Parenting can be one of the most rewarding yet trying experiences of your life. No one enters parenthood knowing exactly how to tackle everything that comes their way; even experienced parents continue learning every day. But if you want to become the best possible parent you can be, there are some easy-to-understand steps you can take that could make all the difference in their children’s development.

Make Sure You’re Modeling

As a parent, one of your most essential duties is modeling positive behaviors for your children. Children don’t fool themselves; they watch everything you do closely. So if you tell your kids to be honest and follow rules but consistently break them or lie to people instead, they won’t take that as gospel. Or if you say they should respect others but then snap at a coworker in front of your kids they won’t think it is okay either.

All One Family

Kids need to know they’re valued as part of the family unit, and you can show this by embracing, holding hands or kissing them on the cheek regularly – whether that be over an after school snack, playing outside in the sun or cuddling close before bedtime.

Quality Time

Parents frequently claim they need to spend more quality time with their kids. But this phrasing can be misleading since it implies there’s some indefinable definition of “quality time” out there that you haven’t yet located, or that certain days you are better at paying attention, listening, and being open with them than others.

Boundaries are Important

Setting boundaries and being firm with your kids, even when it is difficult, is also crucial. Sometimes that means saying no – whether to an unsupervised party or late bedtime. Saying no may be especially hard when your teen is angry with you; remember that their anger could be indicative of anxiety or sadness beneath their surface. Be consistent and fair as a parent and you’ll reap the rewards in terms of trust and cooperation from their future self.

Last but not least, take care of yourself! Being a calm and patient parent requires being free of anxiety or stress; so try setting aside some time each day (or at least weekly) just for you – doing something fun or relaxing will have a dramatic effect on how you interact with your kids!

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