Skills for better upbringing

Victor Mecoamere

Victor Mecoamere

Parenting is a simple, yet very complex topic, says psychologist Dan Williams.

"I have battled with numerous parents regarding this topic," Williams explains. "Parents maintain an extremely defensive posture with regard to their parenting skills, which is one of the strongest walls to break down."

But Williams says a good parent never stops learning.

"When someone is hired to do a job, they need to learn what that job entails," he says.

"The newly employed wants to learn, wants to do a good job, get a raise down the road, move up through the company, and so on."

Williams then asks: "Why shouldn't the same desire apply to parenting? Our parenting skills come directly from our own parents. We either learn from our parents or learn from similar role models that might be living in close proximity, neighbours, uncles, aunts, grandparents, and so on."

Williams says teaching optimal parenting skills is difficult, since parents tend to be grossly defensive about the issue.

"They feel they are being attacked, or ridiculed, which of course affects their self-esteem.

"Consequently everyone loses in this scenario. The adult loses by refusing to learn how to become a better parent and the child fails to learn vital parenting skills, thus continuing a cycle of dysfunction."

Here are some of Williams' guidelines for better parenting:

Recognise that you will make many mistakes, which is fine. Admit your mistakes to your child. This is an excellent way to be a role model to your child showing that you are not perfect. Listen to your child, really listen. Listen to what children are saying. Respond to what has been asked. Show interest. Our time is limited on earth. Enjoy every moment you have with your child.

Do something that you might hate but they enjoy.

Find out what your child really enjoys as they grow up, and make time for them, for what they like.

Teach your children about many religions. And not just the one you practise. This teaches tolerance of those who differ from them.

Look in the mirror at your dark side.

The baggage you carry from role modeling you received growing up. Do you stereotype, do you have racist feelings, or judge other cultures? Recognise this and work on change.

Provide your children with a variety of experiences.

Allow them to engage in many different activities. There are many creative ways to expose your child to music, literature, the arts, science and nature, without spending a lot of money. - Living Values.