While it might be obvious, many parents did not realize that loving your child holds the ultimate key towards a successful parenting. This sentiment is also echoed by a psychologist called Paul Gilligan that spent 25 years of his life working as a clinical psychologist with children and teenagers.
Gilligan said that children who love themselves and is loved by their parents will have a much healthier sense of emotional well-being as well as a stronger psychological resilience. He added that loving your child is the essence of emotional well-being.
However, Gilligan also understands that it’s hard to juggle between work and family while living in the modern world. That’s why on his new book, Raising Emotionally Healthy Children, Gilligan wrote some tips that could help parents to achieve a successful parenting.
1. Teach positive discipline
Some of you might be confused about the connection between loving your child and positive discipline. However, to make the child feel good about themselves, it’s necessary to make them learn how to obey rules and control their behavior.
What Gilligan mean as positive discipline is not a punishment-based discipline as it would instead create difficulties in parent-child relationship. For Gillian, the discipline parents should strive for is the one that could foster self-belief in their child, and to make them feel good about themselves and encourage them to see the good in other person or their peers.
2. Spend time with your child as much as they need
There are many parents that Gilligan met during his research that are really hung-up about the “quality time” they spend with their kids. For Gilligan, parents should stop feeling guilty of not spending enough time with their child and instead try to include the time spent with the child into their daily lives.
This activity can vary from simple things such as letting them help us with cleaning, going out to buy groceries while chatting on the way there, or simply having dinner together and talk about their day and yours.
For Gilligan, the best time spent together isn’t once a week where you could have an intense talk, but the one integral to daily living where kids can interact with their parents and enjoying it.
3. Express your love for them
There is nothing simpler in loving your child than expressing your love to them.
While it sounds simple and easy, showing your kids that you love them as much as you could make a big difference in building their self-belief and self-esteem. It doesn’t matter what age they are, they would love to hear someone say they love them. They want to believe that they are loved.
And nothing is better than telling and showing them exactly that.
4. Listening and communicating
Gillian wrote in his book that the most effective way to teach children to feel good about themselves is by listening and communicating with them genuinely, honestly, and constructively.
What he means by this is that it’s important for parents to pay attention to their child’s actions and behaviors, because often times this is how they would express what they are feeling.
If we could be a great listener when they are young, they will learn that when they have a problem, we are there to listen to them. And by learning that, they will be much more likely to talk to us when they grow older.
By loving your child, you are not only showing them that they are wanted, but you are also telling them that you are there to not only be their parents but also as their friends. You are reinforcing that it’s okay for your child to tell their worries to you.
And for the child, nothing is more reassuring than having their parents be there for them.