Thank you to Aradhana for the following guest post.

parenting priorities

The cold winter blues have almost come to an end, bringing us to embrace the wonders of spring! Parents know well that with each passing season, it’s not just the weather and the surroundings that change. You also see your child grow and notice his behavior change. What was once his absolute favorite toy no longer features in his list of prized possessions. When it was once easy to get your little angel to adhere to your rules, your repeated attempts to discipline him now go futile. Well, the season of spring is synonymous with cleaning up the junk and bringing forth a fresh start. You are all set to brace it with new hopes, aspirations and positive resolutions. What better time is there for some self introspection? Here are 8 crucial questions you as a parent must ask yourself this season:

  1.       What Style Of Parenting Do I Follow?

How you parent your child today will eventually determine his future tomorrow. Sure, there are other factors such as education, environment and genetics, that can influence your child’s code of conduct, but the central force will always remain good parenting. There are 4 key styles of parenting which can deeply impact your child’s upbringing either positively or negatively. Autocratic parents are those who pay little heed to the child’s needs and are extremely demanding in their approach.  At the other end of the spectrum lie the indulgent parents who cross all limits trying to keep their child happy, even if he puts forth unreasonable demands. Uninvolved parents are negligent and lack basic knowledge about the child’s interests, needs and surroundings. The most ideal parents are the authoritative ones who strike the right balance between setting rules and giving the child the freedom he needs.

  1.       Where Should I Draw The Line?

How much is too much? It is important for parents to be able to identify where to draw the line with their children. “Is my kid watching too much TV?”, “Has he been out playing too long”? “Has he slept enough?”Answers to these questions will come only when you set clear boundaries and rules for your child to follow. Without a proper timetable, your kid will never get used to structure and may go overboard with things that aren’t necessarily good for his personal development and health. So, if you haven’t already, make a daily schedule for your little kid.

  1.       What Is The Most Challenging Thing For Me As A Parent?

Parenting is anything but a cakewalk. In your journey as a parent, you are bound to face several challenges. Some challenges are easy to deal with, but the others, you struggle to cope with. To be able to overcome any major challenge, you need to be clear on two things – the root cause of the challenge and the unrest caused by it. Once you have that identified, it is not too hard being able to pin down the possible solutions to better the situation and make permanent positive changes. 

  1.       What Are My Parenting Priorities?

As much as we wish, there’s no handy rulebook to parenting. We mostly learn things in the due course of time as and when situations arise. Having said that, it is still better to work backwards. If you have identified a list of priorities that you want to address, you will mould your own and your child’s behavior accordingly. For example, if the priority is to teach your child the importance of good manners, you will consciously say words like “please” and “thank you” around him. You will also refrain from losing your temper in front of him.

  1.       Am I Able To Spend Enough Time With My Kids?

If you are a working parent, you definitely understand the sacrifices that need to be made to balance time between work and family. However, unlike work, parenting does not entitle you to any weekly holidays. You are a parent all 365 days in a year. Ensure that you set aside at least an hour each day to spend with your child and indulge in his favourite activity, whether it’s a board game or a bedtime story session. Try to avoid bringing the heavy work load back home and offer undivided attention to your child when he needs it.

  1.       What Are The Biggest Changes I Need To Make In My Parenting Habits?

A wise man once said – “Nobody’s perfect”! Even if you try the best you can, you are still bound to make mistakes. Think about the time when you compared your darling child to the neighbor’s son. Or the time when you turned a deaf ear to his requirements. You think you did the right thing? Probably not! Make a list of what you believe are the positives and negatives in your parenting habits and evaluate their consequences. 

  1.       Am I A Good Listener?

Your duty as a good parent doesn’t end merely at giving disciplinary sermons to your child. It needs a great deal of undisturbed listening, too. Make sure you encourage your child to open up about his feelings and problems and quietly listen to him pour his heart out to you. Not only will this make your child feel secure but will also give you clues into your child’s life and whether or not everything is going right. 

  1.       Do I Require Additional Assistance?

Has your child been unusually quiet? Have you seen a drastic change in his behavior off late? If despite your repeated attempts of asking him if things are okay, the problem still persists, get an expert opinion. Don’t get into a false sense of security thinking it’s “just a phase”. There are many useful inputs a certified child counselor or a pediatrician can provide that may reveal truths you were not privy to.

Parenting is a journey full of highs, lows and immense amount of learning. There may be times you may feel like you’re failing in your duty. The truth of the matter is that none of us are born perfect and it’s okay to make mistakes. What is important is how well we learn from those mistakes and build an enriching life for our children and ourselves!

 What are some of your parenting priorities?

About the Author

I am Aradhana. I am a passionate writer and love to write on topics like parenting, wellness, health and lifestyle. I believe good health is the key to success and happiness. I am a contributor for natural news, elephant journal, naturally savvy and MomJunction. Through my writings, I want to motivate people to develop healthy habits and adopt natural ways of living to achieve sound health.