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By itself, parenting is a very difficult job. However, several aggravating circumstances have even made it more difficult. One of these is the fact that every parent reports to the job with virtually no formal training. The subject is not being taught in any school and no guidelines or handbooks have ever been distributed to help parents face such a daunting task. Second, children are not mass produced after a pattern. In other words, one child could never be an exact replica of the next. In fact, even siblings possess different characteristics. This has made parenting a very challenging task because parents are often forced to deal with their children in different ways.
Fortunately, parents are not without sympathizers. These are usually parents themselves who go out of their way to share their experiences in order to help new parents by coming out with some suggestions and advices. For example, it has been suggested that parenting requires skills, some of which may be inborn while others should be learned in the process. Some skills which parents may already possess before entering parenthood are “patience, anger management, and communication.” Many believe that patience is one of the most important skills a parent could possess. This is because a parent is the child’s first teacher from whom he or she learns the basic knowledge essential to life as well as value formation. For instance, the child learns how to walk with his or her parents’ help and learns how to deal with other children also with the parents’ patient guidance (A Parenting Skills Primer, n.d.).
Anger management is as important as patience. Parents should know how to restrain themselves when parenting becomes frustrating. And this occurs more often than not, considering that children are in the habit of probing just how far they could go before their parents get really angry. When this situation occurs, parents should be able to avoid getting angry. Instead, the advice is for them to show their love even though they are already near boiling point. Parents should also be exceptional communicators. This skill is important because parents could not be good teachers if they could not communicate well with their children. This means that they should be good listeners in order for them to understand what their children want to convey and then be able to give fitting responses. It is also important that parents are able to adjust their methods of communicating with their children according to the stage of their children’s development (A Parenting Skills Primer, n.d.).
Healthcare, teaching, management, and discipline are some of the skills which parents should learn as they go along. It is sometimes surprising how easy it is to learn if parents only take their responsibilities seriously. Parents are also their children’s first-level healthcare providers because aside from having to nurse and care for them since the day of their birth, they also have to attend to them 24 hours a day. In this connection, it is important that parents should learn the rudiments of first aid in order to take care of minor medical problems at home. However, they should also be able to tell when a situation already needs the presence of a qualified medical practitioner and should not hesitate to call one immediately should the need arise (A Parenting Skills Primer, n.d.).
As already mentioned, parents have no choice but to play the role of their children’s first teacher from day one. In addition, they are in the best position to teach their children during their early years because they know them better than anyone else. For them to fill this role satisfactorily, they should learn how to teach their children effectively. In other words, they should learn how to devise the most effective methods so that their children could easily grasp what they are trying to teach them. Parents are also the home managers. They have to manage almost everything: money, time, and all household chores and activities. As managers, their duties include preparing the household budget so that their income could meet the basic needs of the family and managing the time of every member of the household in order to organize the various household chores to everybody’s satisfaction. In other words, they should make it a point that all of the household members do their share according to their abilities, including the children (A Parenting Skills Primer, n.d.).
Discipline is another important albeit controversial aspect of parenting. While every parent agrees that children should be disciplined, there is no unanimity on how to go about it. Moreover, parents should know that disciplinary measures vary with the age of the children. Rules for a five-year-old, for instance, should not be the same as the rules intended for teenage sons and daughters. Regardless of the age of the children, however, what is important is that parents should make it known at all times that they are in charge, not the children. Simply stated, their words carry more weight and their decisions are to be followed. What is important, though, is learning how to do this without unduly hurting the feelings of their children. Although not an easy task considering the developments in this modern day and age, it has to be faced painstakingly if parents want to turn their children into responsible adults in the future (Parenting Skills, n.d.).
Learning how to discipline children is difficult. Sometimes they do what their parents tell them to do – at other times, they either appear deaf or their parents just seem invisible. When they choose to misbehave, parents are advised to refrain from yelling because doing so would just worsen things between them. Instead, the suggestion is for parents to keep their cool and lay down the rules and stick to them consistently. There are recommended rules for disciplining children. First, when children misbehave, parents should not immediately get angry. They should instead make it a point to know their reason for misbehaving. Children, just like everybody else, have their reasons for doing things. Second, parents should not attempt to order young children to do many things simultaneously because they might be overwhelmed. They should prioritize things. In other words, teach the children to follow the most important rule or do the most important chore first before going on to the next one. Third, it is important for parents to be firm and not to back down in the face of disobedience. For instance, when a child is taught to always brush his or her teeth before going to bed, the rule should be followed every night, without exception. Once parents become inconsistent in implementing the rule it becomes difficult to let the child obey (Super Nanny Team, 2008).
The fourth rule is for parents to “think positive parenting.” According to an educational psychologist, Dr. Howard Sloane, it is better for parents to acknowledge good behavior than to condemn disobedience. In other words, telling a child that it was good of him or her to have made his or her bed is much better than scolding him or her for not eating his or her breakfast. So every time the child makes a good deed, it should immediately be appreciated. Fifth, in telling children what to do, parents should state everything in specific and clear language. For instance, a parent should specifically tell a child to put his or her toys back to their proper places after playing with them instead of simply telling him or her to clean his or her room. The first command is simple enough to be easily obeyed while the latter is too general to leave the child in a quandary as to what to do first. Sixth, parents should always strive to “be a good role model.” It will be easier for children to understand how they are expected to behave if parents show them how. In other words, children tend to do what their parents do. If they patiently listen to the complaints of their children instead of immediately yelling at them for instance, their children would also develop this attitude as they grow up (Super Nanny Team, 2008).
Rule number seven is for parents to refrain from resorting to threats or bribes just to make their children do as they bid. Dr. Sloane says that it is better to let them understand what happens if they do not do their chore instead. For instance, threatening them that they would not be allowed to watch television unless they clean their room is not advisable. Explaining to them that if they just leave their dirty clothes lying around instead of gathering them and placing them in the laundry room would mean that they would not have clean clothes to wear to school the following day is better. Finally, parents could try rewarding their children for good behavior. This is always a good way of letting them know that their parents appreciated and approved their good behavior and would serve as an incentive for them to behave the same way in the future (Super Nanny Team, 2008).
Parenting is hard – nobody could claim otherwise. However, there are ways to make it much easier. Taking note of the suggestions presented above is one of them.
A Parenting Skills Primer. (n.d.). Retrieved November 30, 2008, from
Parenting Skills. (n.d.). Retrieved November 30, 2008, from
Super Nanny Team. (2008). 9 ways to make them better. Retrieved November 30, 2008,