10 Honest Parenting Tips (after ten years of parenting)

1. BEHAVIOUR
Childhood behavior is defined on a scale between what one accepts and what one does not accept as appropriate, it is entirely opinion based. Just like any other human, your child may have an opinion different from your own. Behavior in any format is not an act of character but derived through cause and effect. Change or eliminate the cause and the behavior effect will change.

2. DISCIPLINE
Discipline without explanation does not constitute logical parenting. Unacceptable behavior will change quicker and with less problems if you explain why actions are appropriate or inappropriate in a respectful tone because the understanding of the situation is greater.

3. RESPECT
Speak to and treat children with respect, logical thought and natural consequences to set their moral compass by example. It’s the only way you are going to get genuine respect from them without terrifying them in the process.

4. LOGIC
Children are logical creatures, they don’t have the capacity to judge, hate, or manipulate without learning it from an adult. Look to yourself first if things seem out of place and work towards the child end of the relationship, you are less predictable than they are so it makes more sense to start there.

5. INDEPENDENCE
Independence is derived from a slow migration away from dependence and towards confidence. As a natural process, it should not be rushed ahead of time. This can backfire into an unsure child and an adult who lacks conviction in decisions. At the same time, avoid infantising your child. Western culture is very skilled at this and it is easy to slip into a world of doing it for them because there is less mess, it’s done “properly”, it’s faster or it is easier. Don’t belittle their learning process by taking over. Step back and let them figure things out, even if it takes a while.  Please allow them the opertunity to fail, it teaches them more than any success ever would.

6. LANGUAGE
Listen to yourself and how you speak to your children, others and about your children to others. Record it if need be and play it back. Listen to your tone, your manners, and inflection in your voice, are you happy with your use of language? If not, change! Children learn their language from listening to others, your voice will become their inner voice. Be aware of yourself.

7. UNDERSTANDING
Getting down at their eye level is possibly the best thing you can do for your children. Share their joy and their triumphs. Be there when they need you. Children are the same species as adults, you were a child once. Please don’t ever forget this.

8. PATIENCE
Understand they have smaller feet, smaller hands, smaller understanding of the world. Things take longer for them, they don’t have your timetable, any need to rush or care about five minutes late, they care about bugs on leaves, beads in tins and their favorite crayon. Let them care about what’s important to them because it is important to them. It’s not because what you want doesn’t matter to them but because what they see is your unhappiness at lost time and don’t want to be part of that.

9. BAD DAYS
Quite simply, act, do not react. Be purposeful in your actions and clear in your wants and needs. It will show them how to communicate their own wants and needs to others. Take time for you if you need it and allow them to do the same. Be accepting of bad days but look always to analyze why they were bad and aim to improve.

10. FORGIVENESS
They are still learning and will make mistakes, just as you are still learning to be a parent of an older and older child. There are no regrets on this path, you are the perfect you at any point in time. Remember to learn from and reflect on choices and apply them to the new now.

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