Who Said Parenting Would Be This Challenging?

My parents made it seem like parenting was a piece of cake and provided me with no warning signs of the challenges that may lie ahead. Parenting is such an awarding experience but presents many ups and downs based on your child's age, temperament and personality. Parenting strategies that may work for one child may not work another. There are a couple main parenting concepts that are essential to creating happiness between a parent and child.

First and foremost, keep your emotions in check. Become mindful of what triggers your emotions. What buttons does your child push that makes you feel angry or frustrated? Before screaming identify the emotion and use breathing techniques or other tools that will be helpful in keeping calm. Screaming at your child is not going to get your point across about how you want them to behave. Think about what your child is learning from you as you scream at them. As a parent you are the most influential role model. Take your role seriously!

Clear Expectations: Clearly defining your expectations is key in helping your child understand how they should behave and what you expect from your child. Communicate to your child what is expected of them in an age appropriate manner. This will change based on the child's age and when your child gets older your expectations may need to be modified.

Consistency: you have to employ rules and disciple consistently through every challenge. If you are not consistent your child may not clearly understand your expectations. If one day you expect your child not to hit their siblings and they get a time out or something taken away and the next day they do the same thing but don't get disciplined this will send a conflicting message and the child won't understand how they should be behaving.

Both parents need to be on the same page with the same expectations and consistency. Otherwise your child may try to manipulate one parent and play off of both of you. Kids are smart and will do what it takes to get what they want. Parents need to support each other even if they don't totally agree with the discipline. You can discuss your approach later.

Overall, children strive on structure, boundaries and expectations. It may be difficult at first to establish these ground rules and basic practices, but once you do everyone will be happier! It is not always easy being a parent, but you are in control of making things better. You can do this!

If you feel you need additional guidance with parenting, seek a licensed counselor that can help you implement effective expectations, communication and consistency and hold you accountable for your parenting style!