The Challenge of Parenting
When it comes to parenting, no prior training is required. So where do we mostly learn to parent? Well, from our own parents.
Depending on how we were parented, that could have different consequences for our children and sometimes we need help to parent well.
Help for parenting centers on 4 key areas:
- Understanding child development;
- Knowing how to set limits, boundaries, expectations and consequences;
- How to be a reasonable role model;
Knowing about child development is about understanding how children think and what they need at different stages of development.
How we set limits, boundaries and expectations ties into a child’s stage of development. For instance, two-year-olds haven’t really learned to share; four-year-olds should just about have it mastered; and 6-year-olds should have it down pat. So when a child doesn’t share, we treat the situation differently depending on their stage of development. We may take a toy from the two-year-old to help share it with another child. We would talk to the four-year-old to remind about sharing and we may limit the six-year-old’s time with a toy for not sharing nicely.
Being a role model has to do with how we manage our own emotions and behavior, particularly when upset. If we want our children to play nicely and get along with others, we must show how we do this with our partner or other adults. Seeing parents resolve conflict peacefully helps children manage their own emotions and behavior.
It is just as important to take care of ourselves as our children. Think of the parent as a bank. Children make withdrawals from us in terms of attention and energy. When we are tired, we have less attention and energy to give our children. We must top up our energy or there is nothing left for them. This means managing our relationships, getting enough rest, eating properly and finding at least a bit of time for exercise. Self-care can go a long way to having energy in our parenting bank to care for the kids.
If you are having any difficulty with these or other areas of parenting, then do seek help for yourself. Counseling and Therapy can provide the support and guidance to raising the kind of children you will be pleased with. Rising to the challenge of parenting is good for the parent and the child.