Parenting Made Easy – Three Insights for Better Parenting

Parenting Made Easy – Three Insights for Better Parenting

Parenting is difficult, which is why parents should understand limits, discipline and freedom for them and their children.

When it comes to most jobs, people are screened extensively and then meticulously trained. However, when starting parenthood, there are few guidelines to follow. This leaves most parents hoping for great things and then grappling with the reality. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the realities of parenting, it is possible to become more effective by understanding three simple ideas.

1. Understand limits. When it comes to rules, most parents are at one extreme or another. However, effective limits are not about countless rules but established boundaries. The fact is that children crave boundaries. They feel safer knowing there are guidelines in place, and they are more likely to flourish if they have limits to follow. The trick with setting effective limits is to pick the ones that matter most. Parents cannot enforce a full list of rules, but they are able to maintain a short list of manageable behavior limits. This could include behavior in public, respect for authority and how to communicate with others. Pick limits that promote safety, respect and growth, but always remember that you have to be able to stick to the limits as well.

2. Understand discipline. When limits are violated, there has to be a consequence. This is the role of discipline. Too often, parents confuse discipline with punishment. While some discipline will lead to punishment, that is not all discipline is. Discipline is about redirecting children back to the correct limits. Because of this, discipline can be varied and unique to any given child. Parents should develop consistent discipline patterns that correct a child every time a limit has been breached. This discipline should be age appropriate and proportionate to the nature of the offense. The purpose of discipline should always be about teaching the child. Punishment has limited long term effects, but discipline can effectively shape a child’s behavior in a more positive manner.

3. Understand freedom. While children need limits, they also need freedom. It is a difficult dichotomy but an important one to understand. Limits should be set to keep children safe, but sometimes children do need space. They need to make their own choices, and these choices can lead to success or failure. This freedom gives children the self esteem they need for healthy grow, and it also allows them the ability to define themselves and discover their preferences. Sometimes parents want to control every aspect of life in order to protect and guide their children, but development is often necessarily messy. Children will learn more from their mistakes than their successes. Therefore, parents should always provide the necessary freedom within boundaries to let children thrive.

These three simple ideas are at the heart of what good parenting is all about. No one has it all figured out, but these three simple ideas are a good place to start.