“As I started parenting, I realised there is no formula to it.” – Sonali Bendre
Children do not come with their own manual. From the minute you give birth to that little human being, you must start to figure out how to address their needs. Even when you don’t know what those needs are, it becomes a case of trial and error.
And that is the interesting thing about being a parent. We would all like to be the best parents to our children, however, there is often conflicting advice on how to raise a child who is confident, kind and successful. The most important thing to remember is that there is no right way to raise a child.
Parenting is about balancing priorities, juggling responsibilities and quickly flipping between the needs of your children, family, friends and yourself.
Parents nowadays are even luckier because they have the entire internet at their disposal and don’t have to follow any single authority. Although it’s hard to know whom or what to trust when seeking advice.
“When you hold your baby in your arms the first time, and you think of all the things you can say and do to influence him, it’s a tremendous responsibility. What you do with him can influence not only him, but everyone he meets and not for a day or a month or a year but for time and eternity.” – Rose Kennedy
For every parent, the most important issue is to help your child grow up to be a person you really like and appreciate, without losing yourself in the process. Many mothers often feel like they lost their identity when they have children – you become someone’s mother. That is why it is important to make sure that you make time for yourself, to be your authentic self – it is hard to teach your child about respecting self when you your self feel lost in motherhood.
Even more importantly, your children should see you with your friends, enjoy your passion, be it cooking, singing or sports – children imitate what we do, not what tell them they should do.
Research tells us that to raise a self-reliant child with high self-esteem, it is more effective to be authoritative than authoritarian. What does that mean?
Well, you want your child to listen, respect and trust you rather than fear you. Some of us grew up being afraid of our parents which made it difficult to tell them when things where not going right, especially if you were being bullied or things were not going well in school.
You want to be supportive, but not a hovering, helicopter parent. All these things are easy to set as goals but hard to achieve. It’s all about finding the right balance.
“At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of parents.” – Jane D Hull
As your child develops, the challenges will change, and your thinking may evolve, but your approach should be consistent, firm and loving. Your child needs to know you are the parent and not their play mate. Help your child learn through experience that trying builds confidence and helps them learn to tackle challenges.
As your child grows, amend your expectations about what your child can do independently, whether you have an infant learning to sleep through the night, a toddler helping to put toys away, or an older child resolving conflicts. Ultimately, as parents we all want to raise good and happy children – so just remember, there is no one right way to raise a child. Do your best, trust yourself and enjoy the company of the small person in your life.