by Senait Adebo | Apr 5, 2020
Parenting is one of the toughest and most fulfilling jobs in the world and likely the one you feel the least prepared for. I understood early on the need for intentional parenting and the impact a parent has on a Child’s future. However, I used to ask myself if I am doing enough; if my kids are getting all they need, and I used to be worried about if my kids will turn out ok until I learned a few pearls of wisdom that set me free and relieved the stress and worry. I would like to share these with you.
The time we are in now is the most trying moment for parents. You have the additional responsibility of homeschooling your kids and ensuring that their physical and emotional needs are met on top of your other responsibilities and workload.
I heard someone say recently that “if Scientists won’t find the vaccine for the Coronavirus (COVID-19), Parents will” LOL!
The good news is that you can turn this challenging moment into an opportunity to connect and bond with your children and create a stronger and more connected family. Let’s get right to it.
What do Children need from parents?
Children have an innate need for attention/love and power – a sense of control of their world. These are the 2 major needs of children. If these 2 are met they will behave much better and they will be content. Alfred Alder, the Psychologist, states these as a need for Belongingness and Significance. You can also think of these as 2 buckets that need to be filled every day.
I strongly believe that there is no parent who doesn’t love his/her child. However, most parents fail to communicate their love for their children or fail to make them feel loved and accepted. It is reported that the biggest hurt, disappointment in a child comes from parents – well-intentioned parents. This can arise from the use of negative discipline techniques or if parents haven’t resolved their conflict or are projecting their overwhelm and stress onto their children.
I have seen from my own experience being a mother and a pediatrician that Children behave well, listen better, and are happy when these 2 needs are met. You might have noticed that if they don’t get the attention they desire, they will get it by misbehaving. In the same way, if you don’t let them feel a sense of power by allowing them to choose, they will show you their power by not obeying your commands. Fulfilling these 2 needs in and of itself will make kids behave and listen better. I want to summarize 6 additional tips that will help you parent effectively during this outbreak. You can also watch my youtube video if you prefer.
- De-stress and be well yourself
You might have heard of the saying “you can’t pour out of an empty bucket”. Therefore, do whatever makes you energized and vibrant. For me it is running/exercising 1-2 times a week and spending quiet time (as I am an introvert) energizes me. Being well and balanced in body, mind, and soul is important. What is it that fills you up emotionally? What is something that raises your Vibe? Feel free to leave a comment below.
- Show that your Love is unconditional.
Even though, as a parent, it is your responsibility to discipline your kids, it is important to separate their misbehavior from them and show that your Love is unconditional. Avoid shame, blame, and labeling instead gently redirect, teach, and guide them. Talk about what they can do better next time outside the peak emotions. We all are humans and we can sometimes be lead by emotions such as anger, fear, frustration…etc. It is important to heal the damage in relationships and hurt by apologizing.
- Be a good role model
Children are more likely to imitate our behavior than follow our words. One of the pearls of wisdom that set me free from worrying about my kids was knowing that they are imitating me. Sometimes, I am intentional about showing them what I am doing and how important that is. Let me tell you an example of how my 11-year-old daughter imitates me. I love scrambled eggs; I would eat them for lunch and dinner. I usually have a green juice in the morning so I don’t usually eat eggs for breakfast. Yes, you guessed it right. My daughter would come from school and make herself scrambled eggs almost daily. Even if I cooked her favorite meal, she would make herself scrambled eggs. This is all to say that they are watching you and imitating you whether you like it or not. “Do as I say and not as I do” doesn’t work. What are some of the ways that your kids are imitating you?
- Teach and guide them regularly on what you want them to know and to do.
Disciplining simply means training, not punishment. Remember, that positive reinforcement is much more effective than negative reinforcement – punishment. Children rely fully on us, Parents, to teach them right/wrong, good/bad.
Praising desirable behavior such as, “Thanks for cleaning your room” teaches them what is desirable and not. Avoid the trap of empty praise such as a good job or you are smart. Catch them doing something good and praise that specific action or behavior. Having said that, avoid offering material rewards as much as possible – this makes them entitled and materialistic. Remember the reward for studying is a good grade, not a candy, toy, or cloth.
Show them the consequence of negative behavior and the rewards of positive behavior. Have them develop the inner motivation to do good by understanding the reward that positive behavior brings.
- Spend quality time with each child
Spending about 10-15 minutes with each child individually, giving your full undivided attention fills your child’s attention bucket. This makes them not to misbehave – seeking your attention. This is highly likely to give you a greater return on your time. Remember, the quality of time you spend with your child is more important than quantity.
- Spend quality time with your spouse
The best gift you can give your children is a happy and strong marriage. This is the second wisdom that was another aha moment for me. Earlier in life when my kids were younger, I used to give much emphasis to our kids than I would spend quality time with my husband. I would feel guilty if I left my kids to have a date night. Knowing this wisdom was a light bulb moment and freeing in many ways and decreased my concern about my kids. When you have a happy and strong marriage you can be fully present for your children.
What parenting pearls of wisdom and tips have you learned? What was your light bulb moments in parenting? I can’t wait to hear your thoughts, comments, experience.