4 children on their stomachs with head and chin on their hands smiling


Raising kids is one of the toughest and hardest and yet the most rewarding and fulfilling jobs in the whole world And yet it the one for which you might feel the least prepared.

Here are 6 steps that can help you be a more effective parent.

Catch Kids Being Good

Have you ever stopped to think about how many times you react negatively to your kids in a day? You may find yourself complimenting them less and criticizing them more. How would you feel about a boss who treated you with that much negative interacting, even if it was quite well-intentioned and well-meaning?

The more effective approach is to catch kids doing something positive and right: “You made your bed without being asked — that’s AWESOME!” or “I was watching you play with your friend and you were very kind and gentle.” These statements will do more to encourage good behavior over the long run than repeated criticism.

Make it a point of finding something every day to praise, Be overgenerous with rewards and encouragement. Your love, hugs, and compliments can work absolute wonders. As so is adding treats and presents every so often. Soon you will find you are achieving more of the behavior that you want to see.

mom brushing her teeth with her child brushing her teeth

Set Limits and Be Absolutely Consistent With Your Discipline

Discipline is necessary for every home The real goal of discipline is to help kids choose on their own acceptable behaviors and to learn self-control. They will test the limits you establish for them, but they need those limits to grow into mature and responsible adults.

Establishing home rules will help kids understand your expectations and develop their own self-control. Some rules might include no hitting, name-calling, or hurtful teasing allowed and no TV until homework is done

You might want to have a system in place: one warning that is followed by consequences such as a “time out” or loss of privileges. A very common mistake that parents make is the failure to follow through with the intended consequences. You can’t discipline kids for talking back one day and then ignore it the next day. Being consistent teaches them what you expect and that they need to comply.

mom scolding her child

Boost Your Child’s Self-Esteem

Kids start developing their sense of self when they are babies when they see themselves through their own parents’ eyes. Your tone of voice, your body language, and your every expression are taken in by your kids. Your words and actions as a parent will affect their developing self-esteem more than anything else there is.

Praising accomplishments, even small ones, will make them feel proud; letting kids do things independently of you will make them feel capable and strong. By contrast, belittling and mean comments or comparing a child negatively with another will make kids feel worthless and less of themselves.

Avoid using words as weapons. Comments like “What a stupid thing to do!” or “You act more like a baby than your little brother!” cause as much damage as physical blows do.

Choose your words carefully and compassionately. Let your kids know that everyone makes mistakes and that you still will always love them, even when you don’t love their behavior, words, and actions.

mom comforting and holding her child

Make Time for Your Children

It’s often difficult for parents and kids to get together for a family meal, let alone spend quality time together. But there is probably nothing kids would want more of. You can get up 10 minutes earlier in the morning so you can then eat breakfast with your child or leave the dishes in the sink and take a walk after dinner. Kids who aren’t getting the attention they derve and want from their parents often act out or misbehave because they know they will get the attention that way.

Many parents find it rewarding to schedule together time with their kids. Create a “special night” each week to be together and let your kids help decide how to spend the time. Look for other ways to connect — put a sweet note or something special in your child’s lunchbox.

Be a Good Role Model

Young children learn so much about how to act by watching their parent’s words and behavior. The younger they are, the more cues they take from you. Before you lash out or blow your top in front of your child, think about this: Is that how you want your child to behave when angry? Be aware that you’re constantly being watched by your kids. Studies have shown that children who hit usually have a role model for aggression and acting out at home. Using physical discipline teaches children that it is sometimes ok to hit. In adulthood, this would never be acceptable. So why is it in childhood?

Model all the traits you want to see in your kids: respect, friendliness, honesty, kindness, tolerance. Exhibit unselfish behavior yourself. Do many things for other people without expecting a reward back. Express thanks and thankfulness and offer many compliments. Above all, follow the golden rule, treat your kids the way you expect other people to treat you.

father talking to his child

Show That Your Love Is Unconditional

As a parent, you’re the one responsible for correcting and guiding your children. But how you express your corrective and guidance makes all the difference in the world in how a child receives it.

When you have to confront your child, avoid blaming, criticizing, or fault-finding, which undermine self-esteem and can lead to resentment. Instead, strive to nurture and encourage, even when disciplining your kids. Make sure they know that although you want and expect better next time, your love is there no matter what.

It’s not easy to be a parent but it sure is rewarding. Our children will reflect on ourselves so we need to present our best selves to them. We need to spend time with them and guide them. But as we see the rewards of our children turning into kind, caring and responsible adults we will continue the daily work of raising them with confidence

Portrait of young woman carrying daughter in field