Your kid has the chore of putting away the dishes in the dishwasher every day, but you still have to constantly remind them to do it. They know that brushing their teeth twice a day is important, but if you didn’t insist, then they wouldn’t even do it twice a week.
Habits are not naturally formed. They rely on patterns of behavior and require repetition, memory cues and consistency. They also get harder to form the older you get. Childhood is the perfect time to instill good habits that will be carried on into the teen years, and you are the one who needs to pave the way.
Parents Need To Set The Example
So, what happens when you are the one who needs to have those habits formed? Some parents aren’t sure they can do it successfully and before their child hits those more difficult teenage years.
I’m here to tell you, yes, you can develop effective parenting habits. As long as you are willing to hold yourself accountable, you don’t have to fall back on that old saying “Do as I say, not as I do.” That approach is never effective, as teens are constantly on high-alert to point out parental hypocrisy.
The benefits of forming these habits are not just going to be for you. Your whole family will reap the rewards, especially your child. When they are young, they are impressionable and easily influenced by your behavior. When they are teens, it will be more difficult to influence their habits, especially when communicating with your teen gets harder.
Top Parenting Habits You Should Develop
What parenting habits should you be forming? There are plenty to choose from, but here are some ideas to get you started.
Share Feelings Openly. Children learn from their parents about how to deal with and express emotion. By allowing yourself to be vulnerable and open about your feelings, you are teaching them that it is not only OK to do the same, but good for them. It also fosters communication and trust that can really help you in the teen years.
Have Family Meals. I remember sitting down at the beginning of my youngest daughter’s back to school night in kindergarten and the teacher telling me, “Do you know what the most effective thing you can do to help your child grow is? Have a family meal every day.” That really stuck with me, and I have found that she was right.
Take Time to Relax. Life gets stressful, and once high school comes, your child probably won’t know what hit them. You know what that is like as you balance the demands of life, work, home, and parenthood, among other demands on your time. So, show them through your example that relaxing is necessary for self-care.
Read Often. Reading is a critical element to brain development and future literacy. I have found that since I have started making reading a daily part of my night before bed, my kids have been doing the same.
Take a Deep Breath to Calm. Parents who fight have kids who fight. When you feel tempted to start yelling, take a deep breath and count to ten. Your kids will start doing the same, rather than lose their cool.
By you developing these habits when your children are young, you will be in a better position when your teen begins to challenge your ability to parent.
Tyler Jacobson – father of four and avid outdoor enthusiast – has been juggling life with kids for around 18 years. He’s learned a thing or two about parenting and has turned from a full-time career in digital media to helping fellow parents of teenagers. He pulls from his own life experiences raising spunky, free-spirited children, as well as his work with various organizations that help troubled teens including https://helpyourteennow.com/. During his free time, Tyler enjoys taking his family into the mountains to connect with a simpler side of life which he finds grounding and rejuvenating.