Avoiding Overparenting: A Clueless Parent’s Guide to Raising Happy Kids

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Parenting is perhaps the toughest job in the world-it’s a lifetime commitment, and you don’t get paid overtime. As a parent, you are the first role model your children will look up to, and that in itself can be rather daunting. It’s easy to get carried away by your emotions and expectations that you may think you are selling yourself short when raising your kids.

Despite the challenges of being a parent, it’s probably the most important job you can ever have. While you want to be the best parent you can be, there is a good deal of conflicting advice thrown about, especially from neighbors or relatives who think they mean well. You mustn’t lose yourself in the process of being a parent.

1. Consistency is always key.

According to The New York Times, there is no right way to raise children. They said that research shows that for a child to grow up to be self-reliant and have confidence in themselves, you have to be authoritative and not authoritarian. This way, you will teach your children to listen, trust and respect you. Doing so otherwise will make them fear you and turn you into the helicopter parent you wish to avoid.

As your child grows older, their attitudes will change, and with this, so will the challenges. While your thinking will also change, it’s important to be consistent with your attitude towards your child. You should be consistent, firm, but loving. You also have to be confident that your child can overcome their challenges independently- whether it is going away to summer camp for the first time or standing up to their bullies.

2. Practice happiness.

In a report by Time Magazine, parents were asked what they wanted for their kids. Their answer was simple: they want their children to be happy. But how can you make a kid happy? By practicing happiness yourself. You cannot teach your children how to be happy if you have forgotten how to be happy. These days, happiness seems so hard to achieve with the bar of expectations being set too high and that everyone is in a rush to accomplish things.

Research has shown that your direct behavior can cause behavioral problems in kids, and make your parenting less effective. Statistically speaking, happy parents are most likely to have happy children. So what is the first thing you can do to be happy? Have fun. As adults, our brains are wired to think that adulthood equals having responsibilities and that you can no longer have fun, which is a wrong way of understanding things.

Hang out with good friends, with family members, those who can make you give a good laugh. Laughter, after all, is contagious and that is enough to get the happy hormones started.

3. Teach children how to foster relationships.

One of the challenges of being an adult is how to build meaningful relationships that last over time. So how does one teach it to kids? Start simple; teach them to be kind. They don’t have to perform heroic acts; they just have to start with small acts of kindness like helping out with the chores or feeding the strays.

Empathy is a powerful tool, and teaching it to your kids will get them far in life and will teach them that despite life’s many challenges, they can always choose to make it a little better for the people around them.

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4. Don’t expect perfection.

Drumming perfection into your child can ultimately damage them. Christine Carter‘s book on raising children explains that an overemphasis on achievement could raise the risk for depression, anxiety and even substance abuse in children.

Praise your child’s effort and not their natural ability, and they will be happier for it. Studies show that when you praise children for their efforts, they will most likely be consistent with hard work to achieve things.

5. Teach them to look for the silver lining.

Teaching kids to be optimistic is hard, especially if things don’t always go as smoothly as you want them to. Looking on the bright side of things is essential as you grow older because it will help you interpret the world in a different life. It can teach you to see the challenges as opportunities and for your failures as a way to learn new things and to start over again.

6. Eat dinner together.

It may seem like an old tradition, but it matters: eat dinner as a family. This is one way that you will be able to gather together and check up on everyone. This way, you can interact with each other over a meal. In doing so, you can teach your kids the value of family and communication. It might be a simple gesture, but it is very powerful.

7. Balance your time and schedule for them.

It’s challenging enough being an adult with juggling work and responsibilities. At home, you may also encounter problems with the household budget and home renovations. You can hire professionals such as carpenters, electricians and retaining wall contractors for your home renovation projects, so you will still have time for family.

Have the right amount of time for your kids, but don’t overdo it. Place yourself in the schedule so that you will be able to update yourself with what’s going on in their lives and if they need any help with things. Making time at the right time always makes a difference.

Parenting can be challenging, but you can find that it is very rewarding, especially when you see your children grow into happy, well-adjusted and fulfilled adults.

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