The Secrets of Remarkable Parents



Remarkable Parents??  Is there such a thing, or are we all just doing our best and hopefully our kids come out the other end reasonably functional having survived us despite our best intentions… lol!!

So whether these are “secrets” or not is debatable, but here are some commonly well regarded positive parenting practices and attitudes that can help us be our best, so our children survive us and maybe even thrive into adulthood.

Kids will be kids, be realistic

Occasionally they will run back and forth across your bed singing “I’m a mushroom, I’m a mushroom” (maybe that’s just our kids, and if they’re a teenager that could be a problem?).  Children need to be silly and make mistakes in order to learn.  In fact believe it  or not, by their nature they are immature.  We can’t make kids mature any more than we can make a tree grow faster.  It happens over a long period of time, often ending in their 20’s.  I’d say, if a child is never silly and never makes mistakes then that would be more of a concern.

Be aware of developmental stages

“Is their behaviour right now normal?”  This is actually a really good thing to understand and relatively easy to get information on.  You can simply type in “6 year old development stage” for example, to your web browser of choice, or look up the School Mum web page as we have started doing a number of articles on different age groups.  When you know what is normal for your child’s age it is much easier to understand them and their behaviour and needs.  You might even breathe a sigh of relief occasionally!

Understand your child’s unique personality and temperament

Every parent you have ever met says at one stage or another “I can’t believe they’re so different”.  Miss 8 loves being in photo’s in fact she often goes over the top in her poses, however miss 6 does not like being in photos and will need a few minutes warning if we want her to be in a family shot.  She is not being difficult she just doesn’t like being the centre of attention however  it took us a while to understand that.  Sometimes a child’s behaviour is not difficult as such, it’s just coming out of their unique needs that might be different to others.  Also sometimes they might just be being a brat, that happens too.  The trick is to be able to tell the difference.


Let them play

Play allows them to explore the world and their relationships with others, especially when it is unstructured.  It encourages them to use their imagination and make decisions instead of having them made for them.  Try and leave them at least 30 minutes a day of unstructured play time, outside and away from screens where no-one or nothing else is doing the thinking for them.  Be warned, if they are playing with their siblings arguments will ensue but this is all part of the process, within reason.

Skillful communication

One of the best quotes regarding communication is “you have two ears and one mouth, listen twice as much as you talk”.   Also know when to talk and when to listen.   Often your kids will not understand or disagree with a decision you have made.  Be available and be prepared to explain why you have certain rules or make certain decisions.

Communication is not just about talking, but about listening and acknowledging your child’s feelings as valid, even if they don’t make sense at the time e.g. “I can understand why your little sister made you upset”, even though sometimes you just want to say “get over it and stop being silly!”.  We’re all guilty of it from time to time.

Also ask and respect their opinion.  Asking your child what they think about an important issue or discussion is a very powerful way of communicating to them that they are valued and taken seriously.

Make setting rules and boundaries a joint project

Every family needs rules and boundaries and often kids can respond better to these if they are part of the process of making them and putting them into place.  This can also go as far as letting them help decide on what any consequences should be.  Often they will know when they have crossed a boundary so let them participate in deciding on the consequence instead of just having it imposed on them.  They are more likely to understand and see the fairness of the process, even if they still don’t like it.

Get a life

Don’t be defined by your kids, they don’t need that kind of pressure!!  Nurture your friendships, passions and hobbies, your child can’t meet your emotional needs.  Think about how much you are defined by your child’s successes or failures.  Is everything you’re doing for them about their needs or your needs?  If it is about your needs then how is that influencing the different expectations and pressure you put onto your kids?

Actions are more valuable than words

In the long term kids will follow what you “do” more than what you will “say”.  Manage your stress and demonstrate to your kids how to manage theirs.  How you argue, disagree or resolve conflict with your partner teaches your kids how to deal with their own conflicts.  This is the same for a number of different things, the time and attention you give to your kids, the way you treat other people, how much time you spend on your smart phone, to name a few.

Shape your child’s heart, not their behaviour

As an upper primary school teacher I have an extra rule that I encourage in our classroom.  It is “be good to each other”.  Hopefully this encourages a state of mind towards each other not just a set of behaviours.  In the words of “Google”, after years of intensive analysis, they discovered the key to good teamwork is being nice.

There are no guarantees but its always good to be reminded of some things working for others. 



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