As parents we strive every day to do what's best for our kids. We parent instinctively which can work extremely well until we come up against conflict. Parenting is like any relationship. It's affected by many factors like your mood, your health your work environment and your financial situation to name but a few. One of the keys to being a proactive parent is being aware of the above. An example of this is, if you are aware that say financial pressures are causing you stress you will be able to be less reactive when your child or teenager is making financial demands. And remember there is no shame in telling your children how you feel. Don't try to be a super parent. Children can learn to empathise from a young age and its a good skill to learn. Being honest with children builds great trust.

As humans we all need to be loved but we also like to be liked. Children need to feel both capable and lovable and approval is very important to nurture this.  In our role as parents we often subconsciously leave approval in the hands of friends teachers and relations. A small positive acknowledgement can go a long way. It's a learned behaviour to catch your child being good. We often get caught up in the negative and correcting and forget to focus on the positives. Make it your business to catch your child doing something positive at least once a day. Don't wait for something big. Catch them doing small things like bringing in the shopping or cleaning up after themselves. A small verbal approval like "that was helpful" can be very effective.

As your child gets older setting fair boundaries that have been negotiated between both parent and child can avoid conflict. Children and teenagers feel safest within boundaries but when boundaries are too restrictive and unreasonable children rebel. Acknowledging how your child is feeling is very important. And when the time is right discussing these feelings can be very valuable to both parent and child.

Parenting is such a vast topic and impossible to cover in just one blog so ill finish by sharing two quotes I read recently;

"Parents need to fill a child's bucket of self esteem so high that the rest of the world can't poke enough holes to drain it dry" 

"Children need love the most when they deserve it the least".

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