Parenting is hard. There is no manual to it. So many parents claim to have done everything right, but their results speak otherwise. If I had a course on parenting, I would name the introductory part of it Parenting 101.
Few scenarios can play out when it comes to parenting
- Do parenting the rigid, bullish, and authoritarian way and risk raising broken, low-self-esteemed humans.
- Do parenting badly, and you end up crippling society.
- Do parenting right, and you save the society and raise better humans.
In my research, I found four reoccurring components of parenting which I refer to as Parenting 101. They include:
- Choices – you don’t want to force things down your child’s throat. So, a better way is to give them the option of making a choice. “You either do it now or do it later but miss TV time.” What this does is that it helps the child learn to make the best decision, delay immediate gratification, and promote autonomy. Don’t give too many options, but all available options must be firm on them doing the task but with something to lose—either time, rest, fun, or whatever.
- Consequences – your child must understand that there are consequences for every action they take, either good or bad. Your job as a parent is to state the consequences to them clearly. Using the example above, the consequence of not washing now is losing TV time. After they’ve made their decision, you want to give them feedback on their choices and the consequences they reaped.
- Consistency – as a parent, you cannot afford to say X and do Y. If the consequence is no TV time, that is it. Never let your emotions get in the way. When kids know their parents mean what they say, they take their decision-making seriously. Always stick to your promise as a parent.
- Care – giving your child choices, consequences, and consistency are useless if you do not show your child love, care, and respect. When you don’t care for them, no matter what you teach them, they will become just like you. Your job is to care for them irrespective of their choices.
A disclaimer to note is that it is easier to write about parenting than to parent. I am no parent just yet, but I hope this fits in somewhere.