Parenting is very difficult. For some, it is the hardest job in the world. The challenge of raising children is daunting and often times difficult. Although there are hundreds of books written about the subject matter, children are unique and different and there are no precise directions on how to raise each one. People can prepare all they want, by reading every book or watching every video but when it comes down to it, there is nothing that can prepare a person for being a parent. However, a seasoned veteran like Sharon Bush, has some tips that will definitely help to make a person into a productive and engaged parent.
As a parent, there are bound to be missteps along the way. No one is a perfect parent. Although many try, parenting is a learn as you go kind of commitment. A parent’s job is to nurture, protect, and guide their children into becoming stable and happy individuals. A parent is in charge of their child’s development and positive and effective parenting will help to raise a child’s self-esteem. Positive and effective parenting also creates a strong bond between the parent and child hence setting the child up for a lifetime of success with their future relationships and careers. Sharon Bush’s six tips for raising happy and healthy children help provide general guidelines and best practices to help make parenting a little bit easier.
Sharon Bush is a very well known philanthropist and humanitarian who has received world recognition for her accomplishments. Although, she loves her work, she considers her children to be her greatest accomplishment. Her three children have grown into productive and empathic adults who have done their own fair share of charitable work. Her three children, Lauren Bush Lauren, Ashley Bush, and Pierce Bush grew up watching their mother and all her philanthropic work. Her children have grown up to be compassionate adults who learned by watching the actions of their mother. She credits these simple rules as a guideline to raising children successfully.
Sharon Bush strongly believes that a person should never hit their child. She believes that there is no reason why a child should be punished using physical force. According to Sharon Bush, “Hitting your kid is never, ever acceptable. As far as punishments go, spanking is not effective. Period.” She also points out that children also emulate what they see. If a child gets hit, then they will most likely hit others. Sharon Bush also says that being physical is other ways, like screaming and throwing things when angry, also can be problematic. These types of behaviors teach children to express their frustration through rage and violence instead of healthy and productive means. It teaches kids to deal with their problems in a physical way instead of coping mechanisms that teach patience and empathy.
Making Them Eat Food They Don’t Like
Children rarely eat what is put in front of them. One the biggest challenges as a parent is trying to get picky eaters to eat something. Getting children to eat nutritious foods can be a battle. For parents with picky eaters, it is a daily battle. The picky eating phase is a very normal part of a child’s development and how the parent reacts to the picky eating make all the difference. Sharon’s advice is simple yet effective. She recommends, “Don’t act agitated when your kid refuses to taste a new food. Kids are impressionable; the eating patterns they establish during their early years will continue to influence their relationship to food in the future. Treat family mealtimes as pleasant gatherings. Enjoy your dinners together!” It is more important to exercise patience when working through picky eating than to force the issue.
Invalidating Their Feelings and Emotions
Sometimes even the most well intentioned parent can accidentally invalidate the thoughts and feelings of a child. One of the most important aspects of healthy child development is for children to learn how to regulate their emotions in a healthy way. Too many caretakers demand absolute obedience from the child. This approach does not take into consideration the child’s need and preferences. When a parent invalidates a child’s feelings and perceptions, that child is made to feel like they are not valid as an individual. For example when a child starts to cry and they are told that they being too “dramatic” or “that there is no reason to be upset”, this type of language invalidates their feelings. Sharon Bush says it best when she says, “Although these sorts of responses to kids’ emotions are extremely common and well-intentioned, they can be very damaging to a child’s emotional development. Sometimes I need to remind myself that my child is an individual person; he or she shouldn’t feel a certain way just because I feel that way.”
Complaining About Your Kid’s Other Parent, in Front of Your Kid
Regardless of your thoughts about your partner, your child should never be influenced by those thoughts especially if the feelings are negative. Sharon believes that bashing your partner in front of your child makes the child feel anxious and stressed out. A parent should never involve their child in their personal relationships. Each individual parent needs to have a production and respectful relationship with the child, and the other parent must encourage and foster that relationship. A parent must strive to speak about their partner using positive language in front of their child in order to help the child avoid an unnecessary stress and pain.
In the age of social media, people have started to overshare on their profiles. People are constantly updating their profiles with photos and posts. Parents are sharing embarrassing photos or anecdotes about their children for the whole world to see. Parents feel entitled to share these photos and posts on their social media because they believe that it’s their right to do so. However, Sharon Bush would argue that is a violation of the child’s privacy. She says, “Your kids, however young and immature, are entitled to privacy. They won’t always be babies! Uncertain where the boundary is? A good rule of thumb to follow: if you wouldn’t talk to a casual acquaintance about your son’s bedwetting, don’t post about it on Facebook, either.”
Checking Your Phone
This is something that everyone is guilty of and for some people, the hardest to break. Sharon says that it is important to set aside time to spend with your children without digital distractions. Children are very intuitive and know when you are distracted and not paying attention to them. At a sporting event or a recital, parents must put their phones down and pay attention. “Your kids can tell if you’re not really listening or paying attention,” She says, “Don’t prioritize Facebook, work-related emails, and the like over your children. Put away digital distractions when you’re hanging out with your kids. They deserve your undivided attention.”
Sharon Bush by no means believes that there is such a thing as a perfect parent. There will always be missteps but the most important thing to a child’s development is giving the child love and encouragement. Making sure to validate the child’s feelings will help them learn how to properly process their emotional and feelings in a rational and healthy way. These tips are really good starting points to help guide parents on their journey of parenthood.