As I look back over my previous job history, I think one of the most stressful and rewarding moments was on-the-job training. It was stressful because a part of me wanted to get everything right straight out the gate. In the back of my mind, a small part of me, wanted my trainer to know that I was competent, intelligent and a good fit for the job. It was rewarding as I began to practice knowing I had support and guidance. I ultimately became familiar with the way things worked.

One job that continues to be an ongoing training ground, is our parenting. Every stage from birth to adulthood, we are in a constant state of wanting to get everything right. We do not want to look like a parent that does not have it together. After all, who wants to look, act, and appear as the “trainee,” or worse “the new guy.”  The good news is just like our job example, the more we practice, the more support we surround ourselves with, the more familiar and confident we become as parents along the way.

Are there any tips, secrets or steps that can help us become a more confident parent? There is.  With years of coaching and training hundreds of parents through we have discovered 5-steps that can guide you to becoming the best model for raising children that will not only survive but thrive in society.

1. Practice Discipline First

When it comes to our children, it makes it easier to parent if we establish discipline. This term has taken many forms depending on the generation you were raised. Some adults remember getting hit with switches and cords; others recall getting hit by bare hands. Then as time evolved, time-out became popular; offering your child choices with consequences and of course there has always been “punishment” or “being grounded.” Experts say the best way to understand how to discipline our children is by understanding where they are developing at each stage of their life.

Research has shown that discipline can be very effective if done with the right motives, objectives, and approach. Over the course of our coaching, we have challenged parents to look at the root of discipline that leads to the right action in guiding your child toward the correct path. We have challenged them to go a step deeper, to start with order.

Order is the structure you establish that allows learning and growth through freedom within limits. It is important, at the earliest age possible, to show your child that everything has a place and there is a place for everything. Toys go in toy boxes, dishes go in the sink, trash goes into garbage cans, etc. Even teaching them to understand everyday life things, like money goes in a wallet or bank; clean clothes go in drawers or on hangers can begin to help them understand discipline.

When things are in order, we can make the next logical step. Order sets a system in place that leads us to being more efficient and more productive. As a routine is set in our minds, we naturally follow up with logical action.  Other benefits you can look forward to are facilitating life skills, making life choices with confidence, setting and achieve goals.

In starting with discipline, consider beginning with order. Order offers your child the opportunity to build confidence in living independently down the line. Even for you, as a parent, practicing and modeling order yourself establishes a peaceful, supportive and safe environment for your life and family.

2. Model Good Relationships

We all have had our share of dealing with and handling relationships in our life. There is no way around it. Relationships, started with our parents, then with our siblings, then friends, co-workers, spouses and our children. Relationships are everywhere and unavoidable.

Life may have already shown us that some relationships are toxic, some are healthy and long- lasting and others are at a level you can tolerate. To help our children, have a fighting chance at healthy, long-lasting relationships, we need to adapt new skills to modeling good relationships in front of them. Depending where we are in life or how we view relationships, this can be a challenge. However, there are some key things we can focus on that can help us, help our children.

There are primary six areas that need our attention and that we can focus on pertaining to relationships. They are communication, appreciation, respect, sharing, involvement, and love. When it comes to communication, the simple approach here is to over-communicate. Find a way to say the same thing in a different way.

Appreciation and respect fall under the idea of being selfless. In a relationship, decide not to take for granted the people connected to you and their contribution in your life. This applies to every person involved in the relationship.

Sharing and Involvement is a “participation sport.” This is the part where as parents, we must be all in. We model sharing when we reveal how our experiences have shaped us, our emotions are affecting us and what our energy at, any given time, is telling us. Share these with your children; let them see that you are a real person.

Love, oh love.  Unfortunately, love has been reduced from its original intent of what it was designed to be…and become. As parents, we must practice showing love in front of our children and with them in the healthiest possible ways.  In faith, I encourage people to treat others the way God treats them. Once you figure out how you want to be treated or realize how good God treats you, who would not want to follow your example. Our children certainly would.

3. Learn to Teach from Your Knowledge, Skills and Experience

In the movie Taken, starring Liam Neeson, one of the lines that became popular is, “If you are looking for ransom I can tell you I don’t have money, but what I do have are a very particular set of skills. Skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now that’ll be the end of it.” I love it! There is no misunderstanding here. It is clear, direct, and you have your warning.

Our parenting has come with a very particular set of skills too. These are skills that you have acquired over a lifetime; skills that can become a nightmare for our children or an asset to them.  We have a responsibility to share our experiences, so that our children gain real world experiences themselves.

Look at it as a recipe. It is taking your knowledge, incidents of your past, your heartaches, life lessons, memories, joys, your weaknesses and strengths and putting it to a dish called collaborative learning. This is the type of learning where teaching and learning takes place together.

Every time, we allow ourselves to teach from our experience, we learn twice. We get to see how we have grown, how resilient we are, what we have acquired over the years, that we have matured and how to deal with life’s obstacles. Our children definitely need these skills to survive in society.

There may be some things in our past that we are not proud of. We all share a closet where the skeletons live, but finding a way to look at those moments  and learning from them, not only will change the way we make decisions now, but it will help show our children a better way, and encourage them to make better decisions for a greater path of success in life.

4. Adjust Your Attitude

This is where it gets a little hairy. Adjusting our attitudes. In coaching parents, this is where they get stuck. I get it. Depending on the hand life has dealt us, depending on what we had to overcome personally, and of course, depending on the children we have, our attitude has been affected.  Though, we cannot control anything that happens to us, outside of us, we can control how we respond and react to those things.

Our attitude in our parenting is more than just our mood or our feelings. It is the approach to our mood and feelings. It is not just having an emotion, it is our mindset and the position we take in dealing with offense, conflict and situations, people and life in general.

There are a lot of factors that affect our attitude in parenting. The range is vast as it can be affected by the other parent, our upbringing, other family members or our children themselves. The key is to find the healthy balance and control only what is within you.

In our group coaching workshops, we teach making the exchange with your emotions. Exchanging any negative or unproductive emotions with the emotions you want to experience. Doing this, making the exchange for your emotions, helps build a better attitude. It affects how you speak and what you say when you speak; not just what you do, but how you do it.

Long gone are the days, where are children should do what we say, not what we do. Today, research is showing us that our child is more likely to follow our physical examples first and then connecting those actions to our words.

Become aware of any negative emotions or behaviors that are not serving you. Positioning ourselves as a bully, a mad person, or a person who cannot control their environment, space or being sends the message that our children can do the same. Adjusting our attitude in our parenting takes a lot of work, but if our children can glean the best parts of us through this process, it’s worth it.

5. Manage Your Most Valuable Resources

At first glance, when we think of what we consider “valuable resources,” we could easily assume it is unique to each family and person. Maslow’s Law shows us our basic human needs. Although there are variations of what this may mean to you and me, what it boils down to is health, wealth and relationships.

Health includes our fitness and our overall wellbeing. It involves our spiritual, mental, physical and emotional health. Wealth speaks to our security and our prosperity. Relationships are our connection, sense our belonging and identity.

In all these areas, we have a responsibility to take care of what we have possession over. We are given opportunities to maintain what exists in our lives. We should intentionally take time for our self-care; ensure that money is working for us, and constantly find new ways to love, forgive and exist with others all around us, especially in our families.

Keeping these five tips in mind and practicing them as often as you can, will lead you to becoming a more confident parent, in turn producing confident children, who later will become confident adults.

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