Written by Natalya Ganchina M.Ed.
Raising a child is a great journey. Children make us better people — as much as we want to teach them everything, we have to accept that we can learn from our children too. One question every parents has is this: what is the right way to parent, and is it possible to do it right?
If you are reading this, you are someone who cares about your child’s future, and you are willing to invest in it. You might have read articles or books on parenting that say you must do this, or buy that, to ensure your child’s success and happiness. Just remember, investing too much can be as unhealthy as not investing at all. As in all things, balance is an important part of a healthy family life. How can you give your child enough space to grow and develop freely, and also help them prepare for being a happy and responsible adult?
Here is some simple advice to keep in mind as you go through the day-to-day stresses of parenting:
- Take care of yourself. How parents see and treat themselves sets a very important example for children. They can see your success, your happiness, and your worries. If you have unrealized ambitions, try to realize them in your own life. Your work on self-fulfillment is a part of parenting, not a distraction.
- Understand your parenting goals. What do you imagine for your child’s future? How can you help them realize their own goals? By considering what you and your child want to achieve, you can let go of the stress of working towards a vague term like “success.”
- Give what you can. Let them try a wide range of interests, as much as you can afford — and then let it go and give them a chance to choose. By starting these experiences early, your child will develop as a well-rounded person, and both you and your child will start to understand their interests, strengths, and potential.
- Set your priorities. What is important for you and your child now? What will important in 10 – 15 years? Big problems now might not matter in a few years. Make your parenting choices based on both short and long term effects.
- Communication matters. Talking and listening to your child is vital. By practicing clear communication with your child, you can develop a strong relationship that will hold steady through all the struggles of raising a child.
- Take a breath. You are on the right path. Be satisfied with what you have already done and where your child is right now, and know that your efforts are not unseen or unappreciated.
In the end, it’s impossible to be a perfect parent. By freeing yourself from the idea of perfection in you and your child, you can find a way of parenting that ensures you and your child grow together. Let it go and do the best that you can.