Over time parents can learn good parenting skills and know just the right things to say and do to make Mom and Dad good parents. Here are some parenting skills which can be used with love, compassion, and understanding.
Each day a child can give us a multitude of challenges to our patience. Erratic emotional responses, high energy levels, over-stimulation; frustration at hearing the “No’s” repeatedly; frustration at lack of verbal skills; needing a nap; being excited, hungry or tired. All of which can make them feel out of control. They too face a number of challenges just by being a kid. With more than one child problems from the above situations are multiplied.
Wisdom with a Light Sense of Humor
Frowns can be turned upside down when wisdom peppered with a sense of humor is employed. Once when I was little, I fell and hit my head on the floor. I cried as much from fear and the need for reassurance as from the pain. Suddenly my father looked down at the floor and pointed to where I had bumped my head and said excitedly, “Look! You made a crack in the floor!” My focus quickly shifted to the “crack.” I searched for the crack then realized he had diverted my attention! I was fine and all I needed was a lighthearted distraction.
Emotional and Physical Strength
Taking a child to the grocery store can be parental torture. Children are often over stimulated by the things they suddenly want: toys, candy, favorite cereals and anything they see. They can lead us around with the energy of a galloping horse, then be exhausted by the end of the shopping trip. We have to be able to round them up and lead them along.
At an amusement park they will have to potty and depend on us to get them to the nearest restroom, which may not be close enough. No matter how tired we are, we pick the little ones up and rush them to their needed destination.
Then when they are worn out and it’s time to walk the half-mile to the car we have to drag them, crying and begging to stay! But parents must endure!
Younger and older kids get into arguments and scuffles all the time. A seasoned parent will try to make each conflict into a learning experience for their child(ren) by encouraging and leading their thinking processes to help them resolve tense situations without name calling or fighting.
Mediating their conflicts and teaching them how to think things through will prepare them for when their parents aren’t around to solve their problems for them. Their confidence will be better also, knowing they can make good decisions on their own.
A Marshmallow Heart
Sometimes a parent’s heart needs to be soft as a marshmallow. A child will occasionally destroy something their parent treasures. We all have had that happen to us, or by us, as kids. A forgiving heart will let the regretful child know they are more precious than anything we possess. But it is good to explain to them that they must be careful with other people’s belongings.
A Heart of Steel
On the other side of the coin, a parent must steel their heart to discipline their child(ren). Sometimes it is difficult for a parent to not be angry. A few deep breaths and absence from the situation while the child goes to their room to calm down for a few minutes can help a parent decide on wise measures to help teach the child(ren).
Another time parents must steel their hearts is when their children expand their abilities and experience scraped knees and bruised egos The parents need to be calm and composed. Is the child injured; truly in pain; emotionally upset; scared, or frustrated?
If the parents are calm the kids eventually learn not to panic and be less afraid. It is also part of growing up and they need our help to do this. Sometimes a big hug, a “booboo” kiss and reassurance from Mom or Dad is all that’s needed. But good parental judgment is always required.
Parents have to learn when to forgive, when to be firm, when to comfort, when to let feelings run their course and when to stand back and in some situations allow the kids to fail and later give encouragement, turning defeat into a learning lesson.
Some parents develop or have ESP (Extrasensory Perception, also called “having eyes in the back of your head,” which really comes in handy for parents. Without it, they might not be able to prevent their child playing with or doing dangerous things.
Ignorance, poor judgement, and active rebellion tend to take over when a parent is out of sight, but that doesn’t mean no one’s watching. Sometimes parents just know when something is wrong. A parent’s ESP is usually limited to short distances, but sometimes can stretch halfway around the world.
After college my brother was in Europe visiting someone. One night my father in South Carolina awoke suddenly and said,” Something is wrong with my son!” My brother had knocked his leg against a glass table in the dark middle of the night and broken the table and had profuse bleeding from a cut on his leg from the table. The friends took him to the emergency room for stitches. How did our father know?
ESP can be handy for parents and for little ones. Communicating an idea isn’t easy when you’re a little kid who can’t talk well yet. Especially when he wants to share information, but his parents don’t understand his premature efforts at speaking!
One day I was looking for the weight that sits on the top of my pressure cooker. During my search, my then 2-year-old son was persistent in trying to open a cabinet that he knew was off limits. Puzzled by his persistence, I finally relented, sensing he was trying to show me something.
I let him open the cabinet door where he showed me the little weight I was looking for! He knew the weight was in the cabinet and was trying to help. I just wish my parental ESP could have told me how he knew it was in the off-limits cabinet in the first place.
Great parenting is not for the weak. Lots of love, patience, understanding, strength, sense of humor, and character can inspire kids to become happy, confident, wise, loving, responsible adults some day.