It is rare that you will hear someone say being a parent is easy. Being a parent can be a trial, to say the least. No two kids are the same, nor are any two families. It’s easy to see perfect families through Instagram posts and other filtered social media, but we all know the truth. Parenting can be hard, but it is so worth it. There are even times when you might knock it out of the park. Being an awesome parent does not mean you will always have it all together. You may even feel like you are failing on some days. Being an awesome parent has much more to do with the love you give to your children and the time that is more precious than any toy you could buy. Here are 3 tips for being an awesome parent.
My 17-year-old is into all things card game-related. This includes Yu-Gi-Oh, Pokemon, Magic, the works. It might as well be Greek to me. When he tries to talk to me about many of his interests, I often feel like I am Charlie Brown listening to his teacher with the incomprehensible droning. I love my son. He and his brothers and sister are my world. I would do anything for him. However, listening to hours of card game talk can be difficult. I could go the route of tuning him out. I could even tell him that I am uninterested. Being an awesome parent is about putting your interests, or disinterests, aside for your children. My son loves these games. Because I love him, I try my very best to understand what he is trying to convey to me. I stop what I am doing and really listen. He is well aware I know very little but gets excited when I ask questions. For him, it’s not really about trying to make me love Pokemon but about wanting to see that I care about what he cares about. Kids want to be heard. Listen to your children even if it’s hard. Even if it’s boring. It may be the most important thing in their life at the time. Set aside your preferences and set aside your time for your children. It will mean the world to them.
- Parent First
When kids describe an “awesome parent,” they may describe a parent who doesn’t discipline and who lets his or her kids do what they want. However, being an awesome parent is much more about being a parent than a friend. Being a friend is easy. Giving your kids the world is easy. Making sure that your children become great humans by guiding them in the right direction is our most important work. Being an awesome parent includes discipline and lovingly guiding your children with a kind but firm hand. Our kids are not always going to like our decisions. Our kids are not always going to like us. We may even experience times when we feel horrible for having to set boundaries and punish our children. Being an awesome parent is about finding that balance of encouraging a friendly relationship with your children while staying hands-on in the work of parenting and guiding them to be successful young adults. If done right, they may thank you when they are older!
- Be Present
Along with listening to your child, you also have to be present with your child. I am guilty of constantly having my face buried in my phone while my kids are playing. I have been making a conscious effort to be aware of this and to try to be more present with my children. I began with the rule that my phone goes away the moment my children approach me to play or talk. Just yesterday, my two-year-old daughter came up to me on the couch while I was checking emails. She placed a blanket over both of our heads and squealed, “tent! Tent!” My first reaction was of annoyance, but I remembered my rule. I put my phone away and played with my daughter. As we lay there under the blanket, her face beaming, I focused on her little squeals and her soft breath on my face. It was in that moment I thought to myself, “This must be what heaven is like.” There was no place else I would rather have been than in that moment forever. I wish I could capture it and carry it around with me forever. Imagine if I had just shooed her away with a, “Not now, honey!” How crushing would that have been for her? What a moment I would have missed out on. Be present with your children. Our time is as precious as our children.