Parenting can be a bit of a mystery. We all learn as we go and stumble our way through it hoping that we are doing right by our children. We all have different parenting styles but no matter the style all parents have the same end goal in mind: to raise a happy, confident child. How do we go about accomplishing that? Focus on these five areas and your child will be most likely to grow up to be a happy and well-adjusted adult.
Be a Positive Influence
Your children are watching you – and listening. Project a happy and positive attitude about life and they are most likely to as well. Save the rants against the horrors of our society for when the kids aren’t around to hear them and don’t discuss marital or financial problems in front of them. Hearing about grown-up problems can cause anxiety and worry in children and puts a load on their shoulders that isn’t theirs to carry.
Pile on the Loving
Some parents mistakenly believe that showing their children too much love will spoil them, but this is not true. It is actually not possible to spoil a child with too much love and affection. Children are spoiled through too much leniency and too many material possessions – not through love. Giving into a child’s every whim is what spoils them, so give hugs and “I love you” in abundance. Showing your child love and affection makes them feel safe and secure in their relationship with you and makes home a place where they feel comfortable being themselves.
Build a Relationship Based on Mutual Respect
The healthiest parent-child relationships are the ones based on mutual respect. Respect should flow in two directions: you should show your child the same respect you expect him to show you. This means stopping and listening when your child speaks to you, being respectful of your child’s belongings, and respecting your child’s space and privacy. Try not to lose your cool and snap at your child, but rather explain to him why you are upset with him and why you have chosen the particular punishment you are bestowing upon him. Building a relationship of mutual respect makes it more likely that your child will come to you with his problems or concerns, such as being bullied at school or relationship problems. Knowing that he will be treated with respect when he comes to you helps keep the lines of communication open.
We can’t make every decision for our children, and there are going to be times they make decisions we don’t agree with, but as parents we should always support them in whatever decision they make. If you want your child to take dance but she insists that she wants to play soccer instead, support her in that decision: show up to all of her soccer games and be the loudest parent in the stands as you cheer her on. One of the most important part of raising a happy child is allowing them to grow into the person that they want to be, and being a supportive parent of whatever path they choose, even if it isn’t the one we would have chosen for them.
Set Rules and Enforce Them
Surprised to see rules on the list? Kids may moan and groan about having to follow rules, but they are secretly happy to have them. As long as your rules are reasonable, they play an important role in your child’s happiness and overall well-being. The rules that you set for your child growing up provides structure for him and will help shape the rules he sets in place for himself later in life. Rules teach children boundaries and what is and is not acceptable, but beyond that children know that we set rules for them because we care about them and want what is best for them, which makes them feel loved and cared about.