by Melissa O’Sullivan, Casa Grande Alliance
Whether you’re a seasoned parent or just starting out, there are always opportunities to improve and strengthen the relationship with your child.
According to an article by Cynthia Hanson on Parents.com, there are simple yet effective changes you can make to become a better parent and build a deeper bond with your child.
Avoid “freak outs,” curb negative talk
Emotional responses are normal. But before yelling, screaming, or losing your cool, stop, pause, and assess the situation. If you sweat all the small stuff, such as things you can’t control and/or things that don’t matter in the big picture, your child won’t know how to react to life’s ups, downs, and in-betweens.
When something goes wrong, mentally assign it a number on a scale of one to 10, with one being an incident that has no bearing on the quality of your life and 10 as an emergency. Once you’ve assessed the situation, you can better respond.
Show your emotions
While some parents wear their emotions on their sleeve, not everyone does, and that’s OK. We all react differently to different stimuli. But if you find yourself constantly covering up your feelings, you may want to reassess the situation.
Being honest about your emotions can be helpful to you and your child. Put a label on your emotion, explain the reason for it in a way your child will understand, and relate it to something they’ve experienced.
Clarity is key when you expect immediate follow-through. And it starts with putting a period at the end of your sentence. Giving clear directions still requires practice and persistence, but being clear regains control and stops you from losing your temper. Meanwhile, your child learns who’s in charge.
If your critiques outweigh your kudos, your child may ignore you or get defensive; they can miss out on anything constructive you have to say. Worse, nitpicking erodes their self-confidence to the point where they could stop trying to achieve because they’re afraid they’ll fail and disappoint you.
You should resist the urge to point out every error, and instead try to mention the good things your child does on a daily basis.
Remember, being a good parent is ongoing and takes time and effort. Making small changes can help build a stronger, healthier relationship with your child.