10 Parenting Tips

Or, how to successfully navigate through the complexities of family life.

  1. Let children know you love them even when you are unhappy with their behavior. Loving is more than feelings-it’s a commitment. It is important to give children a general sense of security and the knowledge that you will be there when they need you.
  2. Don’t be frightened when you have angry feelings toward your children. It is normal–every parent has them. Just remember that having angry feelings is not the same as acting on them.
  3. Allow children to make mistakes. Children, like adults, sometimes learn more quickly through trial and error. Of course, you need to keep children safe. Do let children know that you are there for advice and help when needed, and that even if they make a mistake, your love will be just as strong.
  4. Enjoy family meals together. Involve children in getting the evening meal ready. Even young children can set the table. Make the evening meal a family time when the day’s events can be discussed, even if it is only once or twice a week.
  5. Keep things in perspective. Maintain your sense of humor to help ease tension. Remember the things you did as a child that irritated your parents. Remember that you are only human and cannot always be “Super mom or dad.”
  6. Remember that your family belongs to all of its members, including you. It’s healthy and necessary for parents to have their own space, free time, opinions, friends and activities. Children feel more secure and less pressured when family life doesn’t revolve solely around them. An important part of growing up is the gradual recognition that they are not the center of the world-in school, with friends, and later on, in their jobs and community.
  7. Put a high priority on building and maintaining a close, healthy relationship with your spouse or significant other. This is not easy when you have children. Try to arrange regular dates together, occasional weekends or vacations without the children, and make a special effort to be tender and understanding. A good relationship is a resource for you. If you are happy in your relationship, you are more likely to be a happy parent.
  8. Take care of yourself. You have a demanding job that is physically and emotionally draining. You need to maintain your health, get enough sleep and eat well so you will be strong enough to handle it. Watch for signs of stress such as nervousness, exhaustion, irritability, frequent headaches or upset stomach. When you feel those times coming on, be kind to yourself. Get a babysitter, take a nap, get some exercise, go to a movie, soak in a bubble bath or read a good book.
  9. Avoid drug and alcohol abuse. They only give the false impression that you are escaping your problems. In reality, the problems continue and probably get worse.
  10. Realize that you don’t have to “go it alone.” Keep up your friendships. Bring other adults into your life and your confidence. Find friends in your neighborhood, church, special interest groups or parent groups. Get help if you ever think you are in a situation you can’t handle.

For help in Contra Costa County, California, contact:

  • Family Stress Center  East Contra Costa County: 925-706-8477 
  • Contra Costa Crisis Center www.crisis-center.org 24-hour Crisis Line: 800-833-2900
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