Why do parents put so much pressure on themselves? Yes, you want your child to have a better upbringing than you did. Yes, you want to be able to provide for them physically, emotionally, and financially. Yes, it would even be nice if you could be and do all for them. Yet the truth is, no parent is perfect. Nor do you have to be perfect to be a great parent to your children. All that’s required is that you make strides daily to be the best version of yourself possible. If you’re on a journey to do right by your children and want to improve as a person, these tips will help you immensely.
Lay Off the Mobile Devices
Your kids aren’t the only ones who could benefit from reduced screen time. When you’re on your phone, computer, or mobile device too often this can lead to physical and emotional problems. Spending your spare time on social media, for instance, can give you a false sense of reality forcing you to feel depressed about your own life or abilities as a parent. Hours of TV or playing games on your smartphone could result in eyestrain, back and neck issues, as well as extreme headaches.
Your children notice when you’re distracted by your phone. Though it may be important at times, it is imperative to show your children they mean more to you. Find time throughout the day to put the tech down and simply enjoy your children.
Let Go of Bad Habits
Your children are watching you whether you realize it or not. They comprehend things that you often feel you’re masking from them. To prevent them from following down the same path, this means being mindful of your actions and words. If you smoke or drink, for example, start reading addiction books to see how it impacts you and your family and ways to get help with quitting. If you eat junk food and aren’t really active, adopt healthier lifestyle methods by incorporating more fruits and veggies and walking for a few minutes daily. Parents who find themselves on a slippery slope with health and substances could wind up in a legal situation or even a custody battle if there is divorce, addiction, and health issues all happening simultaneously.
Take Care of You
It’s not uncommon for parents to neglect their own needs and wants to tend to the needs of their children and family. As admirable and selfless as this may seem, you’re actually doing more harm than good. If you’re not taking care of yourself you become physically or mentally sick, you resent your family, and you bring stress into the household. Taking care of you by getting enough sleep, eating right, staying active, participating in things you enjoy, and taking a break from parenting responsibilities helps to improve your outlook and quality of life which trickles down to how well you parent.
You want to shield your children from everything, but the truth is you can’t. Overparenting or trying to do it all for them will eventually burn you out. It can also result in your children being pretty helpless adults. Therefore, stop overparenting and trust your children to do some things on their own (within reason and as it is appropriate for their age). They’ll be stronger because of it and you’ll be a little less stressed knowing they’ll be fine with or without your guidance.
Communicate Openly and Honestly
In a world where exposure to everything from sex and violence at a younger age is easy, it is imperative that parents be open communicators with their children. Listen to their needs, cares, and interests. Talk with them about real-world events in an open and honest way. Starting this young creates a healthy environment for sharing and encourages them to come to you when they have an issue – no matter how big it is.
Parenthood is a lifelong journey that will come with many peaks and valleys. No matter how great you feel your childhood was, it takes years to learn how to effectively parent your children. Don’t be so hard on yourself that you’re trying to reach an impossible goal of perfection, but instead, work each day at being a better person. Your children will greatly appreciate your efforts.