Do’s and don’ts lists are so helpful. They are typically somewhat short, sweet, and to the point. They provide direct and clear guidance on what can and cannot be done in a situation, or rather what should or shouldn’t be done.
For example, at the beginning of a school year, students are told the classroom rules which are made up of many do’s and many don’ts. When you play a sport, once again, you have your do’s and your don’ts of what is allowed during the game and what is not. In the workplace, you probably signed a form when you were hired which stated that you would adhere to the company’s policies, including their do’s and don’ts.
We have been exposed and forced to comply with do’s and don’ts our whole lives. Since we were born we’ve had someone, a guardian, informing us of the ways of the world; including what is required of us, what we can and can’t do, and when and where we can or can’t do it.
Well, parenting is no different. There are many do’s and don’ts when it comes to parenting. For many of us, we hold the same do’s and don’ts, but for some of us the rules may vary.
I do believe, however, that there are some universal do’s and don’ts that the majority of us would subscribe too.
Here are some of those universal do’s and don’ts for parenting:
• Do tell your children that you love them all of the time.
• Do be affectionate towards your children, often.
• Do respect your children’s choices and boundaries.
• Do foster your child’s independence.
• Do inspire and encourage your child to be the best version of themselves.
• Do push them slightly, so that they are comfortable with challenging themselves.
• Do give them praise.
• Do give them age-appropriate rules.
• Do try to be their emotion coach.
• Do take time to think about how you respond to your child’s negative behavior before just reacting.
• Do give them the attention that they so need and deserve.
• Do help them when help is needed, but encourage them to learn by doing.
• Do encourage them to be curious, to ask questions.
• Do let them have an opinion and the opportunity to express it.
• Do provide them with opportunities for growth — physical, intellectual, and emotional.
• Do meet their needs throughout their whole life — even through adulthood.
• Don’t stifle their individuality.
• Don’t try to make them simply comply to your every command.
• Don’t ever hurt them physically or with your words.
• Don’t interrupt them when they are speaking.
• Don’t make them feel powerless.
• Don’t ever berate them.
• Don’t ever let them feel like they are alone.
• Don’t force them to be affectionate if they do not want to.
• Don’t ask them “what’s wrong with you?” because the answer is nothing is wrong with them.
• Don’t mistake gifts and rewards as a substitute for quality time spent with them.
• Don’t forget that you chose this life of parenthood, and that you need to give them every ounce of your love every single day.
• Don’t ever give up on your child.
Most lists are never exhaustive and neither is this one. I could go on and on, and list many more universal do’s and don’ts, but for now I feel that this covers the basics.
Print this out. Put this list on your fridge or keep it handy. It is a good reference sheet for each morning or evening to confirm that you are approaching this whole parenthood thing in the most constructive and productive way.
A version of this post was originally posted on Jthreenme.com and is republished here with permission from the author.
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