Roses are red, violets are blue, love is the key to parenting, even if that sounds obvious to you! Yes, it may seem obvious to say love is at the heart of positive parenting. After all, few relationships can match the depth of love a parent feels for their child. However, for busy parents, February is a good time to pause from all-things-pink and commercialized and focus on what love really means in our families.
Love means investing time in our children, our families and ourselves in order to raise confident, happy kids. More than just a feel-good concept, the notion of investing time is one that can require a little planning, a bit more patience and some teamwork. But the payoff can be big on that investment.
Parenting is easier and more rewarding when families work together, communicate well and support each others’ efforts. In many families, parents or other parent figures often have disagreements about how to handle specific daily situations, as well as how to manage larger parenting challenges. Open communication and a willingness to consider each other’s perspective can benefit not only the child, but also the relationship between parents. Whether you are raising children on your own or with someone else, the following tips can help make parenting easier.
Take care of your relationships. When families get too busy, there is a danger that parents overlook their relationships with others. Let the important people in your life know you appreciate their friendship or relationship with you. If you have a partner, recharge your relationship as often as possible by taking time to do things that you like to do as a couple—just the two of you. The less you invest in your relationship, the harder it is to work together as a parenting team.
Work as a team. A home runs more smoothly when parenting responsibilities are shared. Each family’s “parenting team” might include a current or ex-partner, relatives, a child care provider or close friends. No matter who’s on your team, talk with them and share ideas. Teamwork also means listening to the other person’s point of view and understanding their concerns. Make sure you understand all of the parenting tasks you each are routinely doing. You might be surprised to learn some of the things that get done that go unnoticed.
Support each other when addressing behavior. Work as a team to solve problems. It is important to remain consistent and address challenges as a team, and to let your child see you working together. A united front reinforces the solution. Remember it’s ok to ask for help with handling parenting challenges.
Talk with someone every day about your child. Put aside some time each day to check in with your partner, a friend or other supportive person about the fun and positive things that happened with your child today, as well as any problems that may have occurred. It’s easy for parents to be focused on the challenges and forget about the joys.
Share your own feelings. Your children learn from you and look up to their parents. Watching parents express their emotions and feelings in a healthy way will encourage them to understand and accept feelings, as well as learn how to express them in a positive way.
This February, give yourself a Valentine’s gift by taking time to enjoy your children, your family and your important relationships. It’s not chocolate, isn’t pink and doesn’t come in a vase. But for you and your family, spending time together just may mean more than any of those other things.
For more information about Triple P, visit triplep.first5scc.org, www.facebook.com/triplepscc or www.youtube.com/triplepsantacruzco. To get a copy of the Triple P Pocket Guide for Parents or find a Triple P class or practitioner, contact Stephanie Bluford at 831-465-2217 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Triple P - Positive Parenting Program is made available locally by First 5 Santa Cruz County. Triple P is scientifically proven and is the world’s leading positive parenting program. Triple P offers classes and one-on-one meetings to help parents handle everyday parenting challenges.