Nov 29 , 2022
Parenthood brings a joy unlike any the world has to offer, but it also comes with an incredible responsibility and can be one of the toughest journeys to navigate. Different individuals and families deal with this responsibility in a different manner, and the parenting style we end up choosing isn’t really a conscious choice that we make. Most people embody the same parenting values as their own parents, while others wish to avoid giving their child the same childhood experience they had.
Whichever the case, the parenthood journey can often be overwhelming and scary, especially if you’re a first-time parent. Below, we’ve compiled 5 self-help and parenthood tips that can help you raise happy and healthy children.
The most important thing to remember is that there is no one correct parenthood formula that you can apply to your child and call it a day. It would certainly be helpful if there was, but unfortunately the world doesn’t work that way. Children are unique individuals with personalities of their own, and this requires you to mold your parenting style to your child’s needs. It’s important to remember that you don’t have to stick to a rigid parenting style or adopt someone else’s advice if it doesn’t work for your family. Remember, you understand your values, family model and child in a way that others don’t.
Too often, parents adopt an authoritarian model of parenting where respect is supposed to flow from the child to the parent, but not the other way around. One of the most important values of gentle parenting is mutual respect. This teaches your child that respect goes both ways, and is important to the development of their values and their understanding of the world. Practically, this means teaching your child about boundaries and body autonomy, swapping out harsh commands for gentle words and showing them that you are a team built on mutual love and respect and not just blood relations.
Teaching your child empathy and kindness shouldn’t just be limited in their interactions with other people. One of the best ways you can model kindness is by directing it towards yourself and your child. Remember, you are the centermost model in your child’s life and how you treat yourself impacts the way your child sees you and also themselves. Make sure to use kind language towards yourself, teach your child the importance of self-care and being kind to your body. This serves as an example for how your child should be treating themselves, and plays a major role in the development of their self-esteem.
One of the most damaging parenting techniques is ridiculing your child or labeling them a “bad kid” when they make mistakes or act in a way that displeases you. An important gentle parenting tip is separating the act from the person. For example, if your child tells a lie or does something they are not supposed to do, explain to them why their actions are wrong. Tell them about the concept of lying and why it is considered immoral, instead of labeling them a liar or shaming them. By separating the action from the person, you are teaching your child that we all make mistakes, but these mistakes don’t define who we are. This is also important for teaching them how to learn from their mistakes and direct their energy towards improving instead of wallowing in shame or guilt.
Need Some Extra Help?
If you’re looking to do some extra reading on gentle parenting or parenthood in general, my book Children Are People Too can be a wonderful guide. My extensive experience in management and child psychology, combined with knowledge from my own personal experiences as a mom, has helped me design practical parenting tips and the tools to help you understand yourself and your child better. This is not only a guide to parenting but also a self-help book, because remember- change always begins from within yourself.
Dr. Sharon Fried Buchalter is a Distinguished Clinical Psychologist, as well as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Licensed Clinical Hypnotherapist and Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She has been practicing since 1996 and specializes in counseling children, adolescents, parents, couples, and families.
Dr. Sharon holds a Master’s and Doctorate in Counseling Psychology from Columbia University in New York City, as well as a Master’s in Social Work from NYU and MBA in Industrial Psychology from the Zicklin School of Business, in New York City. She has received the highest accreditation as a Board-Certified Diplomate-Fellow in advanced child and adolescent psychology, marital and family relations, psychoeducational assessment, hypnotherapy, and clinical psychology.
In addition, Dr. Sharon is also an executive life coach, public speaker, career counselor and has worked as a corporate training development manager. As a Human Resource Consultant she developed and implemented management training programs.
As a parenting expert Dr. Sharon has developed various revolutionary tools to help couples, parents, and families achieve happiness and success. She has developed and implemented a wide range of successful workshops that focus on topics such as family leadership, new parent survival skills, and life skills training for teens and college students. She has authored two award winning parenting /self-help books and articles for national and local publications.
Her latest coaching program Mentor Your Child to Success is designed around business management concepts that is used by many successful leaders. With her “POS“multi-level approach to goal setting, parents learn to mentor themselves and their children by developing leadership skills that will last a lifetime and improve happiness. Through parent/child teamwork, children are encouraged to actively participate in the development of their own interests, talents, and goals. Also working together as a team promotes family unity, mutual respect, and long-lasting parent-child interactions.