Stepping out on the Parenting journey can initially seem daunting. You find yourself wishing there had been more taught at school on the subject. There is lots of support around, so please don’t be anxious. Below, you’ll find some parenting steps that may help.

1) MAKE TIME for your child. This might sound obvious, but there are often conflicting demands on our time and sometimes it is difficult to prioritise. You may be tempted to find alternative ways to occupy the children such as putting them in front of the TV watching a DVD or playing a computer game. However, there is no substitute for giving them your own time – it costs nothing, but is worth the world to them.

2) BE CONSISTENT in how you parent your child. If your child does something that is wrong, make sure they understand it is wrong and why it is. If they do the same thing again, tell them there will be a consequence eg (sit on the naughty step, go to their room, however you feel you should deal with it). If they still don’t get the message – carry out your threat. Don’t back down! They need to know you mean what you say. They need to trust your word.

3) ALWAYS PRAISE your child when they have achieved, or done something that pleases you. It is far more productive to emphasise the positives in a child’s behaviour than to dwell on the negatives. Giving a child a pat on the back does wonders for their self esteem and helps build their confidence. Think about it, most of us like to be praised if we have done a good job!

4) LOVE YOUR CHILD unconditionally. It’s sometimes really hard to tell them you love them when they have spent the whole day seemingly winding you up. If you’ve had a bad day, the chances are that you have lost your temper a bit with them. Come the end of the day, it’s really important that your child is reassured that you do love them. Tell them that you are unhappy with how they have behaved – and explain why – but that you will always love them.

5) GIVE YOUR CHILD A SENSE OF IDENTITY – an understanding of who they are. It is important for your child to know they have a special place in your family – and extended family. Your child needs to know they are valued and that they belong in a loving family. (This can be even more important if parents are estranged and families are therefore separated.)

Parenting is made simpler by adhering to basic strategies, although it can require a lot of patience at times. Your child needs to feel safe, loved and valued. Yes they will push the boundaries but stick by them, they help them feel secure. As they grow older you and they will hopefully have a very unique and special relationship for many years to come.

Maggie Thorpe has a specific interest in the subject of parenting. More Parenting information can be found at her website

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