All parents want to be good parents because that’s how you teach children to be their best selves.
However, how do you know which parenting tips you should listen to, and who has time to read them all anyway. Plus, many parenting experts have conflicting views about the best ways to raise children.
After weeks of research and poring over scientific articles, here are seven parenting skills I believe all good parents have in common.
1. Teaching Children to Care About the Needs of Others
Lara Aknin’s exhaustive research [*1] reveals that giving is better than receiving for the soul, and it works even better when the giver is sacrificing something.
Even though people can be instinctually self-centered, the study indicates we are still happier when taking care of the needs of others.
2. Focus More on Positive Behaviour Rather Than The Negative
Research by Alan Kazdin, a psychology professor at Yale University, indicates that focusing on children’s bad behavior tends to get more of the same, or worse. [*2]
Professor Kazdin believes that a child who is constantly berated for bad behavior starts to internalize the belief they are a bad child. Therefore, they aren’t motivated to correct their behavior because they identify as a problem child.
A more effective approach is to recognize and reward good behavior when you see it, even if you have to go out of your way to do so.
3. Don’t Shout
It’s hard not to shout when the kids are driving you crazy. However, Ming-Te Wang’s research shows us that shouting is ineffectual and only makes the behavior worse.
Instead of shouting, try understanding what’s causing the behavior and use logic when reasoning with the child.
4. Create a United Front with Your Spouse
Research shows that children who come from families where the parents are a team effort are generally happier and more successful than children who come from families where the parents are not united and always fighting. [*4] In short, healthy marriages produce happy, well-adjusted children.
5. Teach Your Children Independence
Most parents want children who are responsible and independent but have trouble letting kids do things on their own. The habit of closely supervising children every minute is called helicopter parenting. Larry Nelson’s research tells us that children of helicopter parents typically don’t do as well at school and often have low self-esteem. [*5]
Don’t be a helicopter parent. Instead, give your child some room to do things independently, make mistakes, and take responsibility for their actions.
6. Create a Sense of Security
Lee Raby’s research suggests that children who grow up with a strong sense of security during their early years perform better at school and develop healthier adult relationships than those who don’t. [*6]
You can create a sense of security by showing affection, being respectful, and acknowledging your kids’ feelings. Always be approachable and regularly remind your kids that you love them. You should also be dependable, trustworthy, and keep your promises.
7. Teach Your Kids Resilience
Angela Duckworth is a psychologist who has found that teaching your children perseverance and passion for long-term goals is a critical trait for success.
It’s been found that these traits are even more essential than a high IQ or talent. You can instill your children with perseverance and resilience by emphasizing efforts over results, encouraging them to take on manageable tasks, and not fussing over perfection. You could also talk about some of the challenges you have faced in your life and how you overcame them. And just as important is letting your kids make mistakes because they are some of the most valuable learning experiences they will have.[*1] https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0039211 [*2] https://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/10/parenting.aspx [*3] https://www.livescience.com/39400-harsh-verbal-discipline-teens-behavior.html [*4] https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-divorce-bad-for-children/ [*5] https://news.byu.edu/news/helicopter-parenting-backfires-study-shows [*6] https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cdev.12325/abstract