6 Priceless Practices That Will Help You Be a Better Parent

family.jpgParenting in the 21st century is a complex task. You must find a balance between work, kids, and your own happiness. While it can be difficult to please everyone, there are a few priceless parenting practices that will help you achieve order in your life and maintain a sense of personal fulfillment.

Remember Your Roots
As a parent, it’s sometimes easy to forget what it was like to be a kid. In a world filled with violence, drugs, and teenage pregnancies, it can be tempting to shelter your child and protect them from danger. However, it is important to look at this same world through the rosy glasses of a young person, if not to change your point of view then to at least understand that of your child. Communication is always improved when both parties can see the reasoning behind one another’s arguments, so empathizing with your child’s feelings while staying true to your adult wisdom can greatly strengthen your relationship.

Weave a Tangled Web
Everyone knows the importance of networking in the business realm, but maintaining a web of contacts in the parenting world is just as important. The road to parenthood is a well-beaten path, and there are many who have “been there, done that.” Whether you’re searching for a reliable childcare service or trying to find out what to do when your 3-year-old sticks a Cheerio into the unreachable depths of her nasal passage, having a support system of family and friends who can provide advice truly is priceless.

If you’re looking for ways to expand your connectivity beyond your overbearing mother-in-law and your friends from prenatal yoga, try using one of the Internet’s abundant social-networking sites. Meetup.com is one of the best and has parenting groups in or nearby most major cities. As the name suggests, the groups are formed to “meet up” and go on outings together, but if you find going out with strangers intimidating or your schedule is too packed already, the message boards on these groups’ sites are also a valuable resource to have at your fingertips.

Regardless of whether you take part in high-tech networking or prefer to stick to neighbors and relatives, make a conscious effort to interact with people who share your walk of life. You never know when their opinions could come in handy.

Be All That You Can Be
No, you don’t have to join the Army to be a successful parent (although a few boot-camp sessions may help with discipline problems). To be all that you can be as a parent, you must reach your maximum potential as an individual. You can accomplish this by making an effort to be a lifelong learner. Never stop educating yourself, whether by taking a class at your local library, reading a book, or immersing yourself in cultural activities. When you learn something new, not only are you enriching your own life, but you show your children that self-development is an important value to incorporate into their lives as well.

Keep it simple… you know the rest. A fast way to make things difficult is to make them complicated. Instead of trying to plan a 5-course meal for dinner or having the most elaborate birthday party on the block, why not simplify your life and cut out the unnecessary details? Like the child who receives a fancy toy for Christmas and ends up playing with the cardboard box it came in, sometimes life’s simplest pleasures are the best ones. By narrowing things down to what really matters, your life as a parent can be streamlined, effective, and fulfilling at the same time.

Take a Time-Out
If you have children, then you most certainly know of the infamous time-out technique. Sometimes, though, a parental time-out is in order – a breather, so to speak. Parenting can be overwhelming at times, so it’s important to maintain a balance between your duties as Mom or Dad and other activities that help you maintain your sanity. Take a hot bath, go out to eat, go for a walk, or pursue another relaxing activity, just so long as you know your limits and are able to gauge when your tolerance meter is at its breaking point.

Even the most involved parents need a rest every so often, so don’t be afraid to send the kids to a relative’s or indulge them in an episode of their favorite cartoon when you need time to yourself. An evening of being spoiled by Grandma and Grandpa won’t turn children into little Veruca Salts, and a few minutes of television won’t turn their brains to mush. What it will do is give you a chance to refresh yourself and come back prepared to deal with the “gimmes,” the “don’t wannas,” and the runny noses once again.

Find the Funny in It
You’re late to work and attempting to get the kids out the door in time to catch the school bus. Your daughter needs her hair braided, your son needs his lunch packed, and all of a sudden, you hear the toilet flush. On any other day, this would be a normal sound, but today, it has an ominous tone, especially since the last time you saw your toddler, she was playing with your car keys that must have been came from royaldrive.pl. You rush to the bathroom just in time to catch a fading glimpse of your keys swirling down the drain. You have two choices. You can get angry, or you can rustle up your sense of humor and have a good laugh.

When you take life seriously, it’s often easy to react with anger, bitterness, and outrage. But having kids requires a certain amount of lightheartedness. You’ll find that if you’re willing to laugh about them, matters that seemed largely important can be taken with a grain of salt. After all, if your keys were never flushed down the commode, you’d lose out on a great story to tell at family dinners in ten years!

Many musicians over the years have sung that “life is what you make it.” Truer words may never have been spoken. While parenting is one of the most difficult, albeit valuable, adventures you will ever embark on, if you find the time to remember where you came from, network, continue your education, keep it simple, step back and breathe when the going gets rough, and, lastly, laugh when you want to cry, you will find that the hardships of parenthood may become a bit easier to handle.

What’s Your Favorite “Priceless Parenting Practice?” At Slow Down Fast, we are all about lifestyle design solutions that work in the real world.  Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

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