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3 ways to be a better parent


May 3, 2023 Parent-Child Relationship


Par Stefanny Trudeau

Our children are the focus of our thoughts and concerns. In the blink of an eye, they become our priority. So much so that, at times, it's easy to lose ourselves in our role as parents.  

Take care of yourself is probably the phrase most often heard by parents. This suggestion, offered with good intentions, suggests that parents try to redirect more of their time, attention, and priorities towards themselves. So, how can we do this?  

Our parenting is a mirror 

Knowing that our children's behaviors and attitudes reflect our parenting can add a layer of stress. If the desire to be a caring, understanding, empathetic, and gentle parent guides our parenting philosophy, we must fill our own reservoir to be able to offer this to our children. 

These parents are ready to offer their child the best. What if we want to give them the best version of ourselves? Our best version is solidified through the ability to take care of ourselves and put ourselves first.  

Of course, for some parents, making themselves a priority and keeping it that way is relatively easy. For some, finding this balance requires an adjustment. And for other parents, it may be challenging to even imagine.  

Parental Confidence 

Parental confidence is rooted in the parent's ability to see, recognize, and value themselves as an individual.  

Consider an example of a parent analyzing the difficult day they had with their child. The way the parent feels and sees himself or herself can indicate where he or she is in their parenting journey.  

If the parent devalues and criticizes themselves, it is likely that the parent is having difficulty prioritizing themselves. Conversely, a parent who is able to prioritize, would see beyond the difficult day and remain confident in their approach.  

Moreover, if our own mental or physical health is weakened, it can be easy to forget ourselves and stop doing things that make us feel good. It is important to remember that a parent's way of being influences their relationship with their child and their child's behaviour. And children repeat what they see (rather than what they are told!). 

Parenting skills 

We only have control over ourselves. And since our children are imitating us, what better way to improve than to lead by example. Here are 3 parenting (and interpersonal) skills that influence our own well-being and that of those around us. 

  • Knowledge 
  • Know-how 
  • Knowing how to be (interpersonal skills) 

1. Knowledge 

Knowledge refers to our understanding. In this case, understanding how to take time for ourselves and how it affects our mental, physical and emotional health in all areas of our lives. This knowledge can help put things into perspective and help us realize when we are neglecting our time for self-care. 

2. Know-how 

Know-how is the set of skills and abilities that facilitate the implementation of actions aimed at putting ourselves first. This can take many forms. It can be a calendar displaying family and individual activities, setting aside time inside or outside the house, planning an outing, etc.  

Know-how refers directly to feeling competent and empowered to take care of oneself. Despite the ups and downs of life, a parent who knows how to prioritize (know-how) and understands the importance of it (knowledge) will maintain their self-care activities. Thus, the parent has more confidence to act or not to act, beyond the possible pitfalls. 

3. Knowing how to be 

Soft skills refer to a person's attitude, reactions, and communication skills. Indeed, communication is an essential tool that is at the heart of our relationships.  

The better we communicate, the better our needs, desires, limits, and interests are known and understood by others.  

Optimal communication provides a solid foundation to ensure that there are fewer emotional or other outbursts. Developing your emotional intelligence is an important asset for valuing yourself, validating yourself, and valuing your needs.   

Be an inspiring role model 

If these skills are demonstrated by the parent, it is very likely that the child will follow and be inspired by them. Being a parent brings out the best (and sometimes the worst!) in us. By taking the time to develop and maintain the best of ourselves, our children will have access to an emotionally, psychologically, and physically nurtured parent.  

This self-love will transfer to your relationship with your child. We hope that taking the time to care for yourself will be a priority for you! 

Reference (in French)

Alpabem, Atelier de communication