Today there is a glut of information available about parenting. It can be hard to know which way to turn. Parenting is hard, there is no doubt about that, but people have been doing it for thousands of years--long before university professors stepped in with lots of complicated research. For me, effective parenting comes down to these three steps.
Step 1: Clarity
You wouldn't go on a major road trip without knowing where you were going, would you? No! With parenting it is even more important to have a plan--a clear vision--of who you want your child to be and what is essential to you. Keeping your long-term goal in mind--prioritizing your values--allows you to be clear about your day-to-day decisions. Having clear guidelines in your own mind, gives you a standard to check against. Not only will you feel less stressed, when you communicate your expectations with quiet confidence, you make your child feel calmer, more secure and happier.
Step 2: Connection
Once you are clear on your priorities and values, it is time to form a close, warm connection with your child. Really, this is the silver bullet of parenting. A child who feels absolutely secure in your affection for him is ready to do your bidding. Feeling your approval, he gladly engages in the routines of the family. He wants to please you. Think you don't have time to build that connection? The truth is, you cannot afford not to. It is only with a strong emotional bond that you will get the joyful cooperation you want. Need ideas on how to connect? Sign up for my complementary new ebook 8 Tips to Building a Close Connection with Your Kids
Step 3: Consistency
Even as adults, we like to know what is going on and what is expected of us. Knowing the plan makes us feel secure. Well, your child feels the same way. When she is certain about what will make you happy and what will upset you, she comes to trust your reaction. Now she knows how to behave and can choose whether or not she wants to. It is when you react one way to a given situation one day and another the next day that she cannot regulate her mood or control her own emerging will. Your being consistent allows her to be her best self and to get on with her day.