Numerous African-American guardians instruct their kids to adhere to certain guidelines and regulations, yet it can be challenging to ensure that our language and actions are consistent with those rules. This guide outlines strategies to help achieve this balance.
Through imitation and observation, children tend to absorb and learn important lessons better than when they are simply instructed on what to do or how to behave. The notion of dictating “Do as I say, not as I do” never quite sat well with many of us when we were children, and it still gives pause to many parents today. However, each new generation of parents gains more knowledge than the previous one and collaborates to improve their parenting style. Consequently, here are ten ways to enhance our parenting skills and serve as role models to our children by our everyday actions and activities, which is an especially significant objective in the new year
Get Outside and Play
When the weekend arrives and the phrase “I’m bored!” echoes through your home, don’t worry. Instead, gather your family and head outside for some physical activity. Take a stroll and transform it into an enjoyable nature hunt by gathering things from nature on your way. Play tag, ride bikes, or draw a hopscotch court on the pavement with chalk. You can also visit a farmer’s market to enlighten your children about nutrition and then pick up a few items to try out a new recipe as a family.
Make sure to plan a weekly family day dedicated to leisure activities that everyone can participate in, regardless of the weather. Dress appropriately for the season, whether it’s hot or cold, raining or shining, and spend some quality time together as a family, getting some much-needed vitamin D.
Pick up a New Hobby
During childhood, creativity and playtime seem to have no boundaries. However, as we grow older, we tend to shift our focus towards new hobbies. It is important to challenge ourselves to learn something new or rekindle an old favorite pastime. Rather than spending prolonged hours watching television, consider reading a new book or finishing one that you started before. If you have always wanted to try crocheting, seize the opportunity and give it a try. Participating in family hobbies, such as board games or puzzles, can also be a great way to bond. Additionally, experimenting with a new dessert recipe can be both fun and delicious. No matter what hobby you choose, remember to enjoy yourself.
Practice Conflict Resolution
Conflicts are inevitable in any relationship, even in the most robust ones. Regardless of whether it is a dispute among siblings, adults, or a parent and child, kids tend to imitate the conduct they witness. Therefore, it is essential to provide them with efficient conflict resolution techniques.
Dr. Cindy Duke, who is a renowned physician, podcaster and motivational speaker, advises that parents should begin by being attentive to their children’s needs. She suggests allowing them to have control over themselves and encouraging them to express their divergences in a respectful manner. Dr. Duke is America’s sole dual fertility expert and virologist and also talks about life, health, and female empowerment.
According to her, in the past, colonialism has led to the creation of a submissive personality among Black children. To address this issue, she suggests that an effective way to begin the process of healing from such trauma is by empowering the new generation with language skills.
Be Honest and Accountable
Although it is not mandatory to reveal to your kids about the additional cookie you had while they were asleep, we strongly recommend honesty as a fundamental value for creating trust. Even if your children may not be pleased with the news, it is essential to inform them if you cannot attend their event rather than surprising them by not showing up.
The most effective approach to establish trust between parent and child is through open and straightforward communication, especially during the formative years. Despite our efforts to be truthful, things can go awry, and our initial plans may fail. It is important to calmly and kindly clarify the situation, forgive yourself, and strive to make a greater effort in the future.
Be Kind to Yourself
Navigating life would be significantly easier if it were filled with only victories and accomplishments. As a parent, it can be equally exasperating to witness a child’s outburst of frustration. However, we often overlook the significance of controlling our own frustrations. Onyi Azih, a psychiatric physician assistant, entrepreneur, and mother, has a professional and personal objective to make discussions about mental health a normality.
As a mental health practitioner, a mother, and a Black woman, I am embarking on a personal journey of self-care and nourishment, and I am bringing my patients and children on this journey with me,” she shares. She suggests saying positive affirmations with your kids as a reminder that you are deserving of love, success, and self-appreciation. “We teach our children to be gentle and compassionate with themselves,” Azih notes, “but it is an essential lesson for parents to learn as well.”
Expressing gratitude is not limited to Thanksgiving, it can be shown at any time. As parents, it is our daily responsibility to remind our children to use polite words such as “please” and “thank you”. However, it is equally important to demonstrate gratitude through our actions. We should lead by example and teach our children the significance of being thankful. One way to do this is by creating a letter or drawing for a loved one, expressing our gratitude in a specific way. We must always keep in mind that no matter how small, every act of kindness is deserving of appreciation. Mealtimes can also be a great opportunity to express our thankfulness for each family member.
Get More Rest
As children grow older, they often resist the notion of sleep, unaware that they will eventually crave it in their later years. Even if you struggle to get your children to actually fall asleep during nap time, taking the time to slow down both your body and mind can be beneficial in resetting yourself. When it comes time to rest, switch off the lights and lay down for at least half an hour. Dr. Duke strongly promotes resetting our bodies to achieve optimal health.
According to the speaker, our physical and mental states are interconnected and interdependent. It is important for people of all ages to take time to calm their minds and allow their bodies to undergo internal maintenance. The speaker suggests that listening to gentle music during this quiet period may enhance the experience, and if necessary, parents can encourage their children to play with quiet toys to extend the rest time. The speaker emphasizes that rest should not be viewed as a negative experience, but rather as an opportunity to recharge our energy levels for the rest of the day.
Talk About Your Feelings
This could be considered the most important item on our agenda. Youngsters are exposed to the intricacies of the world from an early age. Although some of their encounters may be thrilling, certain activities might be too much for them to handle. Nevertheless, children are not naturally skilled in expressing their emotions, so it’s the responsibility of their reliable caregivers to instruct them.
Encourage emotional expression in your children by discussing your own emotions with them. It’s possible that you had a difficult day at work or a draining interaction with someone you care about. Alternatively, you could simply be tired and more easily annoyed than usual. Take the time to articulate your emotions using descriptive language, and then invite your child to do the same. Remember that emotions, whether happy, sad, or angry, are a natural part of life at any age.
Drink More Water
Parents often spend a lot of time reminding their kids to drink water by constantly refilling their sippy cups and water bottles from morning to night. However, it’s surprising how easily we forget to hydrate ourselves. Instead of just instructing our children to drink water, we should demonstrate it to them.According to Dr. Duke, we generally don’t feel thirsty until we’re already dehydrated. Thus, it’s a good idea to set a reminder to drink water regularly. When you give your child a cup of cold water, make sure to pour one for yourself as well.
Take a moment to mindfully sip water with your children before embarking on your next activity.
Give Yourself Grace
As parents, we take on many roles such as being teachers, leaders, chauffeurs, chefs, and referees. And at times, we have to fulfill all of these responsibilities simultaneously! However, Azih reminds us that we should try our best and not be too hard on ourselves. Parenting is not about being perfect, but being present and cherishing the moments we have with our children. Although parents dedicate themselves to ensuring their children remain happy, safe, and supported, sometimes we falter. After a long day, we may become overwhelmed and react impulsively. Demanding a game of “I Spy” at dinner after a day of adulting is quite a challenge.
According to Dr. Duke, we often feel pressure to excel in every aspect of our lives – work, relationships, parenting, and more. This can lead to feelings of loneliness and neglect. It’s important to remember that it’s okay to feel overwhelmed and to ask for assistance if necessary. Take a moment to pause, even if it’s just for a few minutes, and remind yourself that you are doing your best. Then, return to parenting with renewed energy and finish strong. Don’t forget to give yourself and others grace – you are a super awesome human being.
As a parent, you act as a leader and role model for your children. To ensure they develop into mature and healthy adults, it’s important to demonstrate the same behaviors you expect from them. Every day presents opportunities to teach your children that it’s alright to make mistakes, but it’s important to always strive to be your best. While this can be challenging, having good intentions and providing guidance can have a significant impact in the long run.