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10 lessons for smarter parenting

All moms could use some sound advice at times — or at least some quick hacks to help you deal with daily parenting challenges. Here are 10 bits of wisdom to help you along through this journey we call parenthood. 

  1. Identify your child’s strengths and focus on these rather than her weaknesses. Recognizing and reinforcing what children are good at gives them the self-esteem and confidence to tackle difficult tasks and help them reach their full potential. 
  2. Don’t make comparisons, either between you and another parent or between your child and someone else’s — or a sibling. Celebrate and encourage what is unique about your child, and look to other parents only to learn from them. 
  3. Keep a close eye on your child’s online activities and behavior and set rules for use of their devices, with consequences for abuse. 
  4. It’s OK and understandable to be nervous when discussing difficult topics — a loved one dying, the birds and the bees, drugs and alcohol, etc., — but don’t avoid these conversations out of fear. Stay calm — you can do this! 
  5. You don’t have to be an expert on everything. Know where to turn for information and answers you don’t have; websites, peer support groups and a wealth of other resources are available to help you. Every mom feels overwhelmed sometimes, so give yourself permission to ask for help when you need it. 
  6. Smart parenting is a balance between being overly strict and too permissive. Strive to instill respect, not fear. 
  7. Always consider the message you’re sending and the example you’re setting. Whether you realize it or not, your kids are watching, and you are a role model. Make sure you are modeling unconditional love and are showing them you believe in them and are on their side, even when you disagree. 
  8. It can be tempting to micromanage as a parent, but being overprotective is a detriment to your child’s development. Children’s independence and confidence in their abilities comes from the freedom to succeed and fail on their own and learn from those experiences. 
  9. Telling is not teaching. You can say the same thing repeatedly, but your words may not sink in unless your child grasps the “why” behind them and the possible consequences of not listening. Make sure you explain your reasoning in a way they understand. 
  10. Create routines and set boundaries. Having structure in their day and knowing the limits will help children feel secure and be aware of your expectations. 

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