There’s no foolproof guide to parenting, so ensuring you provide your child with the most supportive, compassionate and flexible parenting can be a challenge. However, while it can be challenging, it is still a vital age in anyone’s life – establishing their experiences and understanding of the world. No strategy is going to work with every child, but there are a few skills that can be utilised to help set you up for the right environment for your kid.
Elements of a developed parenting strategy
Successful parents embrace a number of skills to create an environment for their child that is:
In order to achieve this environment, practice these skills. These are taught in many of our ParentZone programs and courses.
Styles and strategies can vary over time and depend on the child’s needs, but it’s important to be consistent regardless of your style. Unpredictable discipline and behaviour can leave your child feeling unsettled and won’t allow them to recognise the patterns in consequences.
Just as you want to be consistent, you also want to maintain a level of flexibility with your strategy. If strategies aren’t effective, if you find the reaction is less than desirable or that your child doesn’t resonate with the style, you want to be willing to adapt your style. Whatever flexibility you offer, however, make sure you are openly communicating these changes to your child.
Build trust by communicating your intentions and rules to your child. While children can observe the consequences of their behaviours and recognise patterns and actions to mitigate poor consequences, the best way to get the right behaviour is by clearly explaining your choices to them. This will build trust.
Introduce positive affirmation
Any style of parenting benefits from positive affirmation and recognition of discipline. An abundance of criticism and punishment may just leave your child fearing discipline and using fear to make decisions in the future. Positive affirmation means they will seek out behaviours that give them this validation, supporting motivation over fear.
Learning and fun
You don’t have to make education and entertainment mutually exclusive, but you also want to help your child distinguish between focusing and enjoying some downtime. If you are teaching your child or working on homework, keep technology and distractions away so your child understands what the priority is. In free time, make sure to allocate a particular time that gives your child the autonomy to spend their time as they like. This will be an essential skill to have throughout adulthood.
Input from your child
There’s no point creating a plan for your child without their input. If you have developed a style of discipline and recognition that your child dreads, you won’t get very far. Instead, work with your child to understand what works for them. Communicate what your expectations are and discuss how they would prefer to move forward. Naturally, your child will still need some management and input from you, but if they feel like they are listened to they’ll be more motivated to follow your rules.
With planning and organisation, you can better manage the concerns that many parents have. Maintain flexibility but use the recommended skills to create an environment that welcomes open communication and childhood development.
Anglicare Victoria provides free parenting groups, workshops, resources, and training for parents across Victoria. Our skilled and experienced facilitators tailor the sessions to meet the interests of each group. ParentZone programs cater to all ages and stages, from babies to young adults. Programs address the stages and challenges faced by parents including family violence, mental health, technology and school attendance.
If you are looking for support in parenting, please reach out to Anglicare Victoria on 1800 809 722. Or why not attend a ParentZone program or course? See Parenting courses and programs here.