Anyone that knows me, knows that the topic of children is dear to my heart. My life changed completely when Noah came into this world.
Now I don’t know if I’m a poster child for being a great dad, I’ve only got the one little guy…but I’m not gonna lie, he’s a pretty amazing kid.
I’m always learning new ways to be a better dad though, and thought I’d share a few things that I feel are important when it comes to parenting.
When I’m with my son I make a conscious effort to be there with him and not get distracted by other things.
I don’t check my social media, my phone goes away and everything else comes secondary when I’m with Noah.
He gets my absolute and undivided attention – I believe the greatest gift we can give our kids is presence. Because the reality is, who knows what tomorrow will bring.
My son is four, but it feels like it was just yesterday that he was born. Time really does fly when you’re having fun, so I’m very conscious of the fact that it won’t be long until he’s off doing other stuff.
I think about this every day, I literally think, I don’t know how much time I’m going to have with him and that could be in relation to something happening to me, or something happening to him…there are so many unforeseen circumstances that could arise that no one can predict with any level of accuracy.
I am always reminding myself that if I’m with him today, I might not be tomorrow, and that on some level might sound morbid but when you have died nearly seven or eight times, you have a different perspective on life, and mortality, but more importantly the things that matter to you.
I’m very grateful for this perspective because every day that I’m with Noah, I literally look at him in awe and I wander in his beauty, and I’m just very grateful.
Calm and assertive leadership
Secondly, when I give Noah corrections or directions, I do it calmly and assertively.
I always do my best not to get angry (not that I have never gotten angry, I have). But I like to place a high emphasis on using tone.
So, instead of saying, “No, no, no don’t do that,” in a flimsy way.
I very sternly say, “Noah, no”.
It’s not getting angry but it’s using a deeper level of tone because that signals a part of the brain that makes them pay attention. That’s why police officers are trained to talk in a lower octave – so people pay attention and take them more seriously when it comes to listening and following direction.
Children require a level of calm assertive leadership. And the reason I’m referring to leadership when it comes to corrections is because when kids are kids, they don’t know what’s good, they don’t know what’s bad – they look to us to determine the things that they should be doing and the things that they shouldn’t be doing.
The challenge however is that a lot of them want to do the things that they shouldn’t be doing because that provokes the biggest response from their parents.
So, it’s our responsibility as parents to be conscious of how we respond to things, as well as being conscious of the attention we put on things.
Because I know for me, the more attention I pay and the more corrections I give Noah about hitting, the more he wants to hit. Whereas if I make the corrections fewer and further in-between, but stronger using tone, and focus on the behaviours that I do want to see in him, you know, he typically hits people and me, less and less.
Regulating emotions consciously
And lastly, we owe it to our kids to learn how to regulate emotionally.
We owe it to our kids to regulate in a very conscious and deliberate way, not only the emotions that come up for us but also the stress that we experience, because kids are incredibly instinctive and intuitive and I’m convinced that they have this ability to pick up on our energy regardless of the words that we are saying.
So, we might be saying all the right things, but if we’re internally wrapped up in some level of anxiety or stress or there’s some emotional flux going on that’s being stimulated by something external to us, then they are going to pick up on that, and it’s going to affect them.
So there you have it, three tips for more deliberate and intentional parenting. I hope that was helpful. While you’re here, flick me a message in the comments below – I’d love to know what parenting techniques you use that have made a difference in your child’s life?