This post may contain affiliate links and/or it may have been a partnership. Please view our policy page for more details.
Every parent wants their children to grow up to be successful, responsible, and well-adjusted adults. Childhood is a critical first step for making sure your little ones develop good and healthy habits and avoid harmful ones. To ensure they’ll be living and leading good lives, here are four practical ways you can reinforce positive habits and prevent bad ones.
Model Good Behavior
Your goal as a parent should not be perfection but to be an inspiring model of good behavior to your children. You will not be able to effectively teach your kids about good and bad habits if they see you as someone who says one thing but does another. Don’t be a walking paradox. The saying “Walk the talk” certainly and highly applies to parenting too.
If you don’t want your children to develop bad habits, then you, too, should eliminate any toxic habits in your life. Be more disciplined in your lifestyle by getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and eating healthy food. If you’re a heavy smoker, it’s a good idea to do a quick nicotine test and start reducing your cigarette consumption until the habit is totally broken.
Parenting is rewarding, but not every day is a walk in the park. Some days can be extra challenging, and you might find yourself feeling frustrated when your child does not listen to you when you tell them to eat their vegetables, or forgets that last potty training lesson you taught him.
Don’t be too hard on yourself, but stay consistent. It’s okay to feel exhausted and discouraged, but this should not dissuade you from setting ground rules. When you tell your child no television on weeknights, be firm even when they start throwing tantrums. Children need structure, and you will need to be the enforcer of this structure if you want them to grow up to be functional and self-reliant adults.
Build Honest Communication
Your children are at a formative stage in which they are still learning new habits. You will need to be very involved and present if you want to help your child learn the difference between positive and negative behavior. Honest and open communication is a valuable tool for making this possible. You want your child to feel safe and welcome whenever they want to express themselves to you.
If you have a busy schedule, set aside quality family time during the week in which you can give your child undivided attention. Implement a strict no smart device during this time.
Cultivating communication between you and your children is an important first step to building trust, and with trust, you can better guide your child to avoid bad habits and practice positive ones.
Respect Your Child
Your child’s self-esteem is formed during childhood, and their self-esteem will help them face various challenges in the real world. Studies have shown that children who suffered abuse and neglect have a higher risk of developing addictions later in life. To build and strengthen your child’s self-esteem, you need to treat them with respect. Although this may sound pretty straightforward, many parents actually unknowingly disrespect their child. This happens when parents humiliate their child in public or dismiss them as being overly emotional when they express anxiety.
Whenever your children does something wrong, like interrupt conversations or make a mess, talk to them in private and take time to explain to them why they should stop doing what they did. Remember that respect is a two-way street. If you want your kids to respect you, then you, too, should treat them that way.
Parenting is not easy. It’s a full-time job with zero pay, but in the end, seeing your children grow up into happy and healthy adults will make all your hard work worthwhile.