How to be a patient and conscientious parent and how these skills will help you in your parenting journey. Read for great parenting tips.
A P.C. parent is one who is patient and conscious (The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems, page 5). I love the things Hogg points out as she discusses being a P.C. parent. This comes in handy when dealing with the Big Three problems (sleep, eating, or behavior–I had to laugh at this because these are the three topics I get the most questions about also) as well as your trips to the store and other daily interactions with your child.
Parenting is a long road and requires perspective (see It’s All About Perspective ). Hogg points out that today’s big problem is a distant memory in a month. While living that big problem, we forget that it really won’t last forever. This too shall pass.
Of course, we don’t know when this big problem will go away and we stress about it. These are moments we often create situations that are harder to break in the future. We want to remember the funnel and put work in today so we don’t have to reparent tomorrow.
As a parent, you need patience for a variety of things. You need it for the mess that is seemingly never-ending and those fingerprints that are constantly on your window. You need it as your child learns new skills.
It takes forever for a toddler to button up his shirt, but patience now will give him the chance to learn how on his own, and you the chance to move him toward dressing himself earlier than if you continue to do it for him. Your child will spill food, take 5 minutes to walk up the stairs and 15 to walk down, put the dishes away in the wrong spot, and miss a section on the carpet when he first starts to vacuum, to name a few. You need patience for these situations.
Patience can help prevent you from hovering over your child. I think many moms get a shock when the second-born child starts to do things on her own that the first born child is not yet doing. Why? Child number two has learned to take more initiative and not rely on mom and dad to do everything for her, while child number one has always been told to hold still while mom does it.
This is especially true if the children are close in age. I remember before I ever had Kaitlyn a story a good friend told me. She has a boy and girl who are about the same age distance as Brayden and Kaitlyn. She told me one day as she was putting shoes on her oldest, her little girl put her shoes on herself rather than wait her turn. At that moment she realized if her daughter could do that, her son could. I learned from her story and have been patient and encouraging to Brayden to do things for himself. But you still miss things because you just don’t have the experience to know what to expect sometimes.
Hogg points out that you must also be patient when changing habits and fixing problems. You can’t expect things to be fixed immediately. Be patient through the necessary process.
I also want to implore you to be patient through the bumps in the road. They come. Baby will have short naps. Toddler will challenge every rule you set. Your child will act as though he has no hearing. It happens.
These are not times to freak out and wonder what we have done wrong and worry that all efforts to this point are now moot. Yes, you want to consider the reasons for these problems, but realize that they are a part of the developmental process. Find the reason and address it, but try to remain patient.
You also need to think through situations and make a plan. Don’t just react to situations. Think them through and be sure your plan of action is the best move to make. You also need to be aware of what you do and say; you are your child’s number one example in life. Also, be consistent. Be there for your child and take advantage of the time you have to teach him right now.
Skills of a Good Parent
In Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, Tracy Hogg gives some advice for how to be a good parent. Here are some tips along with some of my own commentary. These tips are found on page 11.
- Be respectful of your baby. Treat your baby with respect and like a human, not a doll.
- Know your baby as an individual. Even as a newborn, you can know a lot about the personality of your baby. Also, know the baby you have, not the baby you dreamed you would have.
- Talk with, not at, your baby. This is often something that parents feel silly about. It requires silence and wait time. Any teacher knows this concept. When you ask a question, you need to be silent and allow those you asked time to process the question and respond. Talking with your baby rather than at your baby is easier once your baby becomes more interactive.
- Listen to your baby and meet his needs. Slow down and learn to listen to your baby.
- Offer dependability, structure, and predictability. This is something most Babywise parents do.
In the book Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, Tracy Hogg outlines seven steps to making sure you show respect to your baby. Here they are (starting on page 135):
- Be with your baby. This means that while you are spending time with your baby, focus on your baby. Don’t spend your time on the phone or off in some other zone thinking about things you have to get done. Now, I am going to say that there will surely be times you need to be on the phone while you are doing something with your baby, and most definitely be times you need to think about other things while with your baby. But try to focus on your baby while you are spending time with your baby. That is what makes it quality. Don’t be fooled, your baby can definitely tell if your mind is not with her.
- Delight in baby’s senses, but don’t overstimulate. Realize that a baby does not require much to be stimulated. The US is a culture with a lot of stimulation at all times. We have our cell phones and our iPods. Television is loud and fast. We mistakenly try to offer that much stimulation to our babies. They don’t need that much. Less is more with babies.
- Make baby’s environment interesting, pleasant, and safe.
- Foster baby’s independence. Help him gain confidence to try new things and play independently. Hogg says when baby is playing, it is better to observe more than you interact. You also have your independent play each day to help baby foster independence.
- Talk to, not at, your baby. Leave time for baby to respond while you are talking to her.
- Engage and inspire, but always let your baby lead. Hogg says to never place a baby in a position she can’t get into or out of on her own. I don’t necessarily agree with this. When you do tummy time with a newborn, she can’t get into or out of that position on her own. In fact, she can’t get into or out of any position on her own as a baby. Also, Kaitlyn was sitting on her own, unsupported, before 5 months old. But it was months after that when she got to sitting on her own.
You always want to start as you mean to go on and be thoughtful and intentional with your parenting. These tips can help you with those goals.