Key one: Think of the best, not the worst.
In life it is easy to naturally assume the worst. Parents may struggle with this because we worry; it is natural to do this. You worry that your kid will be a bully, or that your teenager will be a rebel, or your daughter won’t get asked to the dance. Reverse your negative thinking by consciously imagining the best possibility instead of the worst.
Think about something that usually makes you think the negative or the worst about your child, and think of it in a new way. If your child is a slow mover and it takes them forever to get anything done, instead of thinking they are lazy, start looking at it like they are trying to discover life, and enjoy every moment, not rush through it like most people.
Key two: See the world through your child’s eyes.
On occasion, put yourself in your child’s place. It can be just as difficult to be a child as it is to be a parent. It can be especially hard to be a baby and know what you want but not be able to communicate it. A teenager may not know how to relate to you as much as you do not know how to relate to them. So, if you want to be a better parent, take the time to look at the world through their eyes. It should help that you appreciate what they think and feel. Once a week, as your child is telling you something, stop yourself from correcting, teaching, reacting, or interpreting, just learn, listen, and enjoy being able to see what your child sees and feels.
Key three: Let people help you.
If you want to be a good parent you have to let people help you. It is ok to get a babysitter on occasion just to go out and do something fun. It is okay to delegate responsibility, or leave your kitchen messy for a few hours so you can spend time with your kids. If you want to stay sane, and have the energy to be a parent, lighten your load. You do not want to feel overwhelmed by the things you need to do. If you start feeling that way, you will not be as good of a parent. So, instead, accept help when offered, ask for it when needed, and enjoy having others be part of the process. Your kids can be part of this, you can have your three year old feed the pet, or take the laundry to the laundry room. The first few times it might be a bit of a struggle, but it will get better.
Key four: Sometimes, just hang out and have fun.
Part of being a parent is making sure your child does what they are supposed to, but the other part, the part you should not forget is the part where you enjoy your children. You can become a better parent by spending real time with your family. Everyone being in the house does not count. You need to be interacting with one another. Quiet, unstructured time together is one of the greatest gifts you can give your kids. It allows you to subtly be the parent you should be. Your children will remember these simple moments as much as they will remember family vacations. Time together is essential to good parenting, so make it a priority.
Key five: Smile and laugh as much as possible.
A smile is the most visible way we humans make ourselves and those around us feel better. It is a reassurance, it calms people, it elevates moods and spirits. Young children mirror our facial expressions, so make a point of smiling at your children often and they will be happier children. Kids who have happy parent usually feel better about themselves. Also, kids love when their parents laugh at a joke they tell, so ask them if they know any jokes, and then laugh and smile when they tell it. It lightens moods and makes for happier more secure children.