Parenting is perhaps the most amazing responsibility anyone can have. Not because it is in any way easy, but because it is a project dedicated to the development of another set of lives.
As parents, we have the most demanding responsibility any human can have: nurturing a new life. The outcome of this responsibility depends a lot on how much we reflect on our ways of parenting and the questions we ask ourselves from time to time.
Self-reflection and continuous improvement are the two most important factors needed to excel in parenting. Below are 8 self-reflection questions that successful parents ask.
1. Am I doing this right?
There’s no perfect parent. We all make mistakes once in a while. However, the difference between the parents who are successful and those who are not is that successful parents reflect on their mistakes and correct them.
Whenever you scold, talk to, play with, instruct, or do any other thing with your child, remember to ask “am I doing this right?”
This question should help you examine the things you are doing so as to spot the mistakes. We can’t possibly be doing everything in the right way, but we can keep learning to do as much as possible.
2. If I were in my child’s shoes, what would I think of my parenting style?
You may think you are the best parent in the world and that your child loves you. This can be totally wrong sometimes because you are still viewing yourself from the lens of a parent instead of that of your child.
Putting yourself in your child’s shoes will help you become more aware of the things you should be doing and the things you should stop.
You will also get to understand the misconceptions your child has on the way you parent him or her. For example, most children think parents discipline them because they don’t love them. You, as a parent, know that the only reason you are disciplining them is because you love them; if you don’t put yourself in their shoes, you will never understand how they feel.
3. Will my child be proud of me when he or she reaches adulthood?
This is one of the major questions parents need to ask.
How will your child talk about you when you are long gone? Would he say you empowered him, loved him, and guided him to a good life? Or would he say you caused a big problem in his life?
While your child may not be able to act against your parenting style (if it’s a bad one) at the moment, a time will come when he may condemn you for the way you coached him.
Are you empowering, loving, caring, helping, coaching, and guiding your child? If yes, then your child will be proud of you when he or she reaches adulthood.
If not, you need to get to work!
4. Am I doing what’s good for my child’s future or just following others blindly?
Parents are often swayed into bad parenting styles because of what their friends, neighbours, or even parents told them.
Every child is different and the parenting strategies that work for your friend’s child may be harmful to your child.
Spend time to think about what is good for your own child. Look at his weaknesses and strengths, and create a strategy that works best with your child.
Every child is different
5. Is my child getting enough attention from me?
Have I become too busy to pay attention to my child?
This is a very important question to ask, because we can easily get caught up in our todo lists.
Your child deserves your attention too, just like your work deserves your attention. Spend time with them, talk, play, learn, and do things together.
Dedicate a time with your kids and show interest in everything they have to say to you.
6. Am I building or destroying my child’s self-esteem?
Most of the things we say to our kids can be very detrimental to their self-esteem.
Children are like an empty sheet of paper, and your words, gestures, and actions are like ink spilt over that paper. If those words, gestures, and actions are not positive and empowering, you may be destroying your child’s self-esteem.
Tell your child statements like “I love you,” “you can do it,” “you’re good enough,” etc. This will help them build a belief in their ability to get things done and achieve greatness in life.
7. What can I learn, to improve my effectiveness as a parent?
Parenting is a journey of life-long learning. You can’t possibly know everything about how to parent a child.
And that’s the point. You must keep learning new things, keep growing, and exposing yourself to things that make you a better parent.
When you spot the thing(s) you can learn to become a more effective parents, seek out opportunities to learn these things.
8. What behaviours do I exhibit that are negatively affecting my child?
Children learn more from what you are than from what you teach. Because of the parental bond, children unconsciously imitate the behaviours of their parents.
Asking this question will help you determine some of your habits that are not supporting your child’s growth.
You can’t expect your child to stop biting her nails if you bite yours. You can expect your child to stop gossiping if you gossip too.
The Most Important Question
The job of a parent is never done. You will always have the responsibility to guide your child to something great.
So, the most important question any parent can ask is: How can I get better at this?
If you’re not getting better, you’re probably getting worse. So you must continue to grow and look for better ways to parent your little angels,