As your child develop from a baby and toddler to a schooler and teenager, many things change but basic principles remain the same. As an awesome parent, you will balance his or her maturity level and needs with rules, responsibilities, and allowances.
While the younger child is more self-centered and less understanding of other’s expectations, the teenager is more attuned to compromise, negotiation, and developing their independence and identity.
Knowing how to be a good parent is intuitive. Trust and follow your instinct. Gage and act according to your child’s display of maturity.
Communicate often and openly. Listen attentively. Encourage your kids to talk about their experiences and emotions.
Demonstrate empathy and trust.
Most of all, enjoy your children at whatever age they are. It is a time of learning and sharing, reaching new heights together. Be there while they grow.
Here is our parenting advice how to be good with kids so that they realize their full potential.
- What is effective parenting?
- Effective parenting skills
- Ways to be a good parent
- How to be a good parent in difficult times
- Parenting tips by age
What is effective parenting?
In a nutshell, effective parenting means to engage with children in a way that they develop the knowledge and emotional skills to become happy and productive adults and have well-adapted behaviors.
To be successful in a competitive world, children must learn to be honest and have self-control. They must be able to make decisions and function independently yet be kind and empathetic to others. They cooperate with others based on healthy moral principles, behaving appropriately, even in difficult circumstances.
Parents who can instill these abilities and values in their children have done an exceptional job at preparing them for the real world. Children have eight basic needs that good parent provide to make sure that they have the best chance to thrive and be happy.
- Security. Being safe, warm, and fed are the most basic needs of a child. Consistent security is the foundation of stability and growth.
- Stability. A stable family and community environment give the child a sense of their role and value. Tradition and culture encourage belonging and a healthy identity.
- Consistency. Dealing with consistent values, expectations, emotions, and behavior helps the child develop confidence and balance. Dependable and uniform parenting is key.
- Emotional support. Being accepted and recognized are important aspects for children to develop trust, respect, and self-esteem. These qualities are the basis of a composed and independent mindset.
- Love. A sense of being in a place where one belongs and is accepted is the most profound gift. Showing unconditional love is the ultimate validation.
- Education. Formal schooling is important to prepare your child to become a productive member of society one day, but life lessons are, in many ways, even more valuable. Creating a safe and stable environment where a child can try new experiences prepares him or her for independence.
- Positive role models. Having the opportunity to look up to and imitate someone with positive qualities gives the child aspiration to develop and become better.
- Structure. Routine and structure are the bedrock of consistent development. Having rules and boundaries provide a child clarity of his or her role and what is expected of them.
Safeguard, educate, provide clear expectations and a consistent routine to prepare your child to face any challenge and transition successfully through his or her childhood development phases.
Effective parenting skills
As a mom or dad, knowing what skill set to have and how to apply it is a good starting point to effective parenting. The most central factor is time. Every one of the parental skills have one thing in common – time. Spending as much time as possible in your child’s company is an opportunity to invest in all his or her basic needs. Effective parents convey these qualities in the following ways.
- Listens. Observing and listening with attention and understanding let you know what and when your child needs something or have a problem to solve. Encourage your child to express his or her emotions and thoughts. Learn a reflective communication style to clarify what your child is saying by repeating the idea back in different words.
- Honesty and transparency. Tell your child your feelings and expectations and encourage him or her to do the same. This habit will go a long way to prevent conflicts from developing.
- Problem-solving. Engage with your child on a win-win basis and always be fair and objective. Be careful not to let emotions get the better of you. Guide your child to solve his or her problems as much as possible. Ask him or her to suggest solutions rather than prescribe your ideas.
- Respect. Respect for oneself, others, and property is the hallmark of healthy relationships. Share your values with your child and explain what the purpose is. A person who behaves accordingly gains the trust of others.
Guide your child as much as possible rather than prescribe. Let them know your expectations. Show respect and understanding. Encourage talking about their feelings and experiences. Behave toward them in a way that you want reciprocated. When children behave badly, it is sometimes a reflection on the example of the parent.
Ways to be a good parent
The following are additional tips on what makes a good parent.
- Set a good example. If you expect consistency, positivity, and respect from your child, you have to show the same values. Kids learn by imitating good role models. If you made a mistake, take responsibility and admit it.
- Recognize, praise, and give positive feedback. Kids thrive on praise and it reinforces positive behavior. Choose constructive feedback over negativity and criticism. Most people, and especially children, view being criticized as a form of rejection, which can develop into a consistent fear and lack of confidence.
- Care for and respect yourself. Self-respect and -care are two qualities that not only determine your ability to do the same for others, but set the basis for healthy, close relationships. Looking after yourself and appreciating your worth means that you have less stress and are more positive. Your family will respond with equal optimism and zest.
- Demonstrate and teach social skills. Social skills such as empathy, respect, politeness, behavioral and emotional control are best shown than talked about. Communicate openly and often. Make a point to ask your children questions about their day and experiences. Acknowledge their emotions and encourage them to talk about it.
- Show and teach gratefulness. Ask your children every day what they are grateful for. A perfect time and place to do this is at the daily dinner table when the family is together. Make sure they understand that acting with honesty and respect and being kind and generous help other people and make them feel good. More importantly, the giver also feels pride and gratefulness.
- Promote health and togetherness. Encourage children to do physical activities that they enjoy. Spend time with them outdoors. Make healthy meals fun. Prepare a meal of your children’s choice once a week. Eat together at least once a day – dinnertime is a great opportunity to talk about everyone’s day.
Good parenting skills does not necessarily refer to parents who do everything for their child, but, rather, those who use effective parenting to provide a safe and caring space for their kids and guide them through their development. Good parents may not always do everything right but they are always there.
Remember that it is a journey that you undertake together. Good parenting is an important life task, but enjoying your kids are even more important to you both.
How to be a good parent in difficult times
Learning how to be a better parent is not only important in good times. All families go through difficult patches. It is during these challenging times that you will truly find out what makes a good parent.
When your child has mental or emotional issues
According to the CDC, almost 10 percent of children between 2- and 17-years-old are diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. More than 7 percent have a diagnosed behavioral problem or anxiety while more than 3 percent in the same age group have received a depression diagnosis.
Some of these conditions often occur together, which intensifies the effects and complicates treatment. Viewed together with the fact that even more children with mental health issues are undiagnosed and untreated, which have negative consequences on their health and development, the situation needs attention.
The first line of care and most important foundation of a child’s mental health is at home. When your child is consistently sad or withdrawn, threatens or tries to hurt themselves, have sudden, overwhelming fears, is uncontrollable or takes risks, or have severe mood swings it is possible that he or she suffers from a mood or behavioral disorder.
If their behavior suddenly changes or there are signs of alcohol or drug use, a parent must be alert. A child with such difficulty to concentrate or stay still that it interferes with their functioning in school or with daily tasks possibly has ADHD.
If you observe any of these patterns, talk to your child to find out what he or she has difficulty with, or if anything is bothering him or her. Seek a professional opinion if needed.
Remember that suffering from a mental health issue is not a stigma. It is an illness and not a personal failure. However, effective parenting can make an enormous difference in your child’s resilience and management of problems. Having a caring and structured environment at home gives a child the best opportunity to develop into a happy and productive adult.
How to be a good parent during divorce
Although a stable and loving two-parent home is widely considered the best circumstances for a child to grow up, unfortunately, this is not always the reality. Almost half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce or separation after a median duration of just under eight years. This means that, in many cases, young children are affected.
The period preceding a divorce is typically turbulent and filled with arguments and conflict. Blame and accusations between partners are common. The parents’ anger, frustration, and emotionality are projected onto the kids.
The children can also become a source of quibble as they are drawn into a tug-of-war for a parent’s favor or custody. The most important to remember for parents going through a divorce is that children are not objects to be used in a fight with your partner.
You need to separate your negative feelings for your partner from how you treat your kids. Prevent having fights in front of them. Ensure that they understand they are not to blame in any way and are not responsible for the unhappiness and conflict.
Try to set your hurt and anger aside for the benefit of the kids and go out of your way to make them feel loved, accepted, valuable, and that they belong in both you and your partner’s lives.
- Be a consistent as possible.
- Always strive to be a good example of responsibility and respect.
- Separate your feelings from behavior. In other words, don’t take your pain out on the child.
- Be extra vigilant for clues that your child is struggling emotionally or performance-wise.
- Regularly talk to your kid. Improve your communication with your partner and separate disagreements from discussions about what is best for your kid.
How to be a good parent after divorce
When you are already separated or divorced you likely have some type of co-parenting agreement in place. Respect this arrangement at all times.
Except if you have experienced serious issues like physical or emotional abuse or alcohol or drug abuse, sharing involvement in your kids’ lives between both parents is the best solution after a divorce.
Even if you now have separate live, encourage your child to spend time with and maintain a close relationship with your ex-partner. Although the shared responsibilities, coordination, and decision-making can be difficult and exhausting, kids who enjoy the company and guidance of both parents have the best chance at happiness and success.
Make sure that your arrangements are consistent and unexpected things are kept to the minimum. This will help make your kid feel cared for and secure.
A peaceful cooperation with your ex-partner will teach your kid the value of compromise and joint problem-solving.
It is important to separate the feelings of hurt and anger that you may have from your behavior in front of your child. Don’t involve your child in any disagreement or conflict.
Focus on regular, good communication with your ex-partner. Make joint decisions that affect your child. Try to function as a team and support one another when it comes to the wellbeing of the kids.
Resolve issues quickly. Compromise. Don’t let small stuff get in the way and escalate. Always do what is best for your child.
Parenting tips by age
Parenting style and decisions change along with the child’s development. The needs and expectations of your baby and toddler differ from those of your schooler and teen. As their interaction with the world expands, their maturity level increases. You should always gage and balance their maturity level and ability to handle responsibility with the autonomy and freedom that you allow them to have.
Parenting tips for infants
Infants have very basic needs and they have not yet developed the distinction between themselves and their environment. They require warmth, rest, safety, and nourishment and time to establish a bond with their primary caretaker. Their main developmental tasks are to learn to eat, sleep, and become used to their bodies and interaction with others. They are starting to develop trust. Therefore, as a parent, you should…
- Establish a routine of feeding, sleep, and caressing.
- Learn how to comfort your baby for the best results.
- Look after yourself and get sleep and rest when you can.
- Relax and enjoy your baby by not focusing on small issues.
All too soon, your baby will become a toddler and he or she will start to move around more, explore, and interact.
Parenting tips for toddlers
At the age around one to two years, toddlers start to learn to walk and talk. Discovering more of the environment and people around them, toddlers become more autonomous and cautiously test their independence. However, they are still self-centered and can be quite stubborn. At this age, their language and physical skills develop quickly. They learn to navigate rules in their world.
- Support your toddler’s attempts to be more independent.
- Allow him or her to develop a sense of mastery.
- Set limits to ensure their safety and your well-being.
- Show that you tolerate his or her anger and other emotions.
- Try to see things from your toddler’s perspective.
- Keep your child safe during their explorations.
- Encourage his or her curiosity.
Parenting tips for preschoolers
Between the ages of about three and five, your preschooler becomes slightly less self-centered, more aware of his or her place in the world and start learning to manage their emotions and behavior. Their social skills develop quickly, which set the basis for when they venture into the world and go to school. They are experiential learners and test the boundaries of their bodies and minds.
To set your preschooler on the right path, you should…
- Teach by demonstrating empathy and talk about feelings.
- Continue to create routine in his or her daily life, which is comforting as your preschooler discovers new things that can be scary to them.
- Ensure that he or she gets sufficient rest and sleep.
- Monitor what food is available but allow your preschooler to decide how much to eat – provide smaller, regular meals or snacks to prevent consistent and unhealthy eating.
- Listen reflectively to your kid on a regular basis. Ask him or her to describe their experiences and feelings.
- Set limits but empathize when they disappointment – teach self-discipline rather than enforced punishment.
- Interact regularly with your child and create social time.
Parenting tips for schoolers
In your child’s school and preteen years, they become less self-centered, more attuned to others, and (usually) more caring and cooperative. In their formative years, the schooler needs guidance to develop emotional intelligence and self-regulation skills more than ever.
Utilize these typically reasonable years to cement your relationship and let your child develop his or her unique identity.
- Balance your child’s need for self-sufficiency, interaction with peers, and making time to spend quality moments with him or her.
- Plan regular family outings or events to cultivate strong connections.
- Gage your kid’s maturity and need for independence – balance rules and accommodations accordingly.
- Listen attentively to your kid and encourage sharing problems.
- Let them come up with potential solutions and teach them to negotiate and compromise.
- Recognize and praise their strengths and accomplishments.
- Limit the use and reliance of electronic devices to specific times a day.
- Know your child’s friends, their relationships, and values.
- Don’t get involved in power struggles and act firm rather than punishing.
Parenting tips for teenagers
In your child’s early teens, between 13- and 15-years, expect variable behavior and emotions as they try to settle into independence. At this point, he or she has developed a personality but may still be trying to find their stable identity.
The outside world has an increasing influence on your teen as they navigate peer relationships, look up to role models, and widen their exposure through social media and school, sports, and other events.
At this stage, the focus of the parent is on demonstrating respect and positive values, managing your own emotions, balance freedom with responsibility, and communicating regularly.
- Continue to schedule regular conversations to check in every day.
- Allow freedom appropriately but know what your teenager is doing, where, and with whom.
- Eat as many meals together as possible, especially dinnertime.
- Demonstrate and encourage healthy self-care, including meals, sleep, and relaxation.
- Support your teen as much as you can to strive for and achieve their goals.
- Act more than a parent than a friend – guide, be firm, and offer support.
- Keep computers in a family space.
- Continue to have regular family meetings and outings.
Remember that engagement with your child – whatever his or her age – is the critical component in their development. As a baby or toddler, this means physical contact and care. When your child grows older, communication about their experiences and emotions become like a light to guide them to confidence.
Listening reflectively, talking about emotions, establishing boundaries and structure, and balancing independence with responsibility are very important too. Notice changes in your child’s behavior. Monitor their activities online and in the real world.
Set appropriate safeguards on social media. When your child is old enough to have a smart phone, install an app like «Find my Kids» so that you know where they are when you’re worried.
It will give you valuable peace of mind so that you can allow them more leeway to explore their independence while also staying safe and protected.