“Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.”—Robert Fulghum
Parenting has never been easy but with the inventions of this century, modern parents find it challenging enough to strike the perfect balance between passing on traditional values and being a modern parent. Myths aside, parents never had the rulebook to being a good parent. It was always their individual selves that learnt parenting through the process with constant trials and errors.
A concern that has remained unchanged is that parents rarely know how much of what is to be done in a given situation. In most cases, they’re either too lenient or too strict than they should be. We’ve thus, often witnessed that most children have one parent too strict and the other, too lenient. Any cases of extreme leniency or sheer strictness can be rightfully attributed to a partial or total lack of awareness. It is rarely a situation of lack of love.
However, let’s begin with establishing a fact first – Parenting is about parents, always! It is the parents that have the maximum amount of influence on their children, at least in the initial years. Whether it is about building your child’s self-confidence or nourishing their creativity of expression, you influence it all.
Another fact that is often difficult for many to understand is that your child mirrors you. It is rarely about what you teach your child and mostly about how you are as an individual. Remember, they’re always watching you, consciously or subconsciously. It is thus advisable to be how you want your kids to be, live how you want your kids to live.
Although there’s no standard fit-for-all rulebook to modern parenting, below are certain enlisted points that will prove to be advantageous in your parenting journey:
Balanced Emotional Engagement
Every relationship is built on an emotional attachment and thus, demands a certain sense of connection and attention in due time. Oftentimes, bad behaviour is a form of expression where one is subconsciously communicating their anger, hurt or disconnectedness. Similarly, a meek and people-pleasing attitude is also a consequence of negligence and emotional unavailability. Too much involvement can either make your child feel suffocated or too much detachment can make your child feel neglected. We’ve all experienced or heard of too many of such cases in the past. Let’s not make the same mistakes. Modern parenting is all about striking the right balance to build a healthy relationship with your child.
Nurture Relationship Skills
Kids are always looking for opportunities to bond with you. Bedtime or mealtime can be good instances to nourish your bond with your kids. It has been found out with observational research that after spending a healthy time apart, it is one of the best moments to rekindle with your little ones as they’re eager to share their stories and are eager to know more about you. Undivided attention after a healthy time apart is great for strengthening your relationship with your child.
Discipline Is Healthy
When we talk about discipline, we aren’t indicating strict rules that can bring down severe punishments if not obeyed. Discipline and love can coexist and is in fact a healthy ingredient for modern parenting. When you establish and follow discipline for yourself and your kids, you’re essentially teaching them the way to exist in the practical world. Healthy boundaries today can benefit them immensely in the long run. Similarly, consistency towards their goals can help them achieve prosperity.
Model Values & Behaviours
Your child isn’t born with the sense of what’s right and wrong. The values and behaviour that you model is ideally what they’d pick up as their own. Certain practices such as being and holding accountable for one’s own behaviour, positive reinforcement like praising for a job well done, apologising when wrong, are crucial to your child’s development. Do not refrain from apologising if you know that you did wrong.
Similarly, modelling self-care and me-time is also an important attribute of modern parenting. Your child must learn how to prioritise and love themselves first!
Show How To Love Your Spouse
One of the most neglected attributes of traditional parenting was that parents never taught children how to treat their partner. It is crucial to show your child that regardless of the differences or the difference of opinions between you and your partner, values are uncompromisable, respect being rudimentary. Don’t shy away from casual pecks to your partner or occasional “I Love You”s. Your child will feel blessed!