Parenting 101: What You Must Know about Raising Kids
Parenting 101. It’s a compilation of basic but not always obvious information to help you navigate the unknown territory of parenting. Brand-new parents, as well as veteran parents alike, could benefit from some Parenting 101 tips and insights, for each new stage has new roads to travel. Consider this a map to help you explore all that you must know about raising kids.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” (Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities.) This paradox captures the essence of parenting. It can be wonderful, and it can be miserable. That’s why knowing these things about raising kids can help you embrace the best times and make it through the worst times ("Common Parenting Issues and How To Deal with Them").
Parenting 101 Tip: Foster Love and Relationships
At the forefront of everything you do as a parent is your relationship with your child(ren). All that you will do—even addressing the unpleasant, stressful problems—is ultimately about nurturing that relationship. In fact, it’s been said that 90 percent of the interactions you have with your child should be about connecting so that your child can accept the other 10 percent that involves correcting (Shaw, 2015).
These tips can help you foster loving relationships with your kids:
- Give care and respect. Treat kids the way you want them to treat others.
- Spend dedicated one-on-one time with each child daily. Even 10-15 minutes is enough, just make sure that phones and other distractions are removed.
- Listen fully to your kids. Pay attention to what they’re saying. Make eye contact. When they feel heard and respected, they are more prone to listen to and respect you.
- Express your love with words and hugs.
Know This about Raising Kids: Set Goals
An important goal of parenting is to prepare your child for independence. The years of parenting a child and teen is a process that allows you to foster that independence. When you know where you’re going and why the process goes more smoothly than it would without guiding goals.
Another common goal is to teach kids how to regulate and discipline themselves. These Parenting 101 tips can help you develop your own goals that fit you, your life, and your family:
- With your partner, list what is important to you for your kids. Education? Music? Sports? Religion or spirituality? Volunteerism? The list is seemingly endless. Narrow your list to a few dominant goals, reasons why you want to do what you do, and let them be a guide as you raise your kids.
- Use your goals when establishing routines.
- Design your actions, discipline, and interactions with your kids around these goals.
- Be a role model, acting and talking in ways that speak to the values you want to pass along to your kids.
Helping Kids Thrive: Discipline and Beyond
It’s not uncommon for people to assume that discipline means such things as establishing order or bringing kids under control. Many even think of it as punishment. However, discipline is really about teaching. Some Parenting 101 tips about discipline:
- Teach your kids what you want them to know about their behavior by modeling that behavior yourself.
- Talk with them calmly and gently.
- Avoid yelling, spanking, or threatening, as these inspire fear, and kids tune out this type of approach.
- Be firm; when you mention a consequence, stick with it.
- Be fair; the consequence should fit the crime.
- Catch kids being good and tell them.
- Know what consequences you want your child to face and communicate them.
- Be consistent; set rules and limits, and follow through every time to teach your child that home life is stable and predictable.
- A helpful message to send to kids to nurture your relationship while teaching proper behavior is, “I love you unconditionally, but I don’t love what you did.”
Disciplining—teaching—kids helps them thrive. So, too, do you and what you do. Here are some more important things to know about raising kids:
- Give your kids simple choices, as choices build decision-making skills.
- Let kids play and be goofy. Be goofy with them.
- Laugh together every day.
- Set aside time to do something fun.
- Read to your kids; read with them when they’re older.
- Get outside together.
- Foster a love of learning.
- Create opportunities for your kids to socialize (play dates, classes, etc.)
- Let them develop their imagination with pretend play and free play.
- Give kids space and opportunity for creative floundering. As they engage in creative activities and become frustrated, let them work through it themselves to build problem-solving skills and a sense of accomplishment.
A final Parenting 101 tip: Give yourself leeway to creatively flounder, too. You will experience parenting fails because parenting is both a wonderful and frustrating process. Reach out to parenting resources when you need help. Be true to your goals and values, love your kids, yourself, and your partner, and enjoy both the best of times and the worst of times.
Peterson, T. (2019, June 25). Parenting 101: What You Must Know about Raising Kids, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, April 1 from https://www.healthyplace.com/parenting/parenting-skills-strategies/parenting-101-what-you-must-know-about-raising-kids