Regardless of how old you are, what kind of background you come from or how many children you have, parenting is hard work! In modern days, we struggle to balance or work/home life and quite often we are simply not sure which parenting skills we should be using with our children; and which ones actually work.
You can ask your family and friends for advice on their parenting skills, however, you are sure to receive many conflicting opinions, after all, every child is different and parenting skills really are learned over time with experience in many cases.
However, there are a few basic recommendations that you can take onboard to get your parenting skills on the right track. Discipline is probably the most important and yet somewhat controversial parenting skill that you can learn. It is also a very diverse subject; after all, the appropriate forms of discipline for a four year-old are entirely different to the methods that will work with a teenager.
The key is to determine who is in charge – and in all cases this should be you! It may sound simple, but may problems can occur due to a lack of parent/child boundaries.
Discipline methods will vary from person to person i.e. you may use time-outs, the loss of privileges (grounding) or the assigning of extra chores if bad behaviour occurs. The key is to ensure that your children know right from wrong and that they understand that bad behaviour is simply unacceptable. To this end, it is vital to teach children from a very young age exactly what kind of behaviour is acceptable, and what isn’t. It’s a process that usually takes several years and it’s not a foolproof method, but it’s a great place to start.
Education is vitally important; from the moment a child is born, they start to learn from us, so setting clearly-defined standards is very important. As an example; children will learn that if they cry, we will respond and if they hit us we will react by saying "ouch!"
These may seem like small everyday events, but all parents have the responsibility of teaching their children morals and values from an early age. A child's formal education will also need to be planned carefully i.e. the nursery and schools that they attend – after all, the education that they receive at school, and at home, will largely dictate the kind of person that they eventually become.