1. Loving with limits
Being a parent is one of the toughest jobs you can do, and it doesn't just stop once children turn 18. There is so much you need to teach them so they can grow up to be thoughtful, well-rounded and independent adults.
This is at a time when the world can sometimes seem more complex and unsafe than ever before. But years of research into parenting and child outcomes has shown me that there are a few steadfast principles that we can apply that give our children a far better chance of a rosy future.
So what type of parent are you? And what can science tell you about being as effective as you can be? Take my test to reveal something about your parenting style.
2. QUIZ: Take the test
Hovering helicopter, hands-off or resilience builder? Take the test and reveal something about your parenting style.
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One of the toughest lessons a parent has to learn is how to take a step back and let their children learn from their mistakes. So are you unintentionally developing a child who lacks resilience, unequipped for life outside the nest?
3. Tips to independence
The most effective parent is one who balances care with appropriate levels of protection. Overdo the protection and you become too controlling but underplay the care and the child can feel neglected. Striking a balance is tricky but try to be the guiding, not controlling, hand that is always there for a hug if needs be.
- The fun of boredom. Despite what your child may think, boredom is a gift! In these days of constant stimulation the brain can get overloaded.
- The power of sorry. Teach your child to be responsible for their own behaviour. Urge them to identifying how they can right the wrong.
- Conflict resolution. Humans are wonderful in their diversity of values and opinions and, as a consequence, we all argue and it can be healthy.
- Step back if you want them to step up. In this often hectic world of balancing work and parenting, it can be quicker to do it yourself. Don't!
- Educate yourself. A vital role of a parent is to prepare your child to live independently in the 21st century. Learn about opportunities and issues.
- Embrace difficulty. Life is challenging so foster resilience in your child by not shielding them from problems or negative emotions.
- Be risk takers. Life is risky. Let your child experience (controlled) risk so that they become risk aware and self sufficient.
- Hug it out. Like other close bonds, the parent-child relationship is built on neurochemicals. So play, laugh, hug and talk to keep your bond strong.
Be kind to yourself
You don’t have to be the perfect parent, whatever that is, just a good enough one. We are all human and, however many children we may have, we are all still learning what is the best way to parent each child, so be kind to yourself!