Am I raising my child the right way?
Parents nowadays question their parenting skills more than generations before — and it makes sense, too. With the Internet, there’s a superhighway of parenting advice available at our fingertips at all times.
Have you ever wished for a parenting manual that could show you, step-by-step, how to be a good parent?
Well, the reality is, that manual doesn’t exist. But this article offers something comparable — practical parenting advice to help you build your mindsets, skills, and strategies.
What Are the 4 Types of Parenting Styles?
Psychologist Diana Baumrind suggested that there were four distinct parenting styles, also called the Baumrind parenting styles:
- Authoritative parenting. Authoritative parents are highly responsive but also have high expectations. They have strict rules but are warm and loving.
- Authoritarian parenting. Authoritarian parents are less responsive but still maintain high expectations. They demand obedience and don’t allow their children to make many decisions.
- Permissive parenting. Permissive parents are highly responsive but don’t demand much of their children. They don’t set a lot of rules but are incredibly supportive of their children’s needs.
- Neglectful parenting. Uninvolved parents are not responsive to their children’s needs and do not set firm guidelines. They believe in a hands-off attitude and take a backseat approach to their children’s development.
Why Are Parenting Skills Important?
It’s not an overstatement to say that parents are the predictors of humanity’s future. Countless researchers have studied the importance of parenting and found that the influence of a parent on their child is profound.
Parenting is the single largest variable implicated in:
- childhood illnesses and accidents
- teenage pregnancy and substance misuse
- truancy, school disruption, and underachievement
- child abuse
- juvenile crime
- mental illness
How a parent raises a child directly influences a child’s overall well-being.
In fact, a study published in the Journal of Genetic Psychology suggests that the parenting style that results in the least behavioral problems in children is the authoritative parenting style.
The quality of the parent-child relationship plays an important role too. According to this study published in the Journal of Research of Adolescence, the more positive the parent-child relationship is, the better the adolescent’s psychological well-being and the lower the rate of delinquency.
Parents don’t just raise children. They are, literally, shaping the future. And how that future develops depends on their parenting skills.
What Are the Qualities of a Good Parent?
How do you tell if a person is a good parent?
This is a highly subjective question. Everyone has their own ideas of what makes a good parent. And this is precisely why there’s so much contradictory parenting advice.
The best way to cut through all the noise and stay true to yourself is:
- Write down the qualities that you want to embody.
- Look for role models who demonstrate those qualities.
- Emulate your role models.
Here’s a list of role models who have raised successful children and the parenting qualities they demonstrate.
|Bill Gates||2-parent family with 3 children||He uses the ‘Love and Logic’ model that minimizes emotional reactivity and encourages parents to give kids more problems to solve and chances to fail.|
|Will Smith||2-parent family with 3 children||He gives freedom to the kids to be who they are, instills self-responsibility, supports what his kids love, and respects his children.|
|Mel Robbins||2-parent family with 3 children||She teaches her kids how to make decisions, doesn’t control, and lets go of the expectation of perfection.|
|Shefali Tsabary||2-parent family with 1 child||She believes parents need to grow themselves first, recognizes her child as a human with their own rights, and doesn’t emphasize grades.|
|Richard Branson||2-parent family with 2 children||He believes in raising children is like building a business, start before you’re ready, take a step back, and watch your children grow.|
5 Secrets of Good Parenting Skills
Dr. Shefali Tsabary, #1 NYT bestselling author, clinical psychologist, and author of Mindvalley’s Conscious Parenting Quest has an arsenal of unconventional parenting skills under her belt. And we’ve distilled her most powerful skills into five secrets of how to be a good parent.
1. Treat your children as individual beings
What this really means is to accept that you don’t own your children. Your ultimate role is to support them. It’s not about shaping them in your image. Or forcing them to follow your habits. Know that they are born with their own destiny, and it’s your job to support them.
This means you must learn to accept your children for who they are — stripped from medals, achievements, grades, mistakes, and failures. Praise them for who they are, not for what they’ve done.
The Council of Europe agrees with Dr. Tsabary on this, too — that the cornerstone of positive parenting refers to, in their words, parental behavior that respects children’s best interests and their rights.
2. Recognize your child as your teacher
When you see your child as a teacher, your ego dissolves. You’re not here to impose your wishes and unmet needs onto them. Instead, you’re here to learn from them.
Get this: children are always showing something to you. Every moment is an opportunity to grow — to learn about yourself and your child. One way to put this into practice is to pause the second you find yourself on the verge of exploding. Ask yourself, what can I learn from them and this situation?
Today, children are learning social and emotional intelligence subjects at school and are helping their parents to be better at managing their emotions.
But if parents can’t put their egos aside and learn from their children, they’re missing out on opportunities to connect deeply with their children.
3. Let go of the happiness and success obsession
It is the obsession with happiness and success that creates unhappiness. Why?
Because children continuously ride the waves of their emotions — pain, frustration, disappointment, sadness, happiness, surprise, anticipation, and more. But when parents expect their children to do nothing but succeed, what’s actually being communicated is:
You’re not allowed to feel sad — you need to be happy. This pressure of I must be happy and successful — which actually comes from a parent’s fears — leads children to live in the future without the freedom to experience the present.
And researchers agree. A mind too focused on the future is prone to anxiety and fear. What makes children truly happy is to be present in the now.
So, what do you do when your child feels sad, angry, disappointed, or frustrated? Honor where they’re at.
Acknowledge that it’s their right to feel what they feel. Help them find words to describe what they’re feeling. Support them as they ride the emotional waves. Detach yourself from their emotions.
Most importantly, be committed to being fully present in the now with them.
4. Heal your fears first
This is one of the reasons parents are obsessed with wanting happiness and success for their children. They parent their fears and project them onto their children, without realizing it. These fears usually take the form of you should do this, you should do that.
Do you know anyone who keeps telling their children all these shoulds? Turns out, these shoulds are born from fear.
Parents want their children to be so many things at once because they’re terrified of the what-ifs.
What if my child can’t keep up in class? What if my child fails his SAT? And what if my child has to repeat a year?
Unfortunately, these parents are continually living in the future of fear. They are missing out on the main point of happiness — living in the present. So start by looking at your fears. What fears within you have been triggered by your child?
Follow a guided exercise to uncover your fears in this free Conscious Parenting Masterclass — so you can fully live in the present with your children.
5. Don’t react — fill these needs instead
Besides triggering their parents’ fears, children’s behaviors also mask one of these three fundamental needs:
- Am I seen and accepted for who I am?
- Am I worthy of your attention and praise for who I am?
- Do I matter in your life?
When you shift your responses to meet these needs, you’ll begin to form deeper connections with your child.
So, when was the last time you felt truly connected with your child?
These moments of deep and profound connection signal that one or more of these three needs were being fulfilled.
The Center on the Developing Child by Harvard published a child development guide that suggests, “resilience requires relationships, not rugged individualism.”
It goes further to explain, science tells us that it is the reliable presence of at least one supportive relationship and multiple opportunities for developing effective coping skills that are the essential building blocks for strengthening the capacity to do well in the face of significant adversity.
By meeting these fundamental needs, parents form trusted relationships with their children — and the relationship becomes an unshakeable foundation for the child to take risks and face life obstacles.
Becoming a Conscious Parent
We all know by now that parenting is more than an intuitive career. What worked fifty years ago doesn’t really work in today’s day and age. This is a parental wake-up call.
You are literally shaping the future of the planet. How you raise yourself and how you raise your children determines the direction of humanity’s movement.
And good parenting starts with becoming conscious of the outdated beliefs you’ve inherited. When all parents awaken and become conscious, we can move humanity and the planet forward.