As a Parent Expert, I am always asked – how come parenting is so hard?!
So here are my Top 5 Tips for parenting to be easier:
- Have clear, consistent boundaries
Children like clarity and for things to be predictable. This makes life safe for them. When a child is saying “no”, more often than not they need your guidance (not controlling) to make a situation or choice safe for them.
2. Don’t offer too many choices, negotiate too much or over-explain
Children need to develop a sense of autonomy and self, but they also need parents to be decisive. Children don’t have the brain capacity (their brains are developing) to make fully informed decisions and this is where they need parents to make decisions without over negotiating, too may choices or explanations.
3. Have a plan & get the right help
Know how you’d like your parenting to be and make a plan to get there. If there are parts of parenting that you find difficult then make a plan to work them through. Remember that you can’t teach someone to drive unless you can drive yourself, it’s the same with emotional, behavioural or practical difficulties. You can only teach and show your children after you have worked things out.
4. Work through your parenting default in an appropriate way
You are currently parenting from a set of memories and patterns in your brain telling you how things should be done. This is based on how you were raised as it is what your brain memory knows. Does your parenting default fit how you’d like to parent, are you ok becoming your Mum, or is it time to change so that things become easier?
Most people want to change parts or all of their parenting default. We now know more about children and their development than when you were small and parenting has changed.
There is only so much a parent can work through this alone – everyone needs help from someone else to gain perspective so reading books alone isn’t enough.
5. Get comfy in the grey areas of life
Much of life is about sitting in the grey. And if a parent can teach this to their child by mirroring and reflecting how to be in the grey areas, it is such a gift – and vital skill for life – for their children.
Boundaries must be consistent, clear but also flexible rather than rigid. Whatever values or rules you have in your family, are they flexible based on what’s going on in that moment?
If you’d like to find your parenting best and understand more about how you can offer your best to yourself and your children, the best place to do that with me is through my Calm & Collective Membership. It’s your online parenting village with workshops, private Facebook group with me and the resources and knowledge so that you’ll get to where you’d like to be.
Bethan is a Parenting Expert & Psychotherapist whose passion is supporting parents so that their lives are easier. Her work has been written about in various local and national media – for more information about Bethan have a look here.