How to be a more effective and happier parent? Here are 12 very interesting strategies that Braden Bell, a teacher, writer and director learned over the years in observing parents to remain empowered, positive and happy with their children.
1. Parent from wisdom, not anxiety.
Too often, parenting stems from anxiety. The fear of other people's judgment, of our own shortcomings, or any hypothetical misfortune that could happen for our kids. Fortunately, fear can be dominated by wisdom. It's not easy to completely erase anxiety and guilt, but it's possible to control those impending feelings.
2. Look for good mentors.
Other people can help you better understand what is really important, or not. Intelligent and experienced mentors (at schools, at work, in your neighborhood, among your friends or family) can save you big mistakes and teach you hard-learned lessons. Even if you sometimes disagree with their advice.
3. Follow your gut.
Nowadays, parents have access to infinite information from a lot of experts across many channels. It can be helpful but also paralyzing. Even pundits can struggle with their kids. Parenting is far from an exact science so parents, rather than following strict guidelines, should engage their kids according to their own judgment and experience. The principle is to say no when you need to, to make your own mistakes and, when things go wrong, try something new.
4. Gossip less.
Gossipping, whether with other parents, teachers or anyone, may often have a counterproductive effect on those who engage in it. Gossiping rarely develop an environment that allows for mistakes, or change, or improvement. Most of the time, gossiping creates increased anxiety.
5. Make a social media diet.
Decluttering your social media can change your life and boost your family relationships. Social media fasting can help you to better align with your true values and objectives.
6. Allow your kids to experience consequences.
Stop trying to manage the potential effects of your kids' actions; instead give them reasonable challenges and more opportunities to learn from their own experience. Difficulty, obstacles, failure and perseverance are what hone the abilities your kids need to become successful and happy adults.
7. Declutter your kids' schedule.
Being overscheduled can have bad outcome for both kids and parents. A good reason to limit your kids to only one after-school activity per season, for example.
8. Do things you enjoy as a parent.
Small things to do for yourself can have a beneficial impact. There are many ways to take care of yourself, besides of your kids, even if they remain your main concern, of course.
9. Connect more with your kids.
Don't lose sight of the need to connect with your kids as much and as closely as possible. Enhancing those relationships is very useful to prevent or mitigate serious problems. Try also to connect with other families. For example in hosting a special gathering with other parents or in joining a parents association.
10. Make family memories.
Family memories are very valuable. We can keep them and share them together; they can bring joy to the whole family for a long time.
11. Do old-school things with your kids.
Many activities that may seem old-school can have a positive impact in a family, like handwritten thank you notes, reading paper books, organize a dinner party, baking, or gardening, etc.
12. Dont worry, take action.
Worries are negative while action is positive. Especially in parenting.
Picture: Children in the park (ChildUp.com)