10 Ways to Be An Effective Parent
First, take care of yourself.
Katy dies taking care of many people. “She was selfless and sweet.”
Many years ago, I almost died of exhaustion. But today I’m alive, healthy, and wise.
I moved with my three weeks old baby to a new city with no family members nearby. I parked, unpacked, and I returned to my healthy life. I forgot that I was a new mother with many psychological changes. Right, I had several reminders from my mother, who lived 5250 miles from NY.
As I can remember, my long-distance mother and siblings called and wrote letters. The theme of their messages centered on self-care, “Ema, take care of yourself.” They were worried. I didn’t listen to them or take my advice — I didn’t care about my mental health.
Take Care of Yourself.
Show your children practical ways to live a healthy life. Our experiences are never the same, but we can learn from others’ experiences, what to do, and what NOT to do.
My biggest mistake as a first-time parent was not taking care of myself. I choose not to listen to myself or take my advice. Why didn’t I take care of myself? My excuses, I was physically fit and no postpartum complaint.
Within a month, I was rushed to the hospital with elevated hypertension. I had no history of hypertension or any other illness. It was so bad that I spent a night in the hospital for observation. I came back home the next day, but my life was not the same for a while.
I was numb of what to do, how to do it, or why to do it. Before I knew it, I lost my signature smile, and unfortunately, the most needed interaction with my baby.
Do you have any conflicts taking care of yourself first? Then remember the airplane takeoff announcement, “put your life jacket first before you help your child or others.” Your child needs you more than you need her. Take care of yourself. A healthy parent is a healthy child.
Ask for help.
Teach your children a communal living. It takes a village to raise a child. When I had my first child, I chose not to ask for help, and my parenting was ineffective.
Tired parents struggle with self-care and proper parenting.
Today, I asked and received help. I help others too. I am Oliver Twist, and it makes me happy and healthy. To be an active parent, you cannot do everything alone.
Ask your spouse, children, parents, friends, siblings, and others for help. If you can afford, hire help.
How do you ask for help? Just ask and be specific on what you want the person to do for you.
In my house, I have a family scheduled with assigned roles/chores.
Exercise Your Parental Authority.
Show your children leadership in action. Parenting is not a joke. Is your position as a parent as powerful as the US presidency?
My mother said, “I run my family as a business.” First, examine your culture, your personality, and parenting style. Pay attention to what works for your family and run with it.
Parenting is the most challenging job on the planet. Society reflects mostly on what parents do or not do in their homes. Parenting is not for the weak mind. It is a position you are likely to annoy your children and others when making the right decision.
My daughter loves to talk about her days in high school. I took away her cell phone during SAT preparation. She hated me, but I did it anyway. Now, she confessed how the cell phone removal helped her focus and got the test score she wanted — an effective parent makes tough decisions.
Never revise your role as a parent. John Rosemond asked, who is the most important person in your family?
Alicia exchanged her bedroom with her two young daughters’ room because the room was large and had a bathroom. Would you handover your bedroom to your two kids, and why?
We teach people how to treat us by showing them how we treat ourselves — Brianna West
Your Action Speaks.
Dr. Shefali Tsabary, in her book, “The Conscious Parent,’’ states how parents’’ actions influence the well being of their children. Our children learn more from our behavior, and they believe in our activities.
Right, parents are not perfect, but our actions always speak louder than our words.
Parents are more potent when they are transparent, authentic, and practice their values. What are your values and expectations?
Hide Your Favoritism and Follow the Direction of Each Child.
An active parent makes rules fair and treats every member of the household with fairness. Fairness makes it easier for you to establish the rules, follow through with it, and enforced the consequences.
Teen years are the time for the children to criticize and label their parents as a hypocrite. For example, a teen reports, “my dad is nice to people in the church, but a terror in the home. He is a hypocrite.”
Siblings are not the same. Celebrate the strengths and imperfection of each child. Parents rarely predict which one of their children will call or visit them during old age. Hide your favoritism!
I suggested to my son to play a team sport and explained why? Then I realized I was pressuring him. One day in the car, he said it out loud, “I wish I were like my sister.” I felt terrible and rash — I didn’t practice my advice. I apologized, and he expressed distress and concluded, “I am my person, and I can succeed in my way.”
Respect Yourself and Your Child
My parents practiced self-respect. They knocked on our bedroom door from the time I can remember. They asked for our opinion but made their own decisions.
In Nigeria at that time, children were seen not heard, but not in our home.
I permitted my children to think for themselves, and I stayed clear of their business.
My daughter often laughs at how ridiculous her friend’s parents are — mind-controlling and guilt trapping their children.
I have differences with my daughter, but respect is paramount in our relationship. She often asked for a bit of advice, and I rarely give any.
Fruitful parents enjoy their children’s company and have a productive conversation. I have a friend who religiously wires money to his parents but rarely visit them. Why do you think my friend preferred sending money to his parents than visiting them?
Volunteer Your Time and Expertise
Volunteer your time and resource to your community. You are sowing the seed of interdependence in your children — a spirit of giving and problem-solving. An effective parent solves problems and empowers her/his children/community.
Teach Living Skills
An active parent teaches living skills such as cleaning, cooking, sewing, doing laundry, and others — self-reliance, self-discipline, and self-respect.
Parents worry when their children are preparing to leave for college. A woman confesses, “my son in Law school in Chicago, FEDEX, his laundry weekly to NY.” It works for this family.
What happens to this Law student’s future family? It’s not about laundry but the skill he needs as a productive adult. Living skills direct our lifestyle.
My daughter complained of housework and reported how her classmates have a live-in maid. And they were not doing what she was doing in our house. True!
She went on her first trip and was amazed at how 13 years olds classmates couldn’t do laundry or prepare a simple breakfast. She came home so proud because she taught her friends how to do their laundry and make breakfast.
Do Not Compare. Practice empathy and compassion with your children and take a moment to think of your childhood and put your child where you were 20 or 40 years ago.
Sure, It’s’s human nature to compare and contrast. But structured parents work very hard not to compare their children with others. It required discipline and consciousness.
Be careful with what you do, say, or not saying. Your children observe you more than any other person. Comparison sows the seed of strife between siblings, reduces confidence, and bred a lack of respect for parents.
Soon, your children start comparing you with other parents too. Why can we go on vacation like my friends? Why can we buy a mansion like my friends?
Make Use of Dinner and Car Ride
Active parents use every opportunity to teach their children a life lesson. Be selective when you observe something, such as the act of kindness or any other issues.
Put your children in the center of discussion when you spend time with them. Join the conversation to teach lessons — self-respect, civil responsibility, and others!
Let your children lead the forum and follow up with what experience you want to impact. My 30 minutes car ride to church on Sundays was a time to discuss important topics such as sex, money, politics, my childhood, and tolerance. It works because my children still discuss some of these topics with me.
What is your definition of LOVE? How do you practice LOVE with your children?
Parents are not perfect, but self-care can improve parenting and make your family life meaningful.
Are you a new parent or looking for a way to enhance your parenting skills, I recommend this book, The Conscious Parent by Dr. Shefail Tsabary.
Help yourself grow.
Let’s stay connected, BY