I’ve taken some time to study how I want to be as a parent because being the best parent to your child is obviously something we all strive to be. Now, I’m not saying that this is the tell all, end all for the parenting guide, but I think it’s important to really see how you can positively influence your children because they are a product of us and what we will eventually set out into the world. If you want them to succeed, then you must remain open and positive in your choices. So, let me introduce you to four steps I strive to take daily (but don’t you worry, I’m so far from perfect, and have yet to implement these are a regular basis!) that help me in my role as a parent.
1. Take a deep breath.
Sometimes if you just inhale and exhale before you react, your reaction will be a) less severe b) coming from a calmer place, and/or c) less harsh. It’s amazing what a good ol’ breath can do for not only you, but for the impact you have on your child. A freshly oxygenated brain is a little more happy and functioning at a higher level of rationale (because let’s be honest, let’s not harp on our child for spilling the flour).
2. Let them know that they’re doing a good job (even if they’re not).
So, I don’t technically mean to praise them even if they’ve just dumped a whole bottle of lotion on the ground, and your bathroom resembles Aisle 12 at Walmart, but what I do mean is that you award them for trying when they do try something. The worst confidence killer for your child is when you’re constantly harping on them for never being good enough or not doing something right (aka your way). If they fail, let them know that it’s ok to fail and as long as they know they can confide in you in those trying times and it still be ok with them and you, then you’ve actually got a recipe for success. We’re not meant to succeed at everything we do, but if they are never reinforced to take chances (whether they succeed or fail in them), then they’ll never learn their own potential. And this leads into my next point...
3. Let them fail!
If we constantly try to let our children succeed, they will have a harder time getting back up when they do get knocked down. In them knowing that failure is just a part of life and how you deal with that failure is the true telltale of survival, they will become that much more aware of their actions and results they produce. Your children have so much to learn about the world that we’ve already learnt and often take for granted, but protecting them from what we know will happen is just recipe for disaster. We cannot always try to control the situation because it leads to confused children. Let them fall, but help them back up (especially by implementing step #2)!
4. Give yourself a time-out when needed.
Hey, this isn’t always for the kids, but us, as well! If your child is, for some reason, being a real annoyance to you on a certain day and you know taking that deep breath just won’t do the trick, kindly give yourself permission to leave the war zone and go hide in your room for a few minutes. Trust me, it’s better than just telling yourself to suck it up and then reacting in a way you immediately regret. You’re only human and sometimes the day just isn’t on your side. I know this isn’t an ideal or even realistic option for every parent, but if you do have a child that you can leave in a (play) room alone and you know they’ll be fine, then do it if it means saving a scene. A good ol’ mommy time-out is just what the doctor ordered up because sometimes just some stillness and quiet time can make you more effective and that much better of a role model.
And that’s it. I am constantly working on these things and a huge work in progress, but I know that my #1 priority is to be the best role model to my daughter that I can be. She’s pretty amazing and happy on her own and actually can already pick me up in times when I am not 100% (cue the best partner ever to have with you all day), but it’s not up to her to make sure my wellness is in check…that’s my job to her. And I swear, swear, SWEAR that following these steps put me back on track to that 100% place of being a better role model.
Here’s to raising awesome children and doing the best we can! And, happy September, everyone!
A SIDE NOTE: I plan to do some recaps on running--or more running posts in general--now that I'm officially in training mode and having my workouts sent to me weekly via my running coach. Would this interest you?
Tell me what you're doing to make September awesome!
What's one positive piece of parenting advice you have?