Do You Question Your Parenting Skills?
Birth2Work Co-founder, father, grandfather
The Two Sides of Parenting
There are some incredibly thrilling moments we get as parents. Those major breakthrough moments give us great delight. “He walked!” “he spoke!” “They shared!”
And the quieter moments, when they throw their arms around you for a hug or ask for a sandwich only the way you can make it … those moments feel miraculous too, because it’s like reinforcement from the universe that we’re doing this parenting thing right.
And then there’s the far more gruesome parts of parenting.
None of us want our kids hitting or biting other kids or our kids to throw temper tantrums (particularly in public). And we shudder at the thought of our kids showing unsportsmanlike behavior on the field, ignoring responsibilities, or sneaking the family car out solo.
These kinds of moments make us stop and reassess what we’re doing. We ask ourselves questions like, “Do I know enough to be a good parent?” or “Am I doing the right things for my kids?” Don’t panic!
When we question our parenting skills, it highlights two things.
- We want to be the best parents we can be.
- We want to learn how.
Four Key Parenting Skills
So, how do we become the best parents we can be? Able to relish the joy and learn from the frustration? As you might imagine, that how-to list could be quite extensive. But since we only remember a few things each day, let’s focus on four key things: Patience, Engagement, Consistency, and Having a Coach.
We all know that “s%!# happens,” whether we want it or not. The key is how we react. While most of us recognize that when things go wrong at work we should breath deep, compose our thoughts, and start thinking about a way forward, at home when our kids do something that is out of line, it’s much easier to blow up and let it out.
While there are times that blowing up and yelling might make us feel better, the fact is that feeling is short lived and does nothing to help our kids. In fact, it reinforces a behavior in our kids that when something goes bad, they should yell. Not a habit we want to reinforce. (Side note: Go watch Rodney Atkins’s YouTube video “Watching You.” They’re watching you for what to do!) So, count to 10, cool off, and start thinking about a way forward rather than letting it all dump out.
Engaging with our kids is fundamentally one of the most important parenting skills we can have. Engagement doesn’t mean just showing up and being in the same space. It means talking, sharing, doing, showing, and helping the child in a way that is meaningful and relevant to them. So, when that “thing” happens that has you frosted, slow down and engage with your kid about why whatever happened was an issue.
Talk about it and discuss the right and wrong ways to have dealt with or responded differently. Even when they are young and you don’t think they understand you, do it anyway. Your tone and tenor make a huge difference. Letting your kids know that exercise can raise money for a good cause takes the pressure off you to provide the inspiration.
We all like consistency in our lives … so do our children. When it comes to parenting skills, the more consistent we are in our actions—patience and engagement—the better the outcomes in helping our children see the right way. In short, as parents, we are influencing the behavior of our children by what we do (and what our children see). Patience, engagement, and consistency are key parental skills.
HAVING A COACH
At work, we’re not bashful about finding a mentor or coach to help us improve our skills and capabilities. The same should be true for us and our parenting skills. We believe that one of the important concepts our children need to live is that life is about learning, unlearning (because things do change), and relearning at every opportunity.
With these four key parentings skills in mind you’ll smile a lot more as you watch your children grow to become happy, caring, and engaging adults. And you’ll find yourself wincing less when “s%!# happens.”
Birth2Work offers a wealth of specifics for parents ready to level up their parenting skills.
Start here with our FREE minicourse—Parent Leadership 101.
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