5 Simple Ways To Improve Your Parenting

Hello fellow parents!
I will never claim to have all the answers or know what works best for you and your specific circumstance.
But what I hope to do is encourage you!
Encourage you to be a little goofier today than you were yesterday.
Encourage you to be a little more grace-giving each day.
Encourage you to be a little more mindful of the hearts + minds you’ve been given the gift of raising.

Five Things To Remember In Order To Improve Your Parenting

1. The Big Picture
You are never done parenting.
You are tasked with raising up the next generation.
You are leaving a legacy.
Let’s pause there. What a heavy obligation we have.
Let’s lighten the load. LAUGH. Right now. Out loud.
I don’t care if you’re in an awkward spot, what are you doing reading a blog during work hours anyway? 😉
Now laugh at how goofy that forced laugh was!
Personally, I feel we all take ourselves a little too seriously.
We mess up once and think we’ve scarred our kids forever.
We get these big ideas that when we fail, we’ve failed indefinitely.
[I can’t mention failings without saying, I am not encouraging abuse (physical, sexual, mental, or verbal) or neglect.
Those aren’t failings we can just brush off.
If you have failed in the aforementioned ways, get professional help!
There is no shame in seeking the help you need.]
What I am talking about is muttering a curse word under your breath at the fact your 2.5 year old managed to spill that *cussing* bowl of soggy cereal and milk again.
Failings of that nature. Ya know?
The things they’ll tell their future spouse about that ‘WE WILL NEVER DO AS PARENTS.’
The things they’ll call you sobbing about when they have kids of their own.

2. Be A Problem Solver
This world needs problem solvers.
There are so many problems both big and small and they all need solutions.
I’ve never read Love and Logic, but I have read a quote of theirs and BOOYAH, problem solvers unite! “When children cause problems, parents hand these problems back in loving ways. Love allows children to grow through their mistakes. Logic allows them to learn from the consequences of their choices.”
Give them two solutions, here’s an example : little love, you need to pick up your room. You can either pick up your room right now and have dessert after dinner. Or you can eat dinner and then pick up your room while the rest of the family is eating dessert without you.
Or is that bribing? Maybe try bribing first, and if that doesn’t work, then give them two solutions to choose from.
Kidding. Only a little bit.
But seriously, if you give them two solutions to their problem when it comes to solving (dare I say BIGGER – because to littles all their problems are already BIG) problems later in life you’re going to have someone who understands there is always more than one solution, and there are real consequences to choosing negatively.

3. Emotional Intelligence
Talk about feelings. Start with happy, sad, mad.
Express your feelings as often as you can.
Use this phrase as a jumping off point that I learned from The Gottman Institute :
I feel…about…I need.
Examples : I feel happy when the house is clean. I need you to pick up toys you’re not playing with.
I feel sad about not being listened to. I need you to repeat what I say so I know you hear what I’m saying.
I feel mad about my vase being broken. I need to take a few deep breaths before we continue our conversation.
Use it on your spouse too!
That gentle start up, expressing your own feelings, and not pointing blame works on even the toughest defensive person [me, I’m talking about me]!
Use it on your coworkers! Use it on friends!
We need more people who are willing to talk about feelings!!

4. Take Responsibility 
A sincere apology seems to be like a unicorn in this day and age.
A mystical, magical thing that isn’t real.
We need more people who admit to their wrongdoings.
We all mess up. It’s inevitable.
What we don’t all do is apologize. But we should.
Here’s an outline to use in your own apologies.
I won’t give specific answers, because it needs to be genuine, from YOUR heart.
I am sorry for _______. That was wrong because _____. In the future I will _____. Will you forgive me?

5. You Are THE Example
Be the father/mother you hope they are one day.
You are possibly (most likely) parenting a future parent.
What do you want them to remember?
What do you want them to mimic?
I think most of us have the goal of raising well-rounded, decent human beings who make society a bit more bearable.
In order to raise those people, we need to work on ourselves and the parents we are.
Deciding to become a better mom/dad, doesn’t mean it’s going to happen overnight.
Start small.
If you yell [like myself] when you’ve ‘had it up to here’ then maybe your solution is to start with catching yourself and apologizing immediately. Catching yourself and saying, “can I start over?” Catching yourself as you’re about to open your mouth and taking in a deep breath or WHISPERING!
Yes, I put whispering in all caps because whisper yelling is most of the time just as effective as loud, ear-piercing, make you both want to cry yelling.

You’re welcome for the tips.
You’re welcome for the encouragement.
What can I say except you’re welcome?

**Any parents catch that line from Moana?
Fist pump if you did!
Seriously, quit taking yourself so seriously!**

Give yourself more grace!

Love well,
Nicole

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