Having confidence in your self as a parent is easier said than done. It is natural for parents to worry if they are doing all they should for their child. After all, this is the most important job in your life, and no one has prepared you for it.
The advice from “experts” and family members or friends may do more to create confusion and doubt than to help. Nevertheless, parents do have within them the necessary resources to help their children grow to be happy, healthy, responsible adults.
Here are a few tips to build your confidence as a parent:
• Each parent has different strengths and different weaknesses. If you are a very caring parent already, you may find that you need to spend most of your effort learning how to be strong and set limits. If you are a very strong person, you may need to practice being understanding and sending messages of love.
• Just as with parents, each child has different strengths and different weaknesses. You may have one child who craves excitement. You may have one who loves to be cuddled. The differences between children make parenting exciting but also challenging. We must work at understanding each child and his or her unique abilities and needs.
• Be sure you are keeping yourself strong. Are you eating well? Do you regularly get some exercise or relaxation? Make time in your schedule to keep yourself physically fit. For child care, you might take turns with a friend. Today you watch her children for an hour or two while she takes a break. Tomorrow she watches yours while you take a break.
• Get outside yourself. Sometimes we worry so much about our problems that we can’t see anything else. It may help to take some cookies to the neighbor, to volunteer some time for a church or community group. You don’t need a lot of extra demands. But taking a little time to help others can bring peace and satisfaction.
• Anticipate problems and solve them. Deal with them. For example, maybe your toddler loves to play with the stereo, and that bothers you. Put the stereo up out of reach. Put interesting and safe toys where the children can play with them. Baby-proof your home. Make a special play area for your children. Prevent the troubles that drive you crazy by planning ahead.
Parenting is hard. But as you develop confidence in your parenting skills and see your children develop into fine people, you will know that it was worth all the effort!
For more information, contact Kim Reid, Extension Agent with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service at (910) 592-7161.