“My parents suffered from that ideal of a perfect nuclear family. They found that a difficult pressure, I think.”
Most parents worry far too much about being perfect, and they always blame themselves when kids get into trouble or end up with emotional issues. The main reason is that family, school, peer, and media pressure is relentless. So, let us look at practical ways you can be a better parent without tearing your hair out or having a nervous breakdown. Here are 13 ways you can be a better parent.
1. Spend more time with your kids.
No, you don’t want to get away from them; you want to give them some more prime time. In the UK, parents have to work the longest hours in Europe and try to make up for it by buying their kids the latest electronic devices. Not a good idea! Here are ways you can spend more time with your kids:
- Try to make meal times an event when you can be together. No devices. Just talk and listen to your kids.
- Organize collecting kids with other friends and neighbours so you have more time for yourself.
- Get your groceries delivered, organize cleaning the house better by assigning chores to the kids and giving rewards.
2. Stop worrying so much about the kids’ diet.
Healthy eating is a great idea! The only problem is that it takes time to get organized, and then you have to revolutionize everybody’s diet. This can be far too stressful and often expensive too. Just introduce a few healthier eating habits so that you do not have to do all that planning.Advertising
Make sure that junk food is never bought in large quantities. Encourage kids to get into smoothies by asking them to invent them or help you make them. Use nuts, fruit and chocolate as snacks. Banning certain foods in one fell swoop is never a good idea. Just introduce healthy eating on a gradual basis.
3. Forget yelling—there are quieter ways.
When kids are yelled at, screamed at, insulted, and threatened, it has a negative impact on their development—this is bad parenting and is just another form of child abuse. It is shocking to realize that 1 in 8 children are abused at some point before they reach the age of eighteen. That is the US average, and it’s quite scary. One Princeton psychiatrist has noted that the maltreatment of children is swept under the carpet far too often.
There are plenty of methods you can adopt to avoid getting into a yelling match. Here are my favorites:
- Use time out yourself and walk away.
- Use a pause button technique and tell the kid you will talk about it later.
- Know that you don’t have to attend every fight you are invited to.
- Agree with the child when they protest that something is unfair or far too difficult. Displaying empathy is always a good idea.
- Establish clear rules on unacceptable insults and name calling.
4. Are your kids doing too much?
Maybe your kids are overscheduled. They are dashing (and you are the taxi driver) from sports, piano lessons and choir practice. If this is the case, you may want to restrict a few of the activities. You can cut out anything that interferes with eating together, for example. Then you can have the music teacher come to your home instead of you dashing around and polluting the atmosphere with petrol fumes.
5. What example are you setting?
“Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.”
Time for some difficult questions. Are you likely to curse and swear at stupid drivers in front of your kids? Do you lie for convenience sake when you want to avoid an appointment? If we want our kids to be honest, to show respect for others, and to grow up as balanced, empathetic persons, then we have to make sure that the role we are setting is in line with what we preach.
6. Do fun things together.
Weekends should be dedicated to going out, doing sports and any form of physical exercise or anything which is fun. The great advantage of doing exercise is that you get the benefit of the released endorphins, which will put you in a great mood. In addition, kids are able to concentrate better after doing sports. This is great for getting homework done in record time.
7. Are you spoiling your kids?
Spoiling kids could mean simply that you are continuing to treat them like babies and you are being over-protective. One solution for not spoiling is to actually talk about behavior as they get older. Asking them about why they behave in a certain way can be an eye opener. Also explain that material possessions are far less important than being a caring, honest and tolerant person.
8. Don’t parent like your own parents.
Far too often, parents try to redress the wrongs they suffered during their own upbringing. If they were deprived of material possessions, they tend to lavish gifts on their offspring. At times, this can backfire and the child may see this as invasive and over the top. Other times, being showered with presents can make a child feel entitled to everything they want and is the worst possible lesson on how to approach work and relationships.Advertising
9. Don’t worry too much about peer pressure.
Parents always think that peer pressure is likely to lead to negative behavior. But have you considered how it can also positively affect motivation and a healthy competitive edge in academic and sports achievements? It may not necessarily always be a bad thing.
10. Get social media into perspective.
Yes, it is extremely irritating to see kids and teens texting all the time and being glued to their devices. There are a few simple practical things you can do to limit this. Banning such activity is out of the question.
The best way is to set a good example. When you arrive home, make sure that your own mobile is turned off and that you can give kids your full attention. Also, make sure that during mealtimes, all devices are switched off.
The good news is that teens who text all the time are also likely to be just as socially active in the real world. Australian research on 100,000 teens who were texting all the time found that 80% were following this up with real social interaction.
11. There are no perfect kids either.
Too often, we set our sights too high and we want our children to be well behaved, do well academically, and be great at sports too. In addition, they have to be polite, kind, and clean! We should lower our standards and be prepared for normal kids who are going to spill things and lose their tempers just like we do at times.Advertising
12. How can you improve?
Ask your kids! That is what the guy who runs Single Dad Laughing website did. He asked the kids how parents could do better. Some fascinating and really funny answers here! They want to watch TV shows in their underpants, would like apple slices cut straighter and also want him to stop asking questions as the answers will all be posted on his Facebook page!
13. Guide your children
There is far too much emphasis on consequences and punishment and toeing the line. The best way is to guide rather than punish. Parents can spot triggers and avoid situations that are likely to lead to trouble. It is also useful to empathize with kids when they are mad, but point out that verbal communication is what it is all about.
Last but not least, promise yourself that you can easily be a better parent and do not be discouraged by the so-called perfect parents you see at your kids’ school every day. Commit yourself by starting to make small changes every day. Achieving mini goals is what it is all about. When you do, pat yourself on the back and tell yourself that you are going to be a great parent.
Have you set some goals for yourself in the parenting adventure? Tell us about them in the comments below.
Featured photo credit: Happy Family/David Amsler via flickr.comAdvertising
Last Updated on January 11, 2021
11 Hidden Benefits of Using Oil Diffusers
Affordable, relaxing, and healthy, oil diffusers are gaining popularity with people everywhere due to their extensive benefits. Oil diffusers work through the simple process of oil diffusion, which uses heat to turn oil into a vapor that is then spread around a living space. Diffused oil can have several relaxation and health-related benefits, including safe scent-dispersion, mosquito and mold defense, stress relief, and more!
Read on for 11 hidden benefits of using oil diffusers.
1. Safe Scents That Make Sense
Unlike candles or air fresheners, oil diffusers release cleansing molecules into your air that work to purify it, not overload it with unhealthy chemicals. Electronic diffusers also do not pose the fire risk that candles do. Plus, they contain the added feature of interchangeability, which means you change oil types for different scents and health benefits.
2. Stress Relief
Several lab studies have confirmed that diffusing essential oils like lavender have been shown to reduce stress and help relieve anxiety in medical patients. Preliminary studies have also shown that oil diffusers can help alleviate symptoms of depression.
3. Improved Sleep
Diffused oil has relaxing properties that can help people of all ages fall asleep quicker and sleep more soundly. Electronic diffusers not only have the option to mix and match different oil blends (Try a lavender, Bulgarian rose, and Roman chamomile blend to help with insomnia), they also run at a gentle hum that helps relax an agitated mind. Many also come with an auto shut-off feature to help conserve oils once you have fallen asleep.
4. Appetite Control
Much like gum, oil diffusers can help stimulate the senses in a way that works to curb appetite. New research has shown that diffused peppermint oil can help curb appetite by inducing a satiety response within the body. Diffused peppermint oil has also been shown to increase energy.
5. Bacteria and Mold Killing
When essential oils are diffused in the air, they break down free radicals that contribute to the growth of harmful bacteria. Eucalyptus, thyme, and tea tree oils are especially good for this purpose. Diffused oil is also highly effective when it comes to combating fungal yeast threats, as the oil help makes the air inhospitable for yeasts such as mold. Pine and red thyme essential oils are best for combating mold.
6. Decongestion and Mucus Control
Ever tried Vick’s Vapo-Rub? Its decongesting powers come from active ingredients made from the eucalyptus tree. In principle, oil diffusers work the same way as Vapo-Rub, except they diffuse their decongesting vapor all around the room, not just on your chest or neck. Oil diffusers have been known to cure pneumonia in lab mice.
7. Mosquito Repellant
Nobody likes mosquitoes — but when the trade-off means using repellants full of DEET, a toxic chemical that can be especially harmful to children, mosquito control can often seem like a lose-lose. However, scientists have shown that oil diffusers can be used as a safe and highly effective mosquito repellant. Studies have shown that a diffused oil mixture containing clove essential oil and lemongrass essential oil repelled one type of Zika-carrying mosquito, the Aedes aegypti mosquito, at a rate of 100%.
8. Pain Relief
While applying oils directly to areas of your body may be the most effective way to alleviate pain, diffusing essential oils can also be an effective means of pain relief. When we inhale healthy essential oils, they enter our blood stream and can help internally relieve persistent pain from headaches, overworked muscles, and sore joints.
9. The New Anti-Viral
Research into the anti-viral effects of oil diffusion is now just gaining steam. A recent study showed that star anise essential oil was proven in medical experiments to destroy the herpes simplex virus in contained areas at a rate of 99%. Another study showed the popular DoTerra oil blend OnGuard to have highly-effective influenza-combating powers.
10. Improved Cognitive Function
Diffusing essential oils has also been shown to improve cognitive function. Many essential oils have adaptogenic qualities, which can work twofold in soothing us when we’re stressed, and giving our bodies a pick-me-up when we’re feeling down or sluggish. By working to level out an imbalanced mood, diffused oils also help us to focus. There are also several essential oils which have been shown to help balance the body’s hormones. With prolonged use, these oils can work to repair the underlying causes responsible for hindering cognitive function.
11. Money Saving
With ten clear benefits of oil diffusers already outlined, there is one more that should now be obvious: using an oil diffuser will help you to save money. As an anti-viral, bug repelling, and stress-relief solution rolled into one safe product, an oil diffuser used with the proper oils will save you money on products you might otherwise be buying to help cure those pesky headaches or get your kids to fall asleep on time. If you’re wondering just how affordable oil diffusers can be, check the buyer’s guide to the best oil diffusers — you’ll be sure to find one that fits your budget!
Featured photo credit: Jopeel Quimpo via unsplash.com