The way you choose to raise your children likely is not the way your mother-in-law, best friend or nosy neighbor chose to raise their kids. In fact, no matter what method you choose, someone is likely to tell you that it's the wrong way to raise successful, happy children. Take heart in knowing that as long as you're meeting a few basic needs, your children will be OK.
Health and Safety
Your child's health and safety comes first. This doesn't mean you have to keep your child in a bubble, but it does mean you need to provide a toxin-free living environment, ensure your child's nutritional needs are met and take care of any medical needs, including regular wellness checks. Your children might be daredevils who regularly get cuts and bruises and, sometimes, you might be too tired to cook a well-balanced meal, but your overall focus needs to be on keeping your children safe and healthy.
It can be hard to discipline a child, especially when you don't want to seem like the mean parent. However, you must set rules and enforce the consequences for breaking the rules. This could mean a timeout for a 2-year-old or a lost privilege for a 6-year-old. Whatever rules and consequences you use, you must be consistent, even when it's not convenient. Setting an example by following the rules yourself is also important. You might not put yourself in timeout when you break a rule, but you can explain to your child that you broke a rule and you will work harder to follow the rules.
A child screaming your name at the top of his lungs or climbing all over you while you're working around the house can be annoying, but sometimes it's the only way children know how to ask for your time. No matter how busy or stressful your life is, making time for your children is essential. It can be as simple as listening to a child tell you about his day, reading a book, throwing a ball or letting him sit on your lap while you watch a movie together. Children often use the time you spend with them to determine how much you love them.
Everything you do for your child must be done out of love and you must let your child know she is loved. When your child breaks a rule and is sitting in timeout, remind her that you have rules in place because you love her. If you are swamped with work and cannot spend as much time as you want with your child, tell her you are working so hard because you love her and want to ensure she has everything she needs. At the end of the day, your child needs to feel loved. A key element of parenting involves taking the time to give your child a hug or a kiss and telling her you love her, even when it's difficult.
Your know your children and their needs better than anyone else. Learn to listen to your gut when it comes to your child. At the end of the day, it does not matter whether your in-laws disagree with your parenting style or another mother gives you a dirty look for allowing your child to eat a piece of candy. When you focus on your child's needs and desires, you can be confident that you are doing a good job as a parent.
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