Being Women

Is Parenting Challenging? 5 Do’s and Dont’s To Follow

Sharanya, a parent coach shares a few tips on parenting

Parenting is a wondrous opportunity to raise a human to his/her fullest potential. With a little bit of mindfulness and positive intent, we can raise kind and capable individuals while also building a loving and supportive bond with them. Here are a few dos and don’ts that can make your journey of parenting more fulfilling and less challenging.

The Do’s of Parenting

1. Respect them

Respect is key when it comes to building and maintaining ANY relationship. The same is true for a parent-child relationship as well. Our children, no matter how small, are independent beings who deserve to be treated with respect. Remember, how you treat them today sets the base for ALL their future relationships as well. Children learn so much simply from observation and experience. The more respect you give them, the more they learn to give too!

2. Respond, not react.

The Human Brain is modelled such that in any stressful situation, the primitive fight-flight-freeze part of our brain, takes control of what we say and do. As a result, we often end up Unconsciously REACTING to situations rather than Consciously RESPONDING to them in a thoughtful manner. When we REACT, we are losing an opportunity to connect with our children and direct them more positively.

Remember to take a deep breath anytime you feel that your child is triggering you. Take some time off if needed, and then continue the conversation with your child when you are ready to respond in a conscious manner.

3. Be a Role Model

Parents are the earliest role models for children. In fact, what they observe and learn from parents in the early years, builds strong neural pathways in children’s brains and ultimately becomes their belief system. Whenever you find yourself questioning your child’s behaviour, take a pause and reflect on whether you have been modelling the same in some way. 

The simple mantra is – Raise Yourselves before you can Raise your Children.

4. Love Unconditionally

Love your child through tantrums and emotional upheavals. Always remember to communicate to your child that your love is not conditional. Be their emotional anchor even when you are correcting them. This creates a secure attachment bond with them, which increases the trust they have in you and your words. As a result, the greater faith they have in your love, the easier it is for you to guide them and be their confidante in life, and the more your corrections will work.

5. Loving Limits

Limits and boundaries are very important for children. Their upper brain is not fully developed well into their twenties. Hence parents often have to redirect them towards logical, empathetic thinking from emotional, irrational thoughts. Thus, limits are healthy for them. However, what’s key is that limits are enforced in a loving and empathetic manner.

Instead of dictating what needs to be followed, sit down with them, have respectful conversations and brainstorm how to address their concerns while adhering to limits. While it may initially seem like a long process, the more you practice this with your child, the more this will become the ‘regular’ way to go for your family with lesser and lesser resistance from the kids.

The Don’t’s

1. Don’t Blame, Compare & Criticise

Blame, comparison and negative criticism are often our go-to reactions during conflicts in any relationship. But remember, blaming your child or criticising them harshly while comparing them with peers could not only hamper the bond you have with them but also severely damage their self-esteem. For any mistake, have a solution-oriented, forward-looking conversation instead of looking into the why’s and who’s of the mistake. Show the child how to correct the situation without making them feel miserable about it. For instance – “Did you spill the milk again?!” vs “The milk is spilt, could you help to clean it up?”

2. Don’t Praise Only the Results

Never praise your child only when they achieve something. Always remember, praise must be given continuously for the efforts put in and not for the final results. When you praise your child for their effort they will value themselves and feel motivated to perform each time.

Here is a word of caution though, always make sure your praise is genuine and use specific words instead of generic ones.

3. Don’t Label

Labels are extremely dangerous for our children. Parents often unknowingly use labels such as shy, naughty, problematic etc for children. When children repeatedly listen to these words, it ultimately shapes their belief about who they are!

For instance, when a child constantly hears ‘You are good for nothing’ that is what they begin to believe about themselves, and they are no longer motivated to try more. Similarly constant positive labelling too such as ‘she is an excellent singer’ could put your child through immense pressure and make them feel demotivated when they can’t sing to your satisfaction.

Always remember to describe a situation rather than label the personality of the child. For instance, ‘You sang very well today’ instead of ‘You are an excellent singer’.

4. Don’t curb their agency

Allowing children to be independent is key to their brain development. The more they think and take decisions for themselves, the more their upper brain develops. Allow children to take decisions and let them face the consequences as well. Of course, let them know that you have their backs when needed. Letting them take charge of their lives boosts their self-esteem and works wonders for your bond as well because they see that you trust them!

5. Don’t Punish

Traditional methods of correction such as punishments are very counter-productive to the goals that parents usually have in mind. Parents resort to punishment mistaking that it will improve the child’s behaviour. Unfortunately, punishment only pushes the child towards resentment and anger and completely removes their focus from self-improvement.

Instead, always resort to positive methods of correction using dialogue and discussions with respect and empathy.


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