Parenting is a challenging, yet rewarding role that many adults take on lovingly. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau indicates that there were 73.7 million children under age 18 living in families in 2016. Canadian Census results found roughly 5.8 million children living in private households with parents in 2016, the most recent year for data.
Parenting is a hard job that evolves as children age, and moms and dads may wonder if there is anything they can do to be better parents. Raising successful, happy and well-rounded children takes effort, and the following tips may help parents along the way.
Take care of yourself
It's hard for parents to serve as good role models for their children if they aren't taking care of themselves. A little self-reflection and some positive changes can help parents set strong examples for their youngsters.
Beware of comparisons
Parents often wonder what they may be doing wrong, especially when they see other children meeting milestones that their children may not be achieving. According to Harvey Karp, MD, author of "The Happiest Toddler," babies develop rapidly and each child is unique. One set of abilities is bound to develop faster than another, Karp says. Making comparisons between children, whether it's with youngsters' siblings or friends, can be a recipe for conflict and self-doubt. Speak with a pediatrician if you have concerns about development.
Be an active listener
Being an attentive parent includes listening to youngsters. Encourage kids to share their points of view on activities or topics they feel are important. That can reassure children they know they can come to you without fear of reprisal, even when they may have been out of line. This strengthens the bond between parents and their children.
Explain you are human, too
Sometimes children need to see that their parents are not perfect to realize they needn't be perfect either. The website Aha Parenting! recommends parents apologize when they are wrong and use such instances to teach kids that adults are human, too.
These are just a few of the many steps parents can take to form strong bonds with their children and be the best parents possible.