Parents are constantly getting advice about the best ways to do things, from food to schools to holidays. They’re responsible for helping turn a baby into a fully functioning member of society in 18 entirely too short years. What’s often missed in this process is the emotional skills that parents can use to make the whole thing a little bit easier. It’s not advice on what to do, but rather how to do it. We’ve pulled together a list of emotional skills for parents to give you a place to start.
Have you ever heard that, on average, a child needs to be offered a new food 15 times before they’ll eat it? It takes a whole lot of persistence to keep going after the first dozen failures.
Look, kids are going to say hurtful things to their parents at some point. Sometimes, it’s not even intentional on their part. While you should probably plan for how you want to deal with that behavior, you might separately want to make sure that those comments don’t end up ruining your day.
Kids have a way of bringing out the best and worst in us. Being able to practice restrain in tense moments allows a parent to make decisions on consequences that best match their parenting style.
We’re big on gratitude, and that certainly applies to parenting, too. It can be easy to forget the little things that we’re grateful for while dealing with a diaper blowout, a screaming fit or a teenage silent treatment. But there’s plenty of research out there showing that expressing gratitude is helpful for emotional health.
Kids often thrive with a decent bit of structure to their lives, and they’re often pushing boundaries just to see what the limits are. When you stick to your own rules (as long as they make sense) you offer that structure.
Not Taking Things Personally
This one is especially true for the early years of parenthood. If you haven’t yet figured out how to nail the perfect swaddle or get your toddler down for a nap, you’re not a failure.
Model the type of behavior you want to see in your child. Try to avoid talking down about others when they’re around and encourage them to help others.
Expressing Your Emotions
Some people are naturally better at this than others, but all parents should make an effort to show their kids that they’re human, too.
Parenting often introduces us to the sometimes odd world of the youngest generation. It’s easy for us to dig in our heels. And while our own parents were right about some things, there were probably a few topics that they needed to be more open-minded about.
It takes a village to raise a kid, as the saying goes. That requires a certain level of cooperation between you and other parents, teachers, extended family and more.