TIP FOR PARENTS #1
IF YOUR KID CRIES, IT DOESN’T MEAN THAT YOU DID ANYTHING WRONG
When you set limits with your kids, they probably won’t like it. They may cry about it. This is normal, healthy and good. Humans’ brains are wired to try to get what we want. Kids not getting what they want makes them disappointed and sad. It’s fine. Don’t explain or give tons of attention to the sadness.
A quick, “Oh, dear” and a gentle pat on the back while you move on with your day tells your kid, “I love you, you can handle this, this disappointment is your problem, and good luck!”
TIP FOR PARENTS #2
PUT YOUR KIDS SECOND
We live in a culture that is “child-centered.”
Why in the world would we want to put children in the center of our lives? What good would that do? I have found that children who are raised in “child-centered” environments often grow up thinking that they are the center of the universe (psst: they’re not).
So, take care of yourself FIRST. Be a counter-culture parent. If you don’t take great care of yourself, you can’t take care of your kid. Would it stress you out to sign your kid up for more than one sport or activity? Then don’t do that. Will it make your kid upset that he doesn’t get to participate in rhythmic gymnastics? Tough tootles. Better to have a relaxed mom than to have a kid who knows how to wave a ribbon on a stick. If you only have time to either make yourself a coffee or cut the crusts off your kids’ sandwich, make yourself some coffee and allow your kid to suffer through the horrors of crust.
Take care of yourself first. If you don’t, no one else is going to.
TIP FOR PARENTS #3
DON’T ALLOW YOUR KID TO DO THINGS THAT ANNOY YOU
If you do, you will end up resenting your kid. Of course, when your kid is a baby and is crying because of a need (I’m hungry, I need a diaper change), fulfill the need. BUT, once kids start having wants, don’t allow annoying behaviors to get kids what they want. Crying and whining cannot get kids what they want. Screaming can’t either. Giving kids what they want when they use an annoying behavior will increase the odds that the kid will repeat, heighten, and explore that behavior. If you want to have a great relationship with your kid, don’t allow them to annoy you!
TIP FOR PARENTS #4
DON’T SIGN YOUR KIDS UP FOR A BILLION ACTIVITIES
The amount of activities that many American parents sign their kids up for is just ridiculous. It doesn’t make you a better parent because your kid is in 5 activities at a time. Children don’t need that much activity. Kids do need to be able to entertain themselves. They do need to have time to be alone with their thoughts. Creativity often comes from silence. Take a breath, parents. Take great care of yourselves. Slow down and allow your kids to slow down too.
TIP FOR PARENTS #5
PARENT WHILE SEATED
Don’t buy in to conventional wisdom nonsense that parents need to be hovering around their kids 24/7. Require a great reason to get off the couch. Take care of yourself. It’s amazing what problems kids can solve when they have no other choice, and it’s amazing how good they are at taking care of themselves when they get a lot of practice at it.