15 Effective Parenting Skills Every Parent Should Know & Have
Maintaining strong parenting skills is crucial to become a better mother or father. Every parent wants their kids to unlock their potential, feel happy, and grow up to achieve their dreams and be a valued member of society.
With the plethora of information out there, parents spend hours sifting through blogs, parenting tips, and personal accounts about how to raise their children.
While this can be informative, it is also time consuming and confusing. Each expert seems to have their own unique approach toward unlocking one’s parenting strengths.
Because of this, good natured individuals become stressed about becoming the perfect parent. Nonetheless, successful parents share a few skills that can be replicated by nearly anyone.
In this article, we will simplify these key strategies and offer ways you can apply these tips into your daily parenting.
What are Parenting Skills?
In general, parenting skills are the characteristics and abilities that allow you to care for your child and be an effective parent. These are any abilities that help you ensure you child grows up healthy and happy.
They deal with giving your child enough attention, helping them grow, educating them, inspiring them, and so on. Every parent has their own list of parenting strengths.
These count as parenting related skills. When you apply your other strengths, such as career strengths, to your parenting, these strengths become parenting skills.
For instance, if you are resilient at work, you could apply this resilience to your parenting. It is then used for the benefit of your child and is therefore a parenting strength.
15 Skills That Good Parents Have
Every parent has their own unique skill set. Building any positive skill will benefit you as a parent.
There are a few in particular, though, that have proven to make a big difference to the relationship between you and your kids.
In particular, parenting experts recognize these skills as must-haves for parents:
1. Put an emphasis on your child’s healthy behavior instead of their bad behavior
Experts agree: parents should focus on their child’s positive behavior instead of scolding them for their bad behavior.
In fact, scolding and reprimanding only leads to more of the bad behavior occurring. It is counterintuitive, but true.
If a child is constantly scolded, they begin to believe they are inherently bad, abnormal individuals. Their misbehavior becomes a part of their identity and an engrained habit.
As such, they become demotivated and do not wish to change the behavior.
Instead of setting a child up for this path, recognize their good behaviors. Over time, your child will internalize the idea that they are appreciated, recognized, and have strong positive qualities.
2. Help your child help others
Children feel fulfilled and happy when they help others. Unlike more selfish adults, kids actually enjoy giving sacrificially.
As adults, we become more self-centered and focus on our needs instead of those of other’s.
However, if we do stay away from selfishness, individuals become happier. The same is true with children.
If you want them to be happy, satisfied, and feel like they have made a difference in the world, introduce them to the power of giving. Involve them in volunteering and donating activities.
Success and happiness is rooted in contribution, not individual achievement.
3. Stop yelling at your kids
You probably instinctively know that yelling at your kids is not the best way to communicate with them. However, yelling is usually a knee jerk reaction to your child’s occasional annoyance.
Recent research has proven that yelling at kids has the opposite of the desired effect: it worsens their behavior. It makes children assume they are a naturally bad child.
Do your best to understand your kids. Help them create a reasonable plan to tackle their issues. To manage your anger, try to create action plans before your kids irritate you.
Take deep breaths, walk away when necessary, and avoid making any sort of threats.
4. Give kids chores and responsibilities
Dome of the most in depth, well researched studies prove chores truly benefit kids.
According to the Harvard Study of Adult Development, children who do more chores tend to be more resilient and happy. These benefits last for longer than just childhood.
Many important lessons are learned through chores. Kids become more responsible, develop a strong work ethic, cooperate, and develop a strong sense of duty.
Even the most successful parents recognize the benefit of assigning chores. Kids with chores in childhood tend to become more successful as adults.
5. Stay close to your spouse
While marriage may not seem directly linked with your parenting, it does play a key role with your relationship with the kids.
If you maintain a good relationship with your spouse and avoid conflict, your kids are more likely to be happy and successful
Healthy marriages lead to emotionally well adapted children. Having a true bond with your spouse will positively influence the children as well.
A few common relationship building tips include: agreeing on plans together, being kind to your spouse, not comparing your marriage to that of other’s, focusing on your partner’s strengths, and making time to talk to them daily.
6. Teach kids to love challenges and venture outside their comfort zone
Carol Dweck, a world-renowned psychologist, dedicated her career to researching how mindset plays a role in success.
One of her key findings was that those who challenge themselves and use a growth mindset are more likely to succeed.
Successful people look at challenges in a positive light. They understand that challenges, by their nature, will be tough. However, the growth that occurs from them is what truly matters.
Many successful people even find ways to make challenges fun. Less successful people may look for shortcuts or find ways to stay in their comfort zone. They make excuses for why they never take risks.
Both of these outlooks are developed during one’s early years (childhood and adolescence). Good parents influence their children’s views on challenges in a positive way.
7. Allow your children to be independent
Most parents recognize that independence and responsibility are beneficial qualities. However, many helicopter parenting pulls good natured adults in the wrong direction.
Instead of fostering independence in their kids, they supervise them at every moment. These authoritarian parents tend do things for their kids that the kids can do themselves.
Helicopter parenting can impair a child’s ability to focus and succeed in school. It also decreases their well being.
You can do this to avoid being a helicopter parent: let kids make age appropriate decisions, allow your kids to fail, do not overfocus on your kids, and let kids understand the consequences of their actions.
8. Help your kids establish social skills
Researcher Mark Greenberg and his team tracked 750 adolescents to see which skills correlated most with success.
They found that if the children were socially skilled as kindergartners, they were more likely to become confident as adults.
These results reveal just how crucial social skills are doing childhood. As a parent, try to help your kids develop these skills first:
- Conflict resolution
- Active listening
- Emotional management
- Respecting others, especially other’s differences
- Asking for help
- Giving feedback
- Complimenting others
9. Help and guide children, but do not micromanage them
Another acclaimed psychologist, Diana Baumrind, focused her career in the effects of certain parenting styles on children.
She categorized parenting techniques into three main styles: permissive parenting, authoritarian parenting, and authoritative parenting.
Permissive parents are overly lenient to their children’s needs. They give in to their every whim and believe the universe centers around their child. This is a common mistake parents make.
The lack of consistent rules can lead to chaos and an unbalanced parent/child relationship. Kids often become spoiled under this parenting type.
Authoritarian parents are the opposite. They are too strict and inflexible. In the long run, kids with authoritarian parents become secretive, rebellious, and resentful.
Authoritative parents are the most balanced of all the type. They love and acknowledge their children without being overly indulgent. They can be flexible, but also have reasonable and age appropriate rules.
Kids with this type of parent are the most likely to be successful later on in life. Strive to use this parenting style the most.
10. Ensure your children feel safe
Security early on in childhood correlates with children performing better in school. They are also more likely to have healthy relationships as they grow older.
Security can come from a number of sources. As a parent, you can boost a child’s sense of security by:
- Displaying affection toward them
- Saying you appreciate your child
- Respecting their child and listening to them
- Keeping your promise
- Setting consistent boundaries
- Give them your full attention when talking
- Remind your child you love them, no matter what
11. Encourage your children to be resilient
According to Dr. Angela Duckworth, a psychologist, states that perseverance for long term goals is the key to long term success.
In fact, grit has been proven to be a more marker for success than innate talent of IQ.
The specific ways you can use parenting abilities to help a child develop grit include:
- Letting them make mistakes
- Model resilience
- State that effort is more important than outcome
- Focus on contribution instead of achievement
- Teach them how to overcome challenges
- Encourage them to take manageable risks
12. Manage your stress so it does not effect your kids
You may not realize how much of an impact your stress has on your children. A study by Marilyn Essex found that stress has a direct relation on their child’s future .
This is exactly why you should try to manage your stress. Not only does it negatively impact you, but it is also bad news for your kids.
If you find yourself constantly stressed out, try to focus on tasks that make you happy. Find your passions and incorporate them into your daily life. Take deep breaths and distance yourself from conflicts.
You could also try meditating or journaling to relieve stress.
13. Be a good role model
You are your child’s first role model. Instead of listening to your words, though, they often imitate your actions. The latest research proves that children start copying your actions as early as age 3.
Do not let your children get exposed to potentially negative and detrimental habits. For instance, consider that many parents struggle with trying not to swear or participating in unselfish behavior.
However, realize that self control takes time and effort. If you slip up from time to time, that is alright. It should be expected.
But, ensure that your children understand you do not want them to replicate these behaviors and that you are working to reduce this behavior yourself.
14. Dedicate time to your kids
In today’s busy environment, making time for anyone is difficult. However, realize that these are your children. The real question is how to make time for those you truly love.
You do not have to spend all day with your kids to make them feel loved (if you are short on time).
In fact, spending a few hours with your kids, giving them undivided attention, would be better than being half present for the entire day. A few ways you can spend time with your kids are:
- Scheduling time weekly for one on one time with your child
- Play with them and be engaged in their stories
- If you have older children, take them with you in your errands
- Replace screen time family time outside
- Be present during important milestones
15. Set logical and age appropriate limits
Not all limits and rules are bad. Sometimes, they actually help kids become successful and learn about the difference between right and wrong.
Of course, there is a difference between being a perfectionist parent who never wants kids to question rules. Kids should understand why you set rules and the benefits of following them.
They should not simply follow rules “just because you said so.”
Positive behaviors are learned through rules. Without rules, kids can be unruly and breed bad behavior.
You may be met with negative emotions from your kids, but try to help them deal with these emotions instead of giving into their every whim. Dealing with “no” now will help them deal with challenges as adults.
Why are Parenting Skills Important?
Parenting skills are an important aspect of parenting and child development. These crucial skills help ensure you maintain a good relationship with your child.
Additionally, parenting abilities help your child learn the best behaviors from you. It makes you a figure the child will look up to and improves the child/parent relationship.
String parenting skills can help you gain self control as a parent. Even though you may be an imperfect parent, strong parenting skills prevent you from letting your bad habits take control of you.
The best parenting abilities help you stay focused on your parenting goals. This will help your child achieve success later on. They can learn to copy strengths from you as well.
In general, your parenting skills bring out the best of both you and your child. They can truly unite your child.
How to Measure Parenting Skills
The best way to measure your parenting abilities is to ask your child directly. Ask them if they feel heard and listened to.
Does your child believe you spend enough time with them? Do they understand why you have the rules you set?
These questions, among others, will all help determine which parenting skills are well developed and which need some attention.
If you change your parenting skills or develop new skills, try to notice if your child’s behavior changes. If it changes for the better, it is likely your new skills had a positive impact on the child.
You could also take a more in depth test that evaluates your skills.
For instance, the FRIENDS Protective Factors survey can measure your family resilience, support of your child, nurturing abilities, and knowledge of child developmental stages.
It is most often used in circumstances of neglect, but the survey is another tool that can help you evaluate your strengths and weaknesses as a parent.
Gaining insight from a spouse could also reveal crucial information about your parenting style. They can provide an adult’s viewpoint on your strengths and weaknesses.
Your spouse has prior experience as a child and can compare the strategies you use to those to his or her parents utilized.
Then, you can measure the differences and see if they are beneficial or negative differences.
How to Improve Parenting Skills
You can improve your parenting abilities in a number of ways. Firstly, you must listen to your kids. Make it a top priority to speak to them daily.
Ask them for feedback on your parenting so they feel heard and valued. When you spend time with them, give your children your complete attention.
Take their advice to heart, but also ensure you do so to a reasonable extent. Whenever your child opens up to you, be careful with what you say to them. Children are sensitive, so try to be honest while also gentle.
Your body language can also impact how a child interprets the message you tell them. Pay attention to your eye contact and body language for this reason.
Ensure your rules are specific. Do not stray away from these rules or give into your child’s every want. However, you should also be reasonable with these rules. They should be age appropriate.
Avoid turning into a helicopter parent. Becoming a micromanaging parent decreases your flexibility and openness, both key parenting traits.
Also, avoid setting unrealistic expectations for yourself. Developing parental skills takes time, effort, and feedback. Look to role models for how to teach your kids.
If you have a living mother or father, this is a great opportunity for parents. Ask your parents for the insights they learned about raising children. Apply them to your own life.
Parenting skills should be regularly reevaluated. Aim to do this at least every few months. However, yearly is the absolute minimum.
This is so because so much changes about a child during a month, let alone a year. Your parenting techniques should also adapt as the child grows and matures.
Parenting Skills Activities
There are a number of activities that can help you develop parenting skills. They do not have to be overly challenging or enduring. In fact, the following activities can be performed by nearly any parent.
3 Examples of Activities
1. Growing your relationship through communication
Throughout daily life, there are many opportunities to connect with your child. You can leverage everyday moments to effectively communicate and inspire them.
Whenever a child presents you with their art or something they built, complement them. If they write something, recognize their effort. The more specific the praise, the better it is for the child’s confidence.
Talk to them about their passions. Keep the conversation going and stay engaged. Ensure the child remains engaged by asking questions.
2. The discipline and consequence activity
The best parents know exactly how to respond to both positive and negative behaviors. Kids should learn that their choices have consequences.
Sometimes, they are positive. However, they should also learn from making mistakes.
When considering consequences, take the child’s personality and reason for misbehavior into account. If you know the child is misbehaving just to get your attention, ignore them.
However, if they are misbehaving due to a rule misunderstanding, explain the rule to them. If a child throws a toy, help them realize that choice has consequences by taking the toy away immediately.
This helps them associate the specific action with a direct consequence.
Try not to give your child any positive attention for misbehaving. This would only make them more likely to repeat the negative action.
3. How would you give directions?
Every parent delegates tasks and rules to their child differently. However, certain direction giving techniques are better than others. Consider whether you overwhelm your child with too many tasks at once.
When calling a child to come to dinner, do you also tell them to clean up and wash their hands? This could overwhelm them.
You could also be too vague in your instructions. Something like “it is time to head downstairs” does not give your child a specific reason to do so. They will not know what to expect from doing the task.
Thus, they are less likely to listen. Teach your kids to listen to you without yelling. This means rationalizing with them and ensuring they know you are in charge.
Bonus: Parenting Skills Workbook
A number of high-quality workbooks outline the top skills parents must maintain. One of these workbooks is the Positive Parenting Workbook.
In this popular book by blogger Jessica Eanes, the truth behind dealing with hectic life is revealed. She inspires readers to develop EQ, communicate effectively, set clear goals, and enjoy the present.
She provides a number of prompts to help you evaluate your parenting strategies. Eanes also leaves room for you to track your progress. A number of key parenting principles are outlined by her anecdotes.
For example, one of the key insights provided in the book is that empathy should be a key element of your parenting strategy.
Another insight is that the reason children get upset is because of a neurological self-control deficiency. This is something all children experience during this age.
Therefore, the best way to approach angry children is by calming them down first. Only then should you move on to rationalizing with them.
With this book, you can formulate a clear plan to avoid tantrums, handle outbursts, move past back talking, and address other negative behaviors.
Frequently Asked Questions About Parenting Skills
What skills do you need in parenting?
There are many key skills that every parent should possess. For example, all parents should love their kids unconditionally. They should give their child ample attention and communicate well with them.
This means explaining why there are rules in the household. Parents should also ensure their kids feel safe speaking to them.
Other important parenting traits include: stress management, emotional management, resilience, being a healthy role model, getting along with others, practicing active listening, working as a team, and staying patient.
What are positive parenting skills?
A number of skills are crucial toward positive parenting. These are mainly balance, active listening, unconditional love, support, and emotional validation.
The latter involves telling the child you care about their feelings and accepting their emotions. This is opposed to what many parents do: tell children they should not feel a certain way.
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