In my pursuit of a better life for my children and I, I have learnt that there are a few habits of highly empowered parents that are mostly simple to implement but produce great results. Here are the top things I’ve learnt on my journey so far.
1. Listening Skills.
Empowered parents listen to their children fully and completely, (even if it’s interrupting important mum jobs) and support their children to work through any problems that have arisen. A child who feels listened to by someone will continue to communicate with that person openly. Show interest in her interests. Make sure that you are that person by listening intently when your child wants to show you their Minecraft world, list the trains in Thomas the Tank, showcase the latest makeup tutorial or toy unboxing video on youtube.
2. Freedom From The Opinion of Others.
For everything that you do or don’t do, there will always be lots of people who agree with your methods and lots of people who don’t. There are always lots of people who are more than willing to tell you what you should and shouldn’t be doing. But at the end of the day what really matters is what you think is best for you and your family.
3. Open, Honest Communication.
When a child asks you a question try to answer in an honest and age-appropriate way as you can. It’s also important to start conversations so you know your child is fully informed of subjects that may affect them in life see this post I wrote on subjects children should be able to openly discuss with their parents if you’d like a bit of inspiration.
4. Get Down On Their Level.
Play is a great way to strengthen the bond with your children. Get down and play with them at every opportunity and let them know you’re up for a laugh and that you’re not a sore loser.
Routines are powerful life moulding tools that every empowered parent can utilise to improve their family life. When a child knows where they are supposed to be and what they are supposed to be doing there is much less room for confusion.
6. Expect Excellence.
When excellence is a minimum standard in your family life, the results you get will be ten times better than in a family that settles for the cards they’re dealt. Please note this isn’t about beating yourselves up when you don’t hit the mark, but rather aiming to do whatever you decide to do in life to the best of your ability, noticing and appreciating the improved results. Stop accepting the castoffs of life. You deserve all good things but you have to reach up higher to grab it.
7. Talk About Authenticity.
Know yourself and be yourself unapologetically in as many instances as you can manage. Your child will notice if you’re a different person when dealing with different people.
8. Self-love/ Self-Care.
Love yourself fully and unconditionally, love your body and treat it as such, talk about body images that the media portrays. Don’t speak negatively about yourself or your nobbly bits.
9. Follow Your Child’s Lead.
Every child is different. I only have two and I have to parent them both so differently. What works for one doesn’t always work for the other. But if you pay attention to your child’s temperament you will be given many clues on how best to accomplish your goals with each.
10. Set an Example.
Your children will learn and pick up more from who you are and what you do than what you tell them to do. Bear that in mind the next time you tell them why they can’t have a cookie, it’s probably best if they don’t find the empty packet in your bedroom dustbin the next morning.
11. Apologise and Forgive.
Admit when your wrong and forgive, cuddle and move on once you’ve dealt with an issue. Your child’s self-esteem will suffer if you keep bringing up past mistakes everytime you get annoyed with them. Learn from mistakes and let the past stay in the past.
12. Planning and Organisation Skills.
Proper Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance. I learnt this when I first entered the workforce. I think it’s gold so I teach it to my children and make sure we always have a plan to follow in some way shape or form and a tidy organised space to work from.
Sometimes you will need to give up if a task is truly traumatic but try always to see your projects through to the end where possible show your children how to persevere through the tough times and explain the value and learning opportunities in the difficulties and failures of life. Nothing worthwhile usually happens overnight but you will surely reap great benefits from the things you are patient enough to see through to the end.
14. Being Fully Present, Cherish Your Time Together.
When you are with your child be with them fully. Make time for them without their siblings (I know, very difficult as single parents) and be fully present with them and cherish those moments. Be sure to let them know how much you are enjoying their company.
15. Look for the Good in your Child.
It’s easy to find annoying stuff but if that’s all you ever point out, that’s all they will remember of their childhood. Be mindful of this and make a conscious effort to lift your child at every opportunity and fill their cup of self-esteem as full as you possibly can.
16. Know Your Child’s’ Love Language.
The 5 love languages (affiliate link) is a great book that outlines that some children might be happy for a cuddle and a foot rub where others might prefer a day together.
17. Keep a Healthy Kitchen.
Kids who see their parents eat healthily and have more healthy options at their disposal can’t help but be healthier than a child who is consistently surrounded by piles of junk food.
18. Self-Responsibility and Self-Ownership.
At the end of the day, your child should have the final say when it comes to his her body. Make a point of having honest, open conversations about appropriate and inappropriate behaviours and how to deal with them.
19. Appreciate The Emotional Spectrum.
It’s okay to be happy, sad, angry, mad. regardless of age, race or sex. All emotions are useful and necessary. Views like big girls or boys don’t cry are so outdated. Just… Don’t.
20. Clear Loving Boundaries and Self-Respect.
Knowing when to say no to your children and to others, is a great value for the children to learn. Who do you regularly allow to overstep your boundaries? Bending over backwards to please others to the point that your own priorities have to take a back seat is sure to end in tears. I also feel it’s important for it to be okay for children to say no (yes even to you) when they feel their boundaries are being overstepped.
Keep promises unless you have reviewed the situation and realised it doesn’t work for your family, try to be impeccable with your word. Don’t make throwaway comments or promises just to get them out of your hair in the moment, they will remember. I’ve often found myself changing my no to a yes because it’s annoying to get pestered over and over again, nobody’s perfect but we certainly make better progress when I’m mindful and managing to stay consistent.
22. Keep Your Family Vision Front and Centre.
Work on a family mission statement and vision board together. Know each others strengths and weaknesses and how you can support each other. Download my free Mission Statement prompts workbook to get you started.
23. Regular Meetings/Reviews.
Always look at what your family is doing, what is working and what isn’t and ditch what isn’t working. I know this sounds contradictory to the perseverance point but persevering with some things will do more harm than good. Only you can decide whats best for you and your family.
24. Loving Boundaries.
Your children feel safe and secure when there are loving boundaries set and they know what they are and when they’re getting close to breaching them.
25. Surround Yourselves With Positivity.
From the people who you allow to stay in your life, to the set up of your home take a good look at what you allow to stay in your life. Who are yours and your childrens role models? How easily do you let go of what no longer serves you?
26. Breaking Negative Cycles.
Just because your parents parented you that way doesn’t mean it’s right or that it will or should be part of your parenting practice.
27. Pick Your Battles.
Stephen Covey said, in his 7 Habits (affiliate link) books, Seek first to Understand then to be understood. I find this useful when deciding whether to pursue an issue or let it go.
That’s all I have for now I hope someone finds it useful. Feel free to add your suggestions in the comments.