While you are making resolutions for 2010 in the areas of career and health and personal life go ahead and make a few resolutions about your parenting. Parenting is not easy, not for anyone. Yet, it is one of the most ignored skill areas of people’s lives.
Think about it. People will read books and take classes to enhance their career skills. We go to the gym to have toned, healthy bodies. We may even take cooking classes or knitting classes to be better at the hobbies we love. How many people will invest that much time in their parenting skills?
Yet I see them out in public all the time – parents who seem to have difficulty parenting. Parents who seem not to be able to communicate effectively with their kids and parents who seem to be more caught in a negative cycle with their kids than a positive one.
In light of the New Year, and before you commit to 10 hours a week in the gym, spend a few moments reflecting on your relationship with your kids in 2009. How are you doing?
- Talking. One of the top areas I see that an awful lot of people need to change is the way they speak to their kids. It is no wonder that so many kids are dealing with self esteem issues! It isn’t just the words…the tone of voice makes a difference, too.
- Listening. Lots of people seem to want to answer before the other person is finished talking. It is rude but worse than that it causes you to jump to assumptions that may not be true. Allow the person you are talking to to finish what they are saying. Pause and reflect and make sure you understand what they said before you answer.
- Touching. People need to be touched, even teenagers! A hug, a hand on the shoulder, use gentle touch to convey love and acceptance.
- Tolerating. Kids are kids and they are going to go through many stages throughout their lives. From playing in the toilet at age 18 months to green hair and black nail polish at 18 years let them explore as much as you can without correcting, insulting, or criticizing. Keep your rules simple and meaningful. See that fine looking Air Force Staff Sergeant up in the picture? Well, he was once a difficult teenager. One of the more difficult teenagers that I have ever met. Cleaned up good, didn’t he?
Kids are the best thing about being a parent. Resolve to spend time improving your parenting skills this year.
image: marye audet