Does it sometimes feel as though your parenting skills need some desperate sharpening up? If a job description and set of requirements for parenting was ever written up, it would be far beyond the abilities of normal people like us. Parents are called on continually to do the impossible, to be the impossible. We’re the fairies that bring order where there was only disorder; the light-bearers who keep a candle burning in the biggest storms; the nose-wipers, diaper-changers, cheerer-uppers, homework coaches, lullaby-singers, and a whole lot more. If there was a school one could go to to learn parenting techniques, it would be the hardest course of study in the universe; leagues more difficult than the hardest rocket science or microbiology.
But though the big Parenting University has yet to open it’s doors, we’re all in a parenting school of sorts, learning in our day to day life what it means to be a good parent. We couldn’t do much to learn parenting methonds before we started the job, but as parents we’ve got the best coaches to help us learn parenting style now—our own children.
Here are three tips that will help you make the best of your opportunities, today, to hone your parenting skills:
• Stay Humble, and Keep a Learning Attitude
• Keep the Priorities Straight
• Patience, Patience, and More Patience
If you’re sure your way is right and nothing that happens can change your opinion, you are likely to make lots of big, big mistakes in your parenting journey. But if you stay humble, responsive, and ready to learn, you’ll gain new parenting insights every day—and when you do make a mistake, it won’t be a fatal one.
When you do make a mistake, own up on it. When you owe your child an apology, make one. Not only does this enable your child to categorize it under ‘mistake/aberration’ rather than ‘the way daddy/mommy is’, it also gives him a wonderful model to follow when he makes his own mistakes in the future.
Keep your priorities straight. A perfect house is nice, a perfect report card is nice, a perfect wardrobe is nice. But they aren’t crucial. What’s important is your child’s soul, and the way you, as a parent, are shepherding that soul.
Often we spend most of our time, energy and money focused on things that don’t really matter. We live with our children, we take care of their physical needs, but we aren’t interacting with them on a deeper level. They’re left to plot their own course on their own, always hungry for a little more one-on-one time, a little more loving.
Take some time out where you put away that phone, you close up the computer, and you just focus on that fascinating little person and what he wants to tell you.
There’s nothing a parent needs more than patience, patience, and more patience—unless it’s love, and the two go together. With patience and love, even minimal parenting skills can go a long way. Realize that your child has an enormous amount he is learning and coping with as he grows. Nagging and pushing your child is almost always counterproductive; instead, learn to work with him in affirmative ways to get him where he should be.