I’ve attended several baby showers lately for new parents and it brings back memories of blissfully (and anxiously) anticipating the arrival of our first child. My oldest daughter will soon be thirty-one years old and it is certainly cause for reflection on the many difficult decisions that I have made over as many years.
Parenting is challenging but well worth the many hectic and stressful days. It is a wonderful feeling to watch children grow into confident, happy, successful adults. Just as expecting parents prepare for the upcoming birth with a nursery full of accessories, they must also prepare by discussing and developing parenting skills. Looking back there are probably three questions or situations that parents need to learn to handle in order to come out successfully on the other side of parenting.
Know When To Say No
Some parents are reluctant to say no or to discipline their children. Instead they say maybe later, I’ll think about it or ask your dad or mom. They hope that natural consequences or some outside force will create the boundary so they won’t have to. Never wanting to disappoint, they instead cajole, over explain or simply avoid the dreaded NO word. Kids (and adults for that matter) need limits and despite their attempts to convince parents otherwise, they are often relieved when the answer is no. Parents who never say no are often parents who are trying to be a friend instead of a parent. They are parents who want to be liked at the expense of being respected. Your child will have lots of friends in his or her lifetime but you are the only parent they will have. Don’t be afraid to fill those shoes.
Know When To Say Yes
Just as important is the situation that calls for yes. Sometimes it means yes-you can do it, yes-you are capable, you are smart enough, energetic or talented enough. Sometimes it means that as the parent I am willing to encourage your independence, your ability, your skills, even though it will mean that I am inconvenienced myself in order to do that. Recognize your child’s strengths, nurture and encourage them as much and as often as you point out their weaknesses and the areas they need to work on.
Know When To Ask For Help
Parenting can be unknown and uncharted territory for many. Our only examples may be our own parents which for some is enough and for others may be seriously lacking as good role models. As a new parent find experienced role models or mentors who can provide a caring shoulder to lean on and supportive advice when needed. Equally important, find someone both you and your spouse can agree to agree with. One of the biggest challenges of parenting is reconciling different parenting styles which come from our different family backgrounds and different personality styles. Sometimes it takes a third party to calm the waters.
Knowing when to say no, when to say yes and when to ask for help, can provide guidance for the challenging parenting years. I wish you much success along the journey!
Checkout my ebook: Parenting with Heart: Understanding Personality Styles to D-I-S-Cover your own personality style and how to speak the language of other personality styles in order to create a winning environment in all the seasons of your family’s life.
Need some answers to common parenting questions? In twenty years of school counseling I got asked a lot of questions! Check out my ebook: Stuff Parents Want to Know for some strategies and suggestions for books to share on twenty of the most common questions.