Raising your child is one of the most important things you will do in your life. The impact that they will have on the world starts with you. No pressure there, right? I have found myself wondering why three isn’t a college course in Parenting skills numerous times. And, to be honest, I DO NOT know.
But while parenting my strong-willed child (really I have 2 of them now) I have learned that there are so many skills that I need to improve on so that I can raise them well. Here are parenting skills you need to remember to raise your child.
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10 Parenting Skills you NEED
Many of these skills will have a positive impact in multiple areas of your life as you work on them. And I hope that it brings a little bit of peace to what I am sure sometimes feels like complete and total chaos. Because I think we can all use a little more peace in our lives.
1-2-3 Magic: 3-Step Discipline for Calm, Effective, and Happy Parenting
How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk
The Whole-Brain Child
Audible Membership Listen to these books (and more!) so you don’t have to worry about finding time to read a book. I listen while I clean, drive, or even while my kids watch a movie. It’s great!
Even if your child is doing something insignificant to you, give them positive feedback. Your child craves your approval and attention. Telling them they did a good job and thanking them for doing what you asked them to is HUGE. It will encourage them to continue good behavior and let them know that you see them.
So even if you had to tell them to go get their shoes 28 times before they did, tell them good job! And this is the hard part, MEAN IT. Be excited and happy about the fact that they did what you asked. Next time, maybe it will only take you asking 10 times.
*BONUS* If you say good job and thank you, you are also setting a precedent to have good manners! BOOM. You are rocking this parenting thing.
Set Rules & Enforce Them
You’ve heard the saying.. Give them an inch and they will take a mile. This is a strong-willed child to a T.
So when you set the rule, you HAVE to stick to it. If there is a consequence to breaking it that has been promised, you need to follow through. That is not to say that you can’t give them opportunities to do the right thing or correct the behavior. But however you handle rule-breaking, you have to do what you promised or there is no point in your child following the rule.
I mean really, how many cookies would you eat if you wouldn’t gain any weight from it? All of them. All the cookies. Maybe that’s just me..
Have Open & Honest Conversations
This is a parenting skill that is going to impact ALL of your relationships. And that you should practice throughout your life.
If your child asks you a question, give them a thoughtful and true answer. Even if it means having a hard conversation that maybe you weren’t prepared to have yet.
I also believe that there is a place for saying giving a basic answer to the question and saying that you will have a more in-depth conversation at a later time when it is appropriate. But you will have to judge that based on your child’s maturity level, age, ability to understand, and the circumstances of the situation.
Don’t use age as an excuse not to have a difficult or awkward conversation. Discussing sex with an 8-year-old may not be ideal, but you don’t want any misunderstanding or mistakes to happen because your child is simply uninformed. If a topic that comes up is unsettling to you like sex, bullying, disability or disease, or numerous other hard topics, try beginning the conversation by asking your child why they are asking. Or what makes them curious about it. Then gauge your answer based on that information.
It is also important to remember that your child should see you having open and honest communication with other adults. Allowing them to witness communication between your husband or your parents can set an example for them.
Patience is probably one of the most tested parenting skills that there is. There are some days where I just can’t say “leave the dog alone” again without losing it. Among countless other phrases in my house.
I find myself closing my eyes and taking a deep breath several times a day so that I can respond properly to what my 2-year-old is doing. And I have a conversation with my husband at least twice a month about how utterly exhausting it is to say the same 5 phrases 200 times a day every. single. day. for weeks.. months even. Some of them…. it’s been over a year!
But your child’s brain doesn’t work in the way that an adult’s does. You can’t say “don’t touch the hot grill” once and have them understand that it will be the same answer in 5 seconds, 5 minutes, or 5 years. They have to check. And you have to repeat. Oh, and just because the grill is off and not hot does not mean you can change your answer. Because if you change the rule once, you will be saying it for the rest of your life if you have a strong-willed child like mine.
He will remember “that one time…” for the rest of his life LOL.
Do your best to remember to be patient as often as possible. And know that it is okay if you slip up once in a while. We all do.
Show Your Love
This is a big one. And another parenting skill that goes far beyond just parenting.
Never assume that your child knows you love them. Even just words are not enough. You need to SHOW your love through words and actions. We all give and receive love in different ways. As your child grows, you will learn what means the most to them.
Do you know your child’s Love Language? Make sure you utilize it, not only with your child, but for your husband and any other loved ones in your life as well.
Be a Role Model
Monkey see, monkey do right? Your child looks up to you. They will do and say everything that you do. So put in significant effort to be someone you want them to be when they grow up.
This is one of the most important parenting skills that you can have. And it encompasses every other skill on this list. Because in a perfect world, you will be doing all of these things and your child will be watching. Which means they will be doing them too.
The biggest thing to remember is that your child is always watching you. Even when they are “too young to understand” or “busy with something else”. They are there. How many times were you listening to a conversation between your parents that they have no idea you heard? Your child is doing the same.
Strive to be the person you want them to be. And hopefully, they will do it even better than you do.
I know this may not seem like a parenting skill, but it is.
The way you look at yourself and treat yourself will translate directly with how your kids treat you AND how they treat themselves. If they see you neglecting your health or talking badly about your body, they will do it too.
Allow them to see you taking care of yourself properly. Practicing good hygiene, eating healthy foods, and doing things that you enjoy are important parts of your life not only for your child but for YOU.
Do not let this go too much because everything else will become harder on you. You have to be taking care of you if you are going to take care of everyone else.
Life doesn’t specifically go as planned. But consistency will help your children learn how to react to different parts of the day and it is an important parenting skill to learn.
Have a consistent schedule, and routine to how things are done. Making to respond to their behaviors everytime they occur will help them to learn what to and not to do.
Another way to be consistent is to present throughout their lives in all aspects. Do you best to be there with your kids. I mean this in several ways. Making it to dance recitals and football games, AND actually being mentally present during them (or just during play time at home) rather than on your phone or chatting with your friends at an event. Consistently giving your children your full attention will help them to thrive.
I know this seems contradictory to the last skill we talked about. But you can be flexible in a consistent way.
Some days you will have an appointment or something unexpected will come up and adjust your entire schedule. And that is 100% alright. But when it comes to being time for bed, go through the same motions you always do.
If you planned to spend the afternoon coloring but your child wants to play with play-doh instead, there is no harm in adjusting the activity. Parenting is full of adjusting your expectations and plans. Be prepared to be okay with it and you (and your child) will be much happier.
Be a Safe Haven & a Resource
Position yourself as a person that they can come to if they are hurting. Never speak in a judgemental tone to your child when they are struggling or sharing something with you.
Having a relationship within which your child feels like they can come to you for support and assistance is absolutely priceless. Do your best not to react to mistakes that they make when what they are looking for is a solution. Often there will be enough consequences from the mistake itself that they don’t need punishment from you.
Be their support system and help them to find a solution or a fix to their mistake. And if necessary, help them to move past a bad choice they made and let them know that a bad choice does not make you a bad person.
Allowing them to tell you what happened when they are young and helping them to understand why it was wrong and correct the problem, will show them that they can trust you. And hopefully, when they are older and preparing to make more important decisions, they will come to you for your knowledge and advice first.
Parenting Skills You Need
Here is a quick recap of the parenting skills you need to raise a strong-willed child.
- Give praise
- Set rules and enforce them
- Have open and honest conversations
- Be patient
- Show your love
- Be a role model
- Practice self-care
- Be consistent
- Be flexible
- Be a safe haven and resource
You will not be perfect at all of these all the time. And that is not the goal. The goal is to work on improving your parenting skills as often as you can so that you can raise your child to be the best person they can be. Growth is what matters, not perfection.
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