Having children is like living in a frat house — nobody sleeps, everything’s broken, and there’s a lot of throwing up. – Ray Romano
Parenting is both the most difficult and most rewarding job. Kids don’t come with a manual, but if they did it might include these questions you should get in the habit of asking yourself.
Are My Kids Having Fun?
Life tends to get so busy that sometime we forget to prioritize play.
Am I Having Fun?
Same question (almost). If you are so busy chauffering and cooking and doing laundry that you are forgetting to enjoy your children, you need to take a hard look at your priorities.
Did My Child Eat Well?
Consider quality, not quantity. Were fruits and vegetables the bulk of the diet? Great. Are you limiting too strictly? Every child needs to taste cotton candy once.
Did My Child Sleep Well?
Children need their sleep. If they aren’t getting a reasonable amount of sleep they are not thriving.
Did My Child Learn Something?
This isn’t the same as a getting good grades. It’s about being curious and excited to learn anything from weaving to dinosaur names. Open their minds to the joy of learning.
Did My Child Successfully Negotiate Stress?
Kids need to learn to recognize both how stress feels and how to reduce it in order to navigate the adult world. If you never allow them to experience fear, failure, or grit, they don’t get the opportunity to develop these skills.
Did I Yell?
How did you feel after yelling? How do you think your child felt?
Why Did I Yell?
You know yelling feels awful for both you and your child. Why do you do it? Some part of you thinks that it works. Remind yourself that it is not the most effective way.
Did I Blame My Child?
If you hear yourself saying “you make me so mad” or “you make mommy sad,” it is time to take ownership of your feelings. “When you come home late I feel worried” or “when you use that tone of voice I feel like you don’t respect me” would convey your feelings without blaming your child for them.
Did I Praise Enough?
It takes seven positive comments to negate the effects of one negative. To build our children’s confidence and self-esteem, we need to praise them more than we might think.
Did I Praise the Right Things?
Praising a child for things like being smart or pretty is actually harmful to his ability to become resilient. If the child thinks smart is something he is rather than recognizing the grit he puts into learning something, when he eventually is confronted by something that is harder to learn he might think he isn’t smart rather than attempting to work it out.
Am I Treating My Child’s Success as My Own?
Recognize that if she is successful, it is her own. You don’t get to relive your dreams of becoming a soccer player or ballet dancer through your child.
What Do I Want My Children To Feel Today?
Important, respected, and happy.
If This Was My Last Day, What Would I Do Differently?
We have to go to work and cook dinner and do homework but if we looked back on the day, would we do it this way again? Did you laugh? Did you listen?
Did I Do Something Today to Foster My Child’s Independence?
As your child’s pre-frontal cortex develops a parent is tasked with balancing independence with protection. What are you still doing for your child that he could be doing for himself? Let him do it, it helps foster self-trust.
Am I Parenting Out of Fear or Comfort?
Am I moving towards something I want for my child or away from something I don’t want? It is always more powerful to move toward.
Am I Part of the Problem or Part of the Solution?
Are you helping your child avoid things she doesn’t like doing? That is encouraging avoidance. Instead be on her side encouraging her to develop grit and perseverance.
What Is My Most Important Role as a Parent?
Spend some time thinking about this, then align all your parenting with that role.
Did I Learn From My Mistakes?
We all make them. Admit, then learn from them. Move on. Tomorrow is another day and you need to model this for your children.
What Am I Thankful For?
Reminding ourselves of what we already have or do opens our minds to finding more great things and opportunities as parents.
Tags: parenting, children, fun, eating well, sleep, learning, stress, yelling, blame, praise, success, independence, fear, comfort, problem-solving, gratitude.
The famous quote by Ray Romano perfectly describes the chaos and challenges of having children. Parenting is a demanding yet rewarding job that often leaves parents feeling overwhelmed. While there is no manual for raising kids, it can be helpful to ask ourselves certain questions to ensure we are providing the best care and fostering their development. Let’s explore these questions and the significance they hold in the realm of parenting.
One of the primary concerns should be whether our kids are having fun. In the midst of life’s busyness, playtime often gets neglected. It is essential to prioritize play and create opportunities for our children to enjoy themselves. Equally important is our own happiness and enjoyment. If we are constantly engrossed in chores and errands, we may forget to cherish precious moments with our children. It is crucial to reassess our priorities and make time to savor these fleeting years.
Another pivotal question is whether our child is eating well. Rather than focusing on quantity, we should emphasize the quality of their diet. Are fruits and vegetables a significant part of their meals? Striking a balance is vital. While nutritional guidelines should be followed, it is also necessary to let our children indulge occasionally. Allowing them to taste cotton candy or relish their favorite treats in moderation can contribute to a healthy relationship with food.
Sufficient sleep is a fundamental aspect of a child’s well-being. Ensuring they get an adequate amount of sleep is crucial for their development and overall health. Sleep deprivation can hinder their growth and functioning, so it is vital to prioritize their sleep routine.
Learning is not limited to academic achievements. We should focus on whether our child is genuinely curious and excited to learn new things, whether it’s weaving or the names of dinosaurs. Instilling a love for learning will open their minds to endless possibilities and help cultivate a lifelong passion for knowledge.
Children need to learn how to manage stress effectively to navigate through life. Experiencing fear, failure, and developing grit are essential for their growth. Shielding them from all forms of stress deprives them of the opportunity to build resilience and learn coping mechanisms. It is vital to strike a balance, allowing them to face challenges while providing support and guidance.
Reflecting on our own behavior is equally necessary. Yelling at our children can have detrimental effects on both them and us. We must consider how we feel after yelling and how it impacts our child’s emotions. While it may feel like an effective way to convey our frustrations, there are more constructive ways to communicate.
Blaming our child for our emotions is another behavior to avoid. It is crucial to take ownership of our feelings and express them without putting the blame on our child. By using “I” statements to convey our emotions, we promote healthy communication and avoid unnecessary guilt in our children.
Praising our children is essential for building their confidence and self-esteem. Research suggests that it takes seven positive comments to counteract the effects of one negative remark. Therefore, we should strive to praise our children more frequently than we may think is necessary.
However, the focus of our praise should be on effort and resilience rather than intelligence or appearance. Praising a child solely for being smart or attractive can be detrimental to their ability to become resilient. By recognizing the effort they put into learning or achieving something, we encourage a growth mindset and a willingness to work through challenges.
As parents, it is crucial to remember that our child’s success is their own. We mustn’t project our unfulfilled dreams onto them. It is essential to support and guide them in their endeavors, allowing them to find their own path and fulfill their own aspirations.
We should strive to make our children feel important, respected, and happy every day. This goal should guide our actions and interactions with them. By actively considering how our actions contribute to their feelings, we can create a nurturing and positive environment.
Taking a moment to reflect on how we would spend our day differently if it were our last can provide valuable insights. Did we laugh with our children? Did we truly listen to them? We must seize every opportunity to create meaningful memories and establish deeper connections with our children.
Encouraging our child’s independence is crucial for their personal growth. As their pre-frontal cortex develops, we need to strike a balance between nurturing their independence and protecting them. Identifying tasks that our child can do for themselves and allowing them to take responsibility fosters their self-trust and autonomy.
Parenting with fear or seeking comfort can hinder our child’s growth. It is crucial to move towards what we want for our child rather than away from what we fear. This mindset empowers us to make proactive decisions and embrace challenges, ultimately fostering our child’s personal development.
We must evaluate whether we are part of the problem or part of the solution. By avoiding tasks or situations our child dislikes, we inadvertently encourage avoidance. Instead, we should be on their side, encouraging them to develop resilience, grit, and perseverance by facing challenges head-on.
Defining our most important role as a parent requires introspection. Understanding our values and aspirations for our children allows us to align our parenting methods with our goals. By consistently prioritizing our role, we can create a nurturing environment that fosters their growth and well-being.
Mistakes are inevitable, and as parents, we will undoubtedly make them. However, what matters is how we learn from these mistakes. Admitting our errors, learning from them, and moving forward is essential. Modeling this behavior for our children teaches them resilience and encourages the growth mindset necessary for personal development.
Finally, it is crucial to express gratitude for what we already have or do as parents. Reminding ourselves of the positive aspects of our parenting journey opens our minds to the possibility of discovering even more great things and opportunities.
In conclusion, parenting is an intricate and demanding job. By asking ourselves these important questions, we can continually evaluate our approach and strive to provide the best care for our children. Balancing their well-being, happiness, and independence while nurturing their growth is a lifelong journey that requires introspection, self-reflection, and continuous learning.