As far as human relationships go, being a parent is one of the most challenging requiring skills at master level.
On a daily basis, you have to juggle your personal life, your married life (if you are), your career (if you have one), your friends, your neighbors, your pets (if you have any), your household, and of course your children.
So saying that it is not easy being a parent is a HUGE UNDERSTATEMENT.
Parenting is a skill on its own, it is learned and the skills are acquired as you go along.
But why go through the motions blind?
Here, we tapped on our personal experiences and skills to share it with you, so that you won’t have to go through parenting like a blind rabbit newly born.
1. Enforcing Consequences
I know I’m not the only one to struggle with enforcing consequences consistently.
We all know how tough it is to make sure that you always discipline your child for the same actions consistently. When my son misbehaves, I try to remember exactly how I handled the situation before but sometimes that just doesn’t happen the way I would want it to.
For example when my son was a baby and just learning to talk he blurted out a cuss word that I’ve been known to say on occasion (Okay, maybe it’s more than just an occasion).
The first few times it was so funny, I didn’t stop it. But then we had a problem, he just wouldn’t stop saying it.
Enforce consequences consistently.
I had to stop laughing it up when he would say a curse word. I had to enforce the rules that my husband and I knew had to be followed in order for us to grow up a functional adult.
So, even though I still found it funny, and admittedly a little cute, I had to consistently remind my son not to say “shit” because that was a grown up word and to consistently enforce those consequences of his actions.
2. Avoiding Hypocrisy
While we’re on the subject, avoiding hypocrisy was another one of my boo-boos as a first time parent.
How could I expect my little angel to avoid saying bad words when I couldn’t stop saying them in front of him.
This is when I had to learn how to control my mouth as well as I knew he had to control his.
Avoiding hypocrisy was one of the skills that I had to constantly remember. I always was doing things that I would tell my baby or older child not to do.
When they wanted to eat cookies for breakfast, how could I say no when I had just eaten cookies for breakfast.
I had to become the example that they needed to learn how to be healthy adults. Of course, this was a skill that had to be learned. It’s easy for us to slip into the easy, and often hypocritical, actions of our youth, from before we became Mommy and Daddy.
But what I did notice as soon as I started to put “do as I do” into practice that bad behaviors that I know I had modeled first stopped happening almost altogether.
3. Punishment And Discipline
Of course this brings us to another one of the skills that all of us parents need to grasp and grasp well.
We need to learn the difference between punishment and discipline and of course mete it out accordingly.
See, punishment is a type of intervention that instills a penalty for a child’s offense. Think spanking or throwing away toys. Whereas, discipline focuses on teaching your child a new skill. Think time out.
When my baby acts up or does something that they shouldn’t, I have to remember that getting angry isn’t the thing to do.
In order to discipline my child, I have to remain calm and collected. Even if it means that I have to walk away for a moment and come back to make a decree on how we’re going to deal with the bad behaviors.
This is an essential skill that we as parents have to have. We can’t just punish using knee jerk reactions. We have to remember that the way that we discipline a child will help them grow up to become effective and well-adjusted adults.
4. Understanding Proper Nutrition Needs
Another skill that we need as parents is the ability to understand how to make sure that our children are properly nourished.
Of course we have to do that by making sure that we understand just exactly what makes a properly nourished child.
Staying up on all the latest fact on how to make sure that your baby is well nourished is hard. There is so much misinformation out there to deter us from doing the right thing.
All of us parents know how hard it is to get our children to eat their food.
Sometimes my son doesn’t even want to eat his pizza. That’s right, his pizza.
But when we became parents we signed on to be nutritionist to these little wonders. That’s why keeping up on nutrition science is important.
I personally like to visit MyPlate.gov to see what the experts in the government are saying.
But there are also tons of websites out there dedicated to learning about nutrition for both yourself and your child.
5. Knowing When to Trust Your Instincts
Trusting your instincts is by far the most important and necessary skill for a parent to have.
I know that when I was first starting out as a parent, I would pour over information on the internet because I didn’t want to become that mom that was always calling the doctor.
But it soon became apparent that I needed to trust my instincts.
Sometimes the parenting books (see below) would say it wasn’t necessary for me to take the baby to the hospital. However, I quickly learned that I shouldn’t let a book dictate to me when it was time to be worried.
We’re the ones in the trenches caring for our children that’s why we need to trust our instincts.
When we know or feel that something isn’t right it is our duty to ensure that we act on those feelings. Be it taking our babies to the doctor’s office or pulling them out of a daycare that they just don’t seem to be thriving in.
We’re the ones that have to be sure that our kids are okay and the best way to do that is making sure we follow our instincts.