As I sit back and reflect on this past year, one of the topics that kept coming up throughout the year was “Parenting”.  Parenting is one of the most delicate topics I think because you’re using skills that you develop based off of 1.) the parenting styles that you saw displayed growing up, and 2.) the skills that you develop along the way (trial and error). For many of us, it’s also one of the things that we are overly critical of ourselves about, due to the fact that it’s a huge responsibility and of course, we don’t want to fail because we not only fail ourselves but we then fail our children. And who wants to do that?

As we go into 2018, let’s strive to parent differently. Here are a couple of things I would like for each of us, including myself to enhance our parenting skills (remembering to do them consistently this upcoming year.

1.) Listen to your child. It’s very important that you understand your child. We often get so wrapped up in dos and don’ts and deprive our children of the opportunity to explain their thoughts, fears, and even goals. Let’s try to give our children the attention that we give so many other things in our lives.

2.) Show them your Unconditional Love! As with any other kind of relationship some things need to be displayed, and love is one of those. How you show your love is determined by how your child receives love. It could be with words of affirmation, quality time, gifts or acts of services. Which ever love language is your child’s be sure to display your unconditional love the way they can receive it.

3.) Provide them with a Safe Place. A safe place is a place where there are rules that are implemented and respected by all parties. Remember that the rules should always be fair and just, never too harsh and communicated in a non-threatening and/or non-abusive manner. The goal here is to have a child that respects you, not fears you.

4.) Be Patient and Empathetic!! This is the one that I personally struggle with. I have to consistently remind myself that I have to put myself in my daughter’s shoes and allow her the opportunity to explain her behavior before immediately judging her. Also remembering that she’s just a child and that I can’t expect her to change overnight nor can I expect myself to become this amazing parent overnight because as she grows as an individual- I’m also growing both as an individual and more importantly, as a parent. I often remind myself of the phrase that I tell the parent’s of my clients “It took (insert child’s age) years for them to develop this behavior”, so I want you to know that the changing that behavior won’t happen overnight, it takes time and will happen gradually.

Here’s my two Bonus skills to implement: be open to learning (we can always improve in any areas of our lives, and parenting isn’t an area that’s excluded). Always be open to learning new parenting skills and/or techniques from professionals but more importantly, those parents that are in your circle because we all have different parenting styles and each child is different so you want to have as many tools on your toolbelt as possible. Also, remember to allow your child to be a child. So many parents forget that their children are children, and serve that ability to just simply be a child.

Please if you want to add to the list of ways to “Parenting Differently in 2018″- feel free to drop you tips below.