June 1, marks the Global Day of Parents – proclaimed by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in 2012. “It’s a chance to honour parents throughout the world for their selfless commitment to children and their lifelong sacrifice towards nurturing this relationship.”
The UN also states that, “For the full and harmonious development of their personality, children should grow up in a family environment and in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding.”
It is easy to take the role of a parent for granted. On any given day a parent’s duties can include, spiritual leader, motivational speaker, chef, teacher, doctor, housekeeper, adviser, personal assistant, entertainer, accountant and chauffer to name just a few.
The role of a parent is different to most other roles that we fulfil, in that our main objective is to eventually make ourselves redundant by developing independent adults that are capable of looking after themselves and have the self-belief to prosper autonomously.
The Global Day of Parents allows us to think about the importance of our role as parents and accept acknowledgement for our efforts. It’s also the perfect opportunity to reflect on our parenting style. Here are our six tips for effective parenting.
- Encourage independence
Don’t be tempted to do everything for your child because it’s quicker, they need to gain some independence from a young age, so even a pre-schooler can be encouraged to do things on their own, like dress themselves. For older children and teens, resist the urge to solve their problems and protect them from disappointment – they will learn much more from making mistakes and considering the consequences of their actions. Demonstrate your belief in your child’s abilities to boost their self-esteem and confidence.
- Stable and loving relationships
This applies to relationships between parents, children, other family members and with the Church. Ensuring a child experiences secure relationships based on respect, trust and love shapes the way they manage relationships for the rest of their lives. If they experience conflict being managed in a respectful way, children in turn will learn to manage conflict in a passive rather than aggressive manner. If you apologise to your child for a wrong doing, they learn the importance of acknowledging mistakes and considering the feelings of others.
- Be there for your children
It is easy to get bogged down in the routine of daily life, and chores that need our attention. Regularly put aside some of those tasks and make a point of spending time with your children and simply having fun. This will strengthen your relationship and is rewarding for both you and your child. Properly engage with your children, whether it be through play or really listening to what they have to say.
- Set clear rules
Children crave boundaries and need clear rules for behaviour. Try to avoid making threats you do not plan to carry out and instead be consistent and ensure you and your partner provide a united front to avoid confusion for children. Although the equilibrium can sometimes be difficult to maintain, parents must balance empathy and support with structure and clear expectations.
- Be a good role model
We can try to teach our children morals and values by talking about it, but children learn far more from the behaviours of their role models. Try to be the person you want your child to be, whether that be patient, loving, trustworthy, respectful or all of these things. For example, if you demonstrate sensitivity, your child will develop empathy for others.
- Love unconditionally
You teach your children many life lessons through the simple act of loving them. They learn when you show them affection, play with them, provide encouragement and advice, and offer them security. By remaining steady, being attentive and listening to your children, they become self-confident with higher self-esteem. Praise them where it is due and try to avoid comparing siblings to each other.
Parenting can make us feel vulnerable and anxious, but it can also make us incredibly proud. While it may be our job to raise independent children capable of looking after themselves into adulthood, the truth of the matter is that we will always be needed, whether it be for advice, an ear to listen or unconditional love. We thank parents everywhere for their tireless efforts and unwavering support of their children.
Trinity’s Pastoral Care guidelines focus on the fundamentals of good parenting — providing both care and discipline — to enable boys to grow into self-confident, resilient young men. Combined with an ongoing partnership between the School and home, your son will thrive in a consistent, caring and nurturing environment.
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