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  • Post published:21/02/2022
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Better Parenting

Becoming a parent is a life changing moment, it’s something you have thought about all your life but can’t fully prepare for. My parents always told me that “One day when you become a parent, you’ll finally understand.” I had an idea of what they meant but… they were right, I finally completely understood when my son was born. The emotions-the joy, the fear, the excitement, the anxiety, it’s something you truly can’t understand or prepare for until you’re there.

The goal for all of us is to become a great parent, obviously. BUT, what if we fail to achieve that? What if we make the wrong decisions, poorly handle a situation, give the wrong advice, not get through to our child? There’s so many “experts” out there with so many different opinions. The “Do’s and Don’ts of Parenting.” How do you make sense of it all?

Take a deep breath, you’ll be fine. Remember, YOU are the expert in your child’s life, YOU will be there every step of the way, YOU will continue to grow and improve alongside your child. YOU love your child more than anyone, YOU know your child better than anyone, trust YOU.

There is no perfect science when it comes to raising children, they are all different, there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to parenting.

When you have your second or third child, you will understand this completely. Same parents, same rules, different results. Each child has their own unique personality and WILL NOT respond the same. Your first child can make you feel like an expert that will have other parents marveling at your “wisdom.” You’ll want to give your expert advice on how you do it.. I mean your results speak for itself. But then here comes your second… and all you “knew” goes right out the window.

The important thing to remember is to set the same boundaries, the same values. What you would not tolerate from one child, don’t turn a blind eye for the other, they will notice. You’ll start being challenged by all your children if they see any sign of inconsistencies. BUT, it is important for them to know that it doesn’t mean one child won’t find themselves in hot water more often than their sibling, actions have consequences.

That’s also the reason it’s important not to compare them. You’ll admire traits in each and every one of your children and have your frustrations with each and every one of them. It’s important to help them build on their strengths but also help them through their challenges. If your child is a great reader for their age, it’s important to challenge them with higher level books to build on their strength. I tell my son all the time, “you’re very smart for a second grader, that’s great but you have to keep working to be smart for a third grader, fourth grader, etc.

If your other child happens to struggle with the same subject, go back to the basics, let them gain confidence and momentum. Start at a level they’ll succeed in and point out their growth along the way. This is also a great opportunity to teach leadership skills and have your other child help. I’m always looking for an opportunity to have my children step up and lead. If they want to “teach me” something they’ve recently learned, I become the student and listen and learn from them, not the time to be the all-knowing parent.

The earlier you teach your child how to get through a challenge the better off they’ll be. Don’t let them quit trying if something doesn’t come easy for them, no matter how small the task. Remember, they didn’t stop trying to crawl when they were months old or trying to walk when they were just about a year. Why allow them to stop trying as they get older? Let your child know that failing is part of the process, we all fail. It’s those that keep pushing and practicing that finally achieve their goal. When my son was about four years old, I started teaching him how to dribble a basketball. He struggled with it for a couple weeks, he told me that he would never learn how to dribble, it was too hard. I watched that same kid in his first basketball game take the basketball from one side of the court, dribble through defenders, all the way down to the other side and score a basket. I remind him of that every time he tells me he can’t figure out his latest challenge.

Watching your child struggle and lose confidence in themselves is one of the hardest things for me as a parent. It’s especially heart breaking when it’s something they love to do but because it’s a struggle, they start to give up. As a parent, it’s tough to decide rather to continue pushing them, allow them to take a break for a while, or just move on completely. That’s why for me, it was so important to teach them grit early on in their development while the challenges and the circumstances were small. It’s always helpful to fall back on an example for when they did push through and succeeded, again I use dribbling as one of my go-to’s.

Another method that I’ve used is telling them about my own struggles and eventual triumphs, whether it was from when I was a child their age or even as an adult. A simple, “I know how you feel” goes a long way for a child, to hear their father or mother admit that they’ve felt the same way or just understand where their child is coming from helps calm your kid. However you decide to get through to your child, one thing is for sure, do not let quitting become a habit and definitely don’t try to keep them from failure and disappointment, we all have to deal with it in our lives, so prepare them, don’t protect them.

Photo Credit

Photo is from pixabay

Guest Author Bio
Steven Bairos

My name is Steve and I’m a proud father of an eight-year-old son and a five-year-old daughter. They are my purpose, my passion. When I became a father, it changed my life forever, for the better. I found what I was meant to do. If there is one thing I want to succeed in, it’s being a great dad and preparing my children for life and whatever might come their way. I love helping and watching them conquer their next challenge whether it’s learning to read, riding their bike, hitting a baseball, receiving their next stripe in Kung Fu, all while building self-confidence. It’s very important for me to let my children know that they CAN achieve absolutely anything in life if they put in the time and energy. No, it will not always be easy, they will struggle at times but building that grit will get them through.

That is what I’d love to write about, to help other parents, to calm their fears and insecurities that we all feel and struggle with. Through my own experiences, the experiences of my family, friends, colleagues, I feel like I have so much great information to share. We all doubt ourselves as parents at times and being able to hear from another who is dealing or has dealt with a similar experience could be just what we need to reassure ourselves. 

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