Are you pregnant with your first child and interested in learning some parenting skills from the comfort of home? Or, do you look around at all the other mom’s and wonder how they seem to know exactly what to do? Parenting can be intuitive, but many people model their behavior off of what they saw growing up, some read books; others talk to friends with experience and most have taken a parenting class at some point. These classes are designed to give recent research based advice on how to be the most successful parent you can be. As we all know, parenting is more than just providing physical care, it’s about helping children gain the self-esteem and emotional intelligence they need to someday become well balanced, contributing adults. Taking a 4-12 hour program can help reinforce some key qualities of successful parents so you too can feel confident about how you are handling things. Some of these points include:
- Walk the walk. Children are very aware of how adults behave. If you treat them with respect, are honest, show them empathy and love, they will acquire these characteristics as well.
- Let your child feel heard. One of the greatest attributes of a good parent is letting your child express herself and acknowledging her/his emotions. Helping your child to express their feelings in a way that doesn’t hurt others, instead of avoiding or ignoring them will validate it’s normal to have ups and downs and that their opinion matters and most importantly, they matter.
- Empathize with them. When you acknowledge their perspective in a non-judgmental way, it gives them a feeling of safety and a confidence that they are understood. Children also learn to develop their own empathy towards others by being on the receiving end of it.
- Teach them how to problem solve. The best way to do this is to model it by explaining in a clear and organized manner how and why you are resolving things in a certain way. For example, you have rsvp’d to a party and then get a more desired invitation to another event. Explain that you can’t back out of the first party without being rude to the organizer, so you will decline the 2nd invitation and talk to that host about getting together another time.
- Teach them to do things for themselves! As eager parents, we tend to want to make our children’s lives as easy for them as possible. So we clean up the spilled milk, do all the laundry, put away toys and make their school lunches for them everyday. While this might seem helpful, you actually do more to help increase their self-confidence by teaching them how to do make their own sandwiches and having them complete the task on their own every once in a while.
- Help your kids to understand that life isn’t perfect and that everyone has limitations. Failure is to be expected from even the greatest leaders. They don’t have to be shameful experiences but instead chances to learn and improve.
Instituting these type of parenting skills will help send your kids on the path towards becoming grounded, self-confident and resilient adults.