As I was writing my grocery list for the upcoming holiday, I listed the ingredients needed. Just like grandma’s sweet potato casserole recipe, parenting for strong relationships requires ingredients too.
One of my clients spoke brave words last week. She said, "I did not know being a parent was going to be this hard!" Parenting is one of the most challenging and rewarding tasks in life. Everyone has ideas for parenting just like everyone has special ingredients for their homemade dishes. By starting with ingredients that are tried and true with a little extras that work for you, connection and trust can be built with your children. Your ingredients may not look exactly like your best friend’s or even your parents’ recipe for parenting but there are a few staples for all of us to consider.
By starting with ingredients that are tried and true with a little extras that work for you, connection and trust can be built with your children.
Try a cup of showing mutual respect. You are probably asking yourself the question, "Does this mean that both parents and children are the same?" The answer is no. Life experiences and responsibilities set us apart from the 18 and younger crowd but we are both human beings and deserve respect. Finding an opportunity to work with your child and create a system to establish ground rules, promote healthy communication habits, encourage age-appropriate decisions and share household chores can lead to a successful recipe for a happier family life.
Next on the list is having fun. It is important and can be simple. Begin by smiling more. Be willing to laugh at yourself and tune in to your child’s sense of humor. Let fixing meals or shopping for groceries together become time to talk, share stories, or even to be silly. Planning some enjoyable time together is also a good idea. Brainstorm ideas for having fun as a family. Ask everyone for suggestions. Be open-minded and not quick to judge. Thinking of fun stuff to do may be easier then the planning. By focusing on what to do and when to do it and then following through with that one activity makes fun happen!
Encouragement means giving less importance to mistakes and more importance to your child’s strengths.
Giving encouragement shows we believe in our kids, and thus, they believe in themselves. What a sweet part of the parenting recipe! Each child is unique and has many special and wonderful qualities. To feel capable and loved, children need lots of encouragement. Encouragement means giving less importance to mistakes and more importance to your child’s strengths.
Showing love fills your child’s emotional tank and is essential. Unconditional love fuels the place of emotional strength to help your child through their challenging days. Refill regularly through your words and actions because as it gets depleted a little extra of the showing love additive goes far in the parenting mix.
Creating your own parenting concoction with a pinch of this and a sprinkle of that added to the mixture of these four staples could have your kiddos cleaning their plates and asking for more saying, "please" and "thank you"!