ideas to help you parent with confidence:
1. Kids need limits and rules:
Many modern parents have become permissive because they don’t want their children to feel bad or get upset. However, children need rules and limits that are fair and consistent. It makes them feel safe, secure and encouraged. When we don’t enforce our rules, kids feel rootless, they don’t know what to expect. The irony is that kids will fight you tooth and nail to get you to back down from your rules. Don’t take that as a sign that you are hurting your child’s psyche. They need to you to stand firm. Deep down they don’t want to win those arguments.
2. Be yourself:
Many modern parents are striving for a good parenting philosophy. We often look to other parents that we admire and try to emulate them. While it is a good idea to find role models, it is important to first understand your own strengths as a parent.
If you have two left feet don’t pick the athletic Dad who loves to run around with his kids in the yard as your model. If you hate to cook, don’t try to live up to your friend who is the ultimate baker and is constantly decorating elaborate cakes with her kids.
Instead, look inward and see what it is you love to do and share it with our kids. If you love to read, read your favorite books with your children. If you love to knit, teach them how to knit. Involving kids in your hobbies will help you parent more confidently. It is always good to share with others what you feel passionate about.
3. Use Positive Self-Talk:
Because modern parents have a tendency to be unsure, we will often tell ourselves:
* “I am such a bad mother/father!”
* “My kids are always misbehaving!”
This kind of talk can make parents feel hopeless. It is always better to be positive:
“Even the best parents make mistakes. Overall, I am a good parent.”
“Kids misbehave it is a part of childhood. For the most part they are good kids.”
When we speak or even think in a positive manner we are able to cope with our problems more effectively and with more confidence.
4. Be calm:
The best gift we can give our kids and ourselves is to parent with calmness. When we are stressed we often get mad and lose it with our kids. That does not help us feel confident.
We need to take time for ourselves, try to get the sleep we need, and eat healthy (at least some of the time.) It is helpful to make sure that everyone in the family, kids and adults alike, have some sort of relaxation ritual built in to their day. A calm parent is a confident parent. Even more important, a calm family is a confident family.
It is important for us to reclaim our feelings of confidence as we parent. Sticking to our limits and rules, being ourselves, keeping positive and parenting with calmness can help us do just that. Kids will know that they have a parent that they can look up to. And we, the parents, will feel capable, and in control. We will be able to parent with conviction once again.