Are you giving everything you have to be a successful parent? Do you feel like you have tried everything but your kids still misbehave and you are a completely stressed out parent?
Effective parenting is like baking – if one key ingredient is left out, the cookies are not going to come out right. You might be missing a key ingredient in your parenting approach.
How Successful Baking and Successful Parenting Are Similar
A few weeks ago I baked my world-famous oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. I am so good at baking these little suckers that I don’t even need to follow the recipe anymore. (Is that a good thing, or a scary thing?).
So, I was making the dough and it wasn’t thick and gooey like it usually is. The dough was crumbling in my fingers. I did my best to make little balls to put on the cookie sheet. After they came out of the oven, they looked okay but they were hard and crunchy and they tasted like….
My husband came home from work. I said to him, “Try these. I made these how I usually do but they came out terrible today. I don’t know what’s wrong.” The first words out of his mouth were, “Did you put in the eggs?”
I completely forgot the eggs! How could I have forgotten the eggs? I was so mad at myself (and more frustrated that my husband caught the error and I didn’t!)
In many ways, successful parenting correlates to successful cooking. If you leave out even ONE simple ingredient, you’ve got a mess on your hands.
The 5 Secret Ingredients to Successful Parenting:
Time and Attention
The average child today spends 5 minutes with dad but 20 hours watching television each week. There is no regulation on how long an infant or toddler can be left at a daycare center each day.
71% of American households have double income parents. One of the biggest crisis’ we face in America these days are the millions of children growing up without parents and parenting giving them true one-on-one, direct interaction each day.
Investing time and attention into your children is the greatest investment you will make in your entire life – and the life of your children. Ask your boss to work from home. Kick a ball in the hallway every evening. Eat together and play board games.
Do whatever you can to spend quality time with your kids every day. Time is one thing in life that once it’s gone, you can never get it back.
Yes, we are a junk food nation…and our children are paying the big, big price. Kids are inundated with processed foods, sodas, juices, fast food and mass-produced cafeteria food – Daily!
It is critical that parents lead by example and implement healthy options at home and avoid sugary and processed foods. Sugar and processed foods lead to a tremendous amount of health issues: ADHD, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, sleep disorders and behavioral problems.
I have known many parents who adjusted one simple think in their child’s diet (sugar, red food coloring, gluten) and it completely changed their behavior.
Is your child sleep-deprived? Studies are showing that children who receive even 15 minutes less sleep than their fellow classmates not only have lower IQs but also fall into the B and C category of grades at school.
Inadequate sleep also has a tremendous impact on obesity, depression and overall brain development. So enforce strict bedtimes and make sure your children receive at least 10 hours of sleep each night.
80% of parents are either too permissive or too authoritative. Just like in cooking, if you under-cook a batch of cookies they are gooey and nasty. If you over-cook a batch of cookies, they are burnt and covered in carcinogens. The secret is to bake the cookies on the right temperature for the right amount of time.
Same rule applies to parenting: Discipline when necessary by taking away privileges or time outs – but too much criticism and corporal punishment creates fearful children with low self-esteem.
An old wives tale is that kids who are not spanked end up being brats who think they can do whatever they want. This is definitely not true. I have never spanked my children, but in our house “no” means “no”, mom and dad are in charge and there are definitely consequences for bad behavior.
Again, the key is not being too harsh but also not being a doormat. Find that perfect balance so your kids come out nice and yummy!
Properly Coached Parent
Parenting is the most important job on Earth…and sometime one of the hardest. The first critical mistake parents make is not following the “recipes” for parenting.
Most parents try to figure things out on their own or think their mother, sister or neighbor is their best coach. If you were going in for surgery, how would you feel if the surgeon said “Let me call my brother to see what he would do?” You expect your surgeon, pastor, teachers and accountants to be trained professionals, right?
Why are parents not holding themselves to the same standard when they job of parenting is far more important than any other job?
My parenting books are my lifeline and as soon as I stop utilizing them for proper guidance I know I am going to leave out the “eggs” with my children. Read 5 parenting books, then read 5 more. And then keep re-reading them.
If you follow the advice that professionals offer, you are insuring yourself to have happy, well-adjusted, confident kids – and a little sanity for yourself!
Which of the above tips make the biggest difference in your child’s behavior? What do you do in order to build a healthy relationships with your children?
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