How to be an even better parent?

1. Be aware of your own hot buttons and personal strengths.
The more you know yourself, both what you like and what you don’t like, the better you’ll be able to manage your own behavior the next time a “situation” occurs. We have fewer parental regrets when we respond thoughtfully rather than react emotionally.

2. Take good care of yourself! Most parents are tired, stressed overwhelmed and overworked.
It sure is hard under these circumstances to respond as the caring, loving parent you really are. The simplest and most effective way of taking care of yourself is to focus on your breathing. As you breathe deeply and calmly, you start a healing process that affects your body, mind and spirit.

3. Be the number one model for your kids.
Our kids really do learn from what we do, not from what we say. If you want them to have a strong self-esteem, be sure that yours is strong. If you want them to be loving, kind people, you be a loving, kind person. If you want them to take responsibility for their actions, be responsible in your own life.

4. Treat each child as an individual.
As similar as children may seem to be, each has his or her own unique qualities, dispositions and spirits. As an adult in this child’s life, you can adapt your behavior to the child’s uniqueness to have a better relationship.

5. Use the “problems” that occur as “learning opportunities”.
Regardless of age, kids can get involved in coming up with solutions to problems when they occur. Because growing our kids to adulthood is a gradual process of their learning and our letting go, we need to provide as many opportunities as possible for them to be thinking people while they have us as in-house coaches.

6. Provide limits.
Limits are necessary for kids to know they are within a safe environment where they can experiment with growing up. Limits are like a fence that lets kids know they are safe to play within their own yard. Kids rely on their adults to put up the fences because initially they are too young and inexperienced to do it by themselves.

7. Follow through with consequences.
When kids mess up we are sometimes too busy, too tired, too guilty, or too afraid they won’t like us anymore to do what we know we need to do. When we let our kids off the hook for any of these reasons, we fail them.

8. House rules are clearly written and displayed.
House rules are as important to a well-functioning family as job descriptions and organizational policy are to successful companies. By planning ahead, we can include every family member in the decision making and reduce daily stress.

9. Envision the family you want.
What behaviors do you expect from your children? What behaviors do you expect from yourself? What do you want your home to look like? What kind of future do you want? The more you envision and design the desired outcome, the more likely it is to happen.

10. Come from love.
Every time you are with your children you have an opportunity to let them know how great they are, how much you love them and how happy you are they are part of your life. A touch, a look, a gesture or a word can express the deep caring and connection you have with them.