Being a good parent can mean so many things. For some of us, it’s providing our children with everything they need — whether materially or activity-wise; for others, it’s making sure they have a good education and enough money so as not to struggle in the future; and some parents focus on spending time with their children and providing a good home environment.
Whatever your approach and ability, being a good role model for your children is a gift we can all work on offering.
So here are some ideas you may want to consider for your child/children in 2019:
As well as being educational and helping with literacy skills, books can open up children’s minds and widen their horizons. Some people believe that those books and comics we read as children don’t mean much, but they have often left a lasting impression on us — whether we remember them or not. They can play a part in shaping our thoughts, attitudes, and self-image, and influence our language and learning skills.
Teaching your children to be grateful for what they have and for your sacrifice to them as parents can help them to develop a positive perspective and a sense of inner peace. We can’t force our children to be grateful for what we give them by getting resentful or negative; it’s more likely to be a gradual and imperceptible development. We can practice gratitude by spending a little time daily as a family — perhaps at the dinner table — sharing about what we are grateful for that day.
3. Good influences
Helping your children to spend time with friends and adults who are a good influence on them can make a big difference in leading their lives in a positive direction. Children are like sponges and absorb behavior, language, and belief systems. They are fast learners so we can take advantage of their keen senses and help them form good, lifelong habits.
Although this can be tough, if you can help your children to have some discipline and a good understanding of boundaries, this is something they will hopefully thank you for in the future. Boundaries can give children a sense of stability and security, and can also help them to better understand their place in the world.
Children are independent beings and should be helped to do things for themselves, as much as possible. Let’s encourage them to develop their own character, will power, and freedom, while steering them gently, under our loving protection. Let them grow to be fearless and bold, with a strong heart.
If you can show your children as much respect as you would for an adult whom you hold in high regard, they will not only develop good self-esteem, but will also learn to mirror your respect toward others. You can pay attention to how you communicate with them — your language and actions — and take care to uphold their need for dignity and privacy. Do you make fun of their weaknesses or can you instead support them unconditionally?
You have two ears, but only one mouth for a reason! If you can put more effort into listening to your children and really get behind their words to understand their emotions, you can develop a stronger bond with them. They are also more likely to pay attention to you when you need to communicate something to them. Through patience and attentiveness, you can be a good role model for future communication skills.
How many of us remember hearing our parents talking about us when we were children with their friends or acquaintances? It’s often not a pleasant experience. It’s best not to talk about your children behind their backs, but if you must discuss them, make sure your words are positive and respectful.
9. Taking care of oneself
As a parent, it’s easy to get caught up in your busy schedule and stop taking care of yourself, or start living through your children and neglect your own needs. However, as their closest role model, it’s important for you to set a good example of self-care, as your children are very likely to mirror you in their health issues. Make sure you pay attention to your nutrition, exercise needs, sleep habits, and stress levels. Being healthy holistically allows you more energy to give to your children, so you do need to dedicate some time to recharge your low batteries.
We are never perfect, but you can learn to accept yourself and what you find challenging. Your children can also absorb your sense of self-esteem, confidence, and how you feel about yourself inside. Making peace with yourself as a parent and individual can help you stay calm and happy, and this will rub off on those around you. They will enjoy your company more, too.
Translated by Cecilia and edited by Emiko Kingswell