Are You Parenting Better in 2011

the-kidsOne of the things I enjoy about living in Indianapolis is that there’s a general consensus of values that can be found in the Midwest. Some of those values include parenting. I’m not saying we all agree by any means, but generally I believe most of us have similar aspirations and desires for our kids. Parenting doesn’t just happen by accident, it’s something we have (or should be) to work at to continue improving. Here’s a good article from Lotus Group, they’re counselors serving clients here in Indianapolis.

Here’s the article. I’m already trying to work on integrating more of these patterns and strategies into my daily job of parenting my two great kids.

Children do not come with a parenting manual, but they often come with a healthy dose of guilt. Many parents struggle with feeling they don’t spend enough time with their kids or they can’t provide their kids with enough material items or experiences as they’d like. Often, the guilt is undeserved and self-inflicted. Even with the guilt, many parents realize there are some areas in which they need to brush up and do a little better. Here are eight areas to consider in 2011 that will help you understand what influences parenting and where you might want to spend a little time improving.

Your own history: Where you came from impacts who you are today. The way you were parented, the experiences you had growing up, how your parents showed love and provided discipline—these things set the tone for how you will parent. Take inventory about what you liked and didn’t like about your childhood and then decide what parenting path you want to take with your own kids.

Your own health: When we don’t feel good (mentally or physically), we are usually off our game in every area, including parenting. As parents, we have to be sure to take care of ourselves so that we have something to give our kids. Be sure to eat well and exercise in order to be physically in shape the handle the demands of parenting. If you struggle with depression or anxiety, talk to your doctor or therapist so that you have some mental reserves for your children.

Your job: Our jobs demand a lot from us and some are trying to work more than one job to make ends meet in our current economy. Be sure, to your best ability, to leave work at work. Take time on the drive home to debrief from the busyness of the work day and change hats. Think about what you want your kids to see in you when you walk in the door and try to put your best foot forward. We are all tired at the end of a workday, but our kids shouldn’t be given the leftovers. Try to save something good for them!

Your marriage: Someone once said the best gift you can give your children is to love your spouse. Your marriage and the way you communicate and share the household responsibilities have an impact on the way you parent. If there is conflict in your marriage, problems will arise in your parenting. Make time to work on your marriage and work out any issues that may get in the way of raising your kids in a healthy atmosphere. This may mean therapy, or it may mean something as simple as a weekly date night.

Your kids: Do you have a child that knows exactly how and what buttons to push at the wrong times? Our kids and their personalities often pull certain behaviors from us. Know how you and your children are both similar and different and manage those differences. If you have a quick temper and one of your children is really sensitive to anger, take a deep breath or walk away for an “adult time-out” before talking with them about something that is upsetting.

We can all find something in our parenting that needs a little fine tuning. Find out what it is and commit to doing something daily that will make it better for you and your kids. It will  pay off in huge dividends in the end!

Used with permission from Parenting Better in 2011 on Lotus Group website