As we brace ourselves for another year of change, take heart that there are constants in life. For one, the key to better parenting has always been kindness: being kinder to ourselves, to our children, and to those around us.
To be a more effective parent in the new year, aim to develop good habits and make small improvements, while accepting that there will always be challenges ahead. Here are some tips to get your family off to a great start in 2018:
Get Your Priorities In Order
Parents, do yourselves a favour and get some sleep. It can help reduce temper flare-ups.
Fix Your Exam Attitude
Children in Nigeria are often made to feel that everything is cast in stone—that they only get one chance at a certain exam, for instance—and they feel trapped. Parents need to remind their children that exams, even university exams, don’t define a person’s worth. There is always time for growth.
Accept Your Children’s Emotions
It’s tempting to clamp down on your child’s negative emotions, such as anger, but that can be unhealthy in the long run. Rather than that, accept and identify the emotion (if your child is unable to do so), give your child time and space to simmer down. Finally, when your child is calm, ask questions to find out what triggered the negative emotion.
Be Alert To Signs Of Stress
These include headaches, stomach pains, and other physical discomforts, as well as affective disorders such as depression. Common stressors for children in Nigeria are often related to academic performance, and stress could result from unrealistic expectations from both parent and child, the fear of failure, or a negative mindset. Other teen/pre-teen stressors that parents should be aware of are body image issues, as well as pressures arising from social networking.
For Learning: Focus On “How,” Not “What”
We used to live in a world where knowledge is king. That is passé now, as we have Google as our best friend that knows everything. We have become less focused on the ‘what’ and more on the ‘how,’ as the ‘how’ is what brings us ahead! For our children to thrive in this new economy, they need to be able to create innovative breakthroughs by integrating ideas from diverse fields to meet complex human needs.
Be Cyber Savvy
Here’s a rule of thumb for online sharing, regardless of your age: if you’re not sure, don’t share it. Lead by example and show your children that content disseminators have a responsibility towards their followers—teach them how to assess if content is credible, and to focus on sharing only what they feel is useful or positive for others.
Make Helping A Habit
Anyone can make a difference, even a busy parent. There must be something that creates an inner unease, that makes you think ‘That’s not right!’ or moves you when you read about it.
If you’re looking to improve your parenting, you’re not alone. In my opinion, it’s an essential area of course correction, up there with weight loss, better eating and better spending, arguably more essential. What’s beautiful about parenting resolutions is that your kids benefit too, and likely your spouse and any potential future grandkids.
As with any resolution, honestly examine areas where you feel you could be doing better or want to improve.