Top 13 parenting skills to develop to be a good parent

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Written By Olivia Miller

Author at Montessori Expert.

There’s no magic formula for parenting…

But there are skills you can develop to nurture your child’s growth and well-being.

Good parenting fosters a secure and loving environment where your child feels supported to explore the world, learn from mistakes, and become a confident, capable individual.

Continue reading if you’re a parent looking to give your child a loving and supportive environment.

What Makes Parenting Good

a mother and daughter sitting on a couch in the living room

Strong emotional connection:

Your child thrives on feeling loved, accepted, and secure. This comes from consistent affection, attention, and responsiveness to their needs.

Clear boundaries and guidance:

Children need structure and rules to understand expectations and feel safe.

Effective communication:

Open and honest communication allows you to understand your child’s feelings and perspectives, while also teaching them to express themselves clearly.

Positive reinforcement:

Catch your child “being good” and acknowledge their efforts. This builds self-esteem and motivates them to continue positive behaviors.

Nurturing independence:

As your child grows, encourage them to make age-appropriate choices and complete tasks on their own. This fosters a sense of accomplishment and self-reliance.

Top 13 Parenting Skills for You to Develop (with Examples)

a family sitting on a couch together

Here’s a deeper dive into the 13 essential parenting skills you can develop to create a loving and supportive environment for your child, along with examples of how to put them into practice:

1. Active Listening

How to Develop: Put away distractions like phones or laptops when your child wants to talk. Make eye contact, nod, and use encouraging phrases like “tell me more” or “I understand.”

Example: Your child comes home upset after a disagreement with a friend. Instead of jumping in with solutions, actively listen to their perspective. Ask clarifying questions like “What happened?” or “How did that make you feel?”

2. Empathy

How to Develop: Try to see things from your child’s point of view. Validate their feelings, even if you don’t agree with their actions.

Example: Your toddler throws a tantrum because they can’t have another cookie. Instead of getting frustrated, acknowledge their disappointment by saying,

“You seem really upset that you can’t have another cookie right now.”

3. Positive Communication

a mom is talking to a little girl

How to Develop: Focus on “I” statements to express your feelings without blaming your child.

Example: Your child keeps leaving their dirty clothes on the floor. Instead of yelling, try, “I feel overwhelmed when laundry piles up.

Can we work together to put your dirty clothes in the hamper after you get dressed?”

Or “I feel frustrated when the toys are left all over the living room” is more effective than “You always make such a mess!”

4. Setting Clear Expectations

How to Develop: Establish age-appropriate rules and routines. Explain the reason behind the rules and the consequences of breaking them. Be consistent in enforcing expectations.

Example: You create a bedtime routine for your child that includes taking a bath, brushing teeth, and reading a story. Explain that following this routine helps them get a good night’s sleep and wake up feeling refreshed.

5. Positive Discipline:

How to Develop: Focus on teaching rather than punishing. Use natural consequences whenever possible. 

Example: If your child forgets their jacket on a cold day, they’ll likely feel uncomfortable. Discuss this with them to help them learn from the experience.

Or Your child draws on the wall with crayons. Instead of yelling and taking away the crayons, explain that walls are for paint, not crayons. Offer them paper or a coloring book as a suitable alternative.

6. Conflict Resolution Skills:

How to Develop: Model compromise and problem-solving skills. Encourage your child to express their needs and listen to others’ perspectives. Role-play different scenarios to practice healthy communication. 

Example: Your child argues with their sibling over a toy.  Help them take turns playing or brainstorm ways to share. Guide them to use “I” statements to express their feelings, such as, “I feel frustrated because I wanted to play with the truck first.”

7. Emotional Regulation:

mother and daughter hugging in the park

How to Develop: Help your child identify and manage their emotions. Use age-appropriate language to talk about feelings and teach calming techniques like deep breathing or counting. 

Example: Your child gets upset after losing a game. Help them label their emotions by saying, “It looks like you’re feeling frustrated because you lost the game.” Teach them deep breathing exercises to calm down. 

8. Quality Time:

How to Develop: Make time each day to connect with your child without distractions. This could be anything from reading together to playing a game or simply chatting about their day. 

Example: Set aside 15 minutes after dinner each night for unplugged time. Read a book together, build a fort out of blankets, or play a board game. 

9. Unconditional Love and Positive Regard:

How to Develop: Let your child know they are loved and valued no matter what. Celebrate their achievements, big and small. Offer encouragement and support when they face challenges. 

Example: Your child struggles with a difficult math problem. Instead of getting frustrated, praise their effort by saying, “I see you’re working really hard on this problem. Let’s try a different approach together.”

10. Teaching Problem-Solving Skills:

hands-on learning

How to Develop: Guide your child through challenges without taking over. Ask questions to help them brainstorm solutions and encourage them to try different approaches. Celebrate their effort and perseverance.

Example: Your child’s toy breaks. Instead of fixing it yourself, ask them questions like, “What do you think happened?” or “Can you think of a way to fix it?” Help them explore different options and praise them for their creativity.

11. Fostering Independence:

How to Develop: As your child grows, give them opportunities to make choices and complete tasks on their own. This builds confidence and a sense of accomplishment. Start with small tasks and gradually increase the difficulty as they master new skills. 

Example: Let your young child choose their outfit for the day from a selection of pre-approved options. This gives them a sense of control and teaches them decision-making skills. As they get older, involve them in age-appropriate chores like setting the table or putting away their laundry.

12. Setting a Positive Example:

How to Develop: Children learn by watching. Be mindful of your words and actions, as they will likely imitate your behavior. Model the values you want to instill in your child, such as kindness, respect, and responsibility.

Example: Use polite language when interacting with others, even in frustrating situations. Volunteer your time to help those in need. Show your child that you take responsibility for your mistakes and work to fix them.

13. Self-Care:

How to Develop: Taking care of yourself is essential for being a good parent. Schedule time for activities you enjoy, whether it’s reading a book, taking a walk, or spending time with friends. A well-rested and balanced parent is better equipped to meet their child’s needs with patience and understanding. 

Example: If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, take a short break. Ask your partner to watch the kids for an hour so you can take a relaxing bath or read a few chapters of your book.

Conclusion

Parenting is a continuous learning process, and the most rewarding aspect is witnessing your child’s growth alongside your own.

As you cultivate these skills, embrace the inevitable hiccups as opportunities to learn and adapt.

Remember, every interaction with your child is a chance to plant a seed of confidence, empathy, and resilience. With these skills as your compass, you’ll guide your child on a journey of self-discovery, empowering them to become the best version of themselves.

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