Do great parents use a large variety of good parenting skills? Not typically!
Great parents don’t overwhelm themselves by trying to use every trick in the book. Instead, they rely on a small number of skills yet apply them with consistency.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your kids, could it be that you’re trying too hard to do too many things? Might it be time to get back to the basics?
What are these “basics”? Listed below are the top three I’ve observed from my experience with thousands of truly great parents and educators:
1. They demonstrate unconditional warmth and love.
Kids feel this magical type of love when their parents spend plenty of time with them, when their parents focus on their strengths, and when their parents display empathy instead of anger or sarcasm when things go wrong.
2. Their “yes” is always “yes” and their “no” is always “no.”
Great parents are extremely careful to set only the limits they know they can enforce. They remember this important rule for setting limits:
Never tell a stubborn child what to do.
Instead, describe what you will do or allow.
Would you like your kids to believe that every word you say is important? If so, learn about Enforceable Statements in our audio: Love Me Enough to Set Some Limits.
3. They allow their kids to experience the logical and natural consequences of their decisions.
Isn’t it hard to watch our kids struggle with the consequences of their mistakes? While it breaks our hearts at times, allowing them to learn in this way gives them a tremendous advantage as they grow. They develop respect, responsibility, and a good grasp of good old-fashioned common sense.
The key, of course, is to display empathy rather than anger. If you ever find this difficult, listen to our audio: Keeping Cool When Parenting Heats Up.
Raising great kids really can be a joy when we remember that we don’t have to overcomplicate things with too many skills and too much theory. Keep it simple and enjoy your kids.
Dr. Charles Fay