Being a mom or dad is undoubtedly a rewarding experience and to ensure that we do the right thing, most of the time, anyway, it is only natural to dig into parenting books for wisdom and tips.
However, life rarely happens by the book and parenting is no exception. We often end up reacting by the seat of our pants and have to rely more on instinct than anything else. And about a 100 times a day, we wonder, “Why did no one warn me of this?”
You will read parenting articles that tell you what you should and shouldn’t do. For example, staying at home with your child is the right thing to do. If you feel guilty about having to go to work, your child will quickly pick up on this and manipulate you. So take advice with a generous pinch of salt. Yes, the advice will pour in, along with criticism. Let your child know you are on her side by thanking the giver and letting it go.
Parenting styles are all very well. They’re just a reference point. They simply help you redefine your own role as a parent, so don’t fall into the “style” trap. The phrase perfect parent is a matter of perspective.
Here are 20 Parenting Rules That the Books Won’t Tell You!
- Only commit to what you are sure of doing. Even if there’s a genuine reason for cancelling that party/going to the zoo/visiting the waterpark/fill in the blank – there’s no way to make a child understand. They zone out of the why and just hear the "can't"!
- Wear white at your own risk. It won’t stay white for more than two seconds, if that!
- Your children will always, always, always, find the exact things you hide from them. Never underestimate their superpowers, even if you’re supermommy or superdad!
- >Your most effective weapons will be making empty threats and bribery. Do not believe anyone who says it is wrong. They’re being total hypocrites.
- Childproofing is an ongoing job. It never ends because you discover that nothing is truly childproof.
- When you say something uncomplimentary about someone in your child’s presence, you can rely on them to make it public. Much sooner than you think.
- Stock up on Band-Aids. And carry a bunch in your bag. You’ll need them when they’re hurt and even when they are not, but believe they are. Sometimes they lovingly insist you put one on too – and you will.
- Be suspicious, very suspicious when your child has been quiet for more than a minute. They’re definitely up to mischief.
- Forget spending on expensive outings and things when your children are toddlers. They won’t remember a thing later and even insist it never happened. Do take them out to the park and other places – but don’t go overboard spending!
- It is absolutely okay to say “no”. And no, that doesn’t make you a bad parent. It is the best way to teach them the concept of give and take in any relationship. Also, as they grow up, there will be instances when others will say no. Practice the two-letter word early, and you’ll be raising better individuals in the long run and be thanking yourself.
Keep a pad and pen in an accessible place where you can write down all the endearing things they say. I used to do that at my Mom’s insistence because imagine how tragic when, years down the line, you want to remember, you can’t. Yes, I started a journal. And lost it the second day. So I solved the problem by keeping a big container in the kitchen. Wrote the things I wanted to remember on bits of paper and dropped them in it. Seeing it fill up often kept my sanity.
- Don’t feel guilty about wanting a break from your child. She will survive, often quite happily. In fact, she’ll even actually enjoy the experience even though she’ll momentarily sulk when you notice. You can always cuddle and make up!
- Making mistakes as a parent is acceptable, especially in your children’s presence. Let them see that mistakes are learning points and scope for improvement. It is a great way to get them started with problem solving.
- Go ahead and have a good cry when you feel emotionally and physically exhausted. Don’t bottle it inside. Crying does not mean you are weak.
- Teach your children the importance of taking a break when you are stressed by taking time off from them. Let them occupy themselves with crayons/ books/ toys/ blocks while you watch your favorite soap on TV or just take a power nap.
- Stock up on school supplies like spare notebooks, coloring pencils, craft supplies, map outlines, pens, and other things you can think of. Your child will remember after you’ve gone to bed that tomorrow is the last day to submit that project. Same goes for spare fancy dress costumes.
- Your children will always have the most important, and urgent things to say or a potty call when you are on the phone. So make sure your kids are happily busy when you take that call.
- You carry a change of clothes for your child, right? Pack one for yourself as well. When they’re just past potty training, it seems like their life goal is to check out every washroom when you go out. They’ll get messy and yes, so will you.
Don’t forget to have fun. Enjoy your parenthood!Got a tip to add? We’d love to hear your parenting tips in the comments!
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