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Were You a Good Parent This Year?

New Year’s is an excellent time to set resolutions for the year ahead and to reflect on this past year of parenting. Besides reminiscing about the wonderful times you spent with your kids, take a minute to consider how you did at these 10 essential parenting skills.

By
Cheryl Butler,
Episode #261

As the hectic yet exciting holiday season begins to wind down, the week right before New Year’s is an excellent time to not only set resolutions for the New Year ahead, but also to reflect on this past year of parenting and reminisce about the wonderful times you spent with your kids. It's also a good time to take stock of your parenting skills to determine which were strong and which ones you might like to improve upon.  

See also: 6 Ways to Create Family Traditions

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This week, Mighty Mommy shares 10 parenting skills that can really make a positive impact on your kids' lives. So before you watch that ball drop in Times Square this New Year’s Eve, look back to see which of these areas might need some tweaking and which ones have left you feeling great about your role as a parent:

Parenting Skill #1:  Know Where Your Child Is

Many parents work outside the home and have no choice but to entrust their kids to a babysitter, daycare center, older sibling, or may let their tweens stay home alone until they get home from work.  Communicate with your kids or their caregivers regularly so you always know where the kids are, who they're with, who is in charge, and when they'll be home. This is critical especially for young teens.

Parenting Skill #2:  Demonstrate Parental Displays of Affection

Parental displays of affection create a secure environment where your child is reminded daily that they are loved, that they are important, and that they are your priority.  Make some time in the morning to give them a hug and send them off to school with loving wishes for a great day.  One “mom rule” I made for myself years ago when my kids started leaving the house for school, play dates, or even to visit a grandparent was to always say “I love you” as they headed out the door, no matter what.

Even now with my high school and college aged kids, I always sign off on my texts, emails, or phone calls with those words.   And the same goes for when they return home and I haven’t seen them in a while.  I try to always greet them with eye contact and a warm smile and ask how their day was.  These gestures show our kids that we’re not too busy with our own lives to make time for them.

Parenting Skill #3Listen to Your Child 

As parents, we want to be in control - which is why we often do most of the talking.  We have rules we want to enforce, information we want to learn, instructions we want to give, household chores we want to assign, and dozens of other things we want to communicate with our kids any time we manage to capture their attention. 

What we can sometimes forget, however, is that kids have important things on their minds that they’d like to tell us, too.

What we can sometimes forget, however, is that they have important things on their minds that they’d like to tell us, too. And if we keep yakking in their ear whenever we have a moment, we'll miss what they have to say. Parents are so busy telling our children what to do, many times we fail to listen to their concerns. Listen and you will learn what your children's hopes, concerns, and anxieties are. The better you understand your child's needs, the better parent you can be.

Parenting Skill #4:  Insist on Respect

If your kids are taught how to respect themselves and others, they will learn good coping skills for dealing with anger and frustration in appropriate ways that are not verbally or physically abusive to others. 

For example, when adults or other children come to our house for a visit, we expect our kids to smile and say hello.  If they don’t, I always give a gentle reminder such as “Austin, you remember Mrs. Ryan don’t you?”  The more kids can learn about respect from their parents, in their own home, the easier it will be for them to practice it in the outside world.  

See also: Teaching Your Child to Say Thank You

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