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How to Be a Good Parent When You Are Busy

Author:

Ravi Rajan is a software program director working in India. He writes articles on management, relationships and good parenting.

A good parent as anyone who inculcates good behavior in his child irrespective of how busy he or she is. Spending quality time with kids is not that tough as you think.

A good parent as anyone who inculcates good behavior in his child irrespective of how busy he or she is. Spending quality time with kids is not that tough as you think.

What Is Good Parenting All About?

You know the checkout scenario:

You are an overwhelmed entrepreneur or a busy executive or even a stressed developer. And you have a lovely child to whom you are not able to devote time. Chances are that you are feeling damn guilty about it and the guilt is constantly playing on the back of your mind. Every day you are asking yourself “Am I depriving her of my love? Am I being selfish?”

Then, one day you plan a day out with her to indulge her to the maximum and compensate her. She goes out with you and wants this toy. It is expensive; you cringe and try to reason with her. NOOOO! The crying starts, escalating into a full-blown tantrum. You give in finally, but it leaves a bad taste in the aftermath.

What is wrong here?

Let us start with your beliefs. It is a myth that children who have a working parent are automatically more deprived than children who have a stay-at-home parent. And children usually tend to get influenced by the attitudes of their parents.

So, if you are feeling guilty that you are depriving them, they will develop a victim mentality and play on your guilt to get special privileges from you. On the other hand, if you have an optimistic, courageous attitude, your children will be influenced and will learn from you.

That is why Laurence Steinberg, Ph.D. author of the bestselling book The Ten Basic Principles of Good Parenting aptly defines a good parent as anyone who inculcates good behavior in his child irrespective of how busy he or she is.

Good parenting helps foster empathy, honesty, self-reliance, self-control, kindness, cooperation, and cheerfulness. It also promotes intellectual curiosity, motivation, and desire to achieve. It helps protect children from developing anxiety, depression, eating disorders, anti-social behavior, and alcohol and drug abuse.”

So, give up the belief that you need to make up for not giving enough time. Present the circumstances with a positive attitude and convey the message “This is how it is, and this is what I am going to be to be a good parent.” With a clearer view of the issues you’re facing, and with specific approaches for managing them, you will be better able to succeed at work and be the inspiring father you want to be at home.

And here are some ways to go about it.

Avoid Distracted Parenting

Avoid Distracted Parenting

Avoid Distracted Parenting

One of the worst things you can do as a parent is to talk to your boss while playing with your child.

As Katherine Reynolds Lewis, who spent five years studying the most effective ways to help children learn for her book The Good News About Bad Behavior. says.

“We're all so distracted by our phones. That’s bad because we're not doing our children any good if we're physically with them but mentally elsewhere.”

Children require dedicated time and you need to make sure that you have scheduled special time for you and your child to count on and look forward to. If the phone rings during the special time, there is no shame in saying “Sorry, this is Amolika’s dedicated time, I can’t talk to you right now. “The smile you will see on Amolika’s face and the transformation that comes along with your approach is literally priceless.

Children feel special when they know that time with them is as important to you as all your other appointments and tasks. And when you are too busy during other times, you can always say “Hey, I am a bit busy now but looking forward to our special time.”

Remember the key is to be a good parent is to be both mentally and physically present with them. It will not work if you are mentally somewhere else and only physically with them. Children are smart; they know it when you are not listening to them.

Prioritize Your Life

Prioritize Your Life

Prioritize Your Life

Prioritizing life is not a “good-to-have” or productivity feature. If you don’t do it, others (including other things also !) will do it for you. So, take control of your life.

Start with two simple questions.

  • What do I want?
  • What is standing in my way?

The above two questions force you to be brutally honest with yourself and clear your mind of any excuses you might think to justify your actions. Perhaps you long to spend more quality time with your kids or with your significant other.

This may be the wakeup call that you need to streamline your emails, put down your phone, or cut back on your work hours. Maybe you really miss painting or playing the guitar or even that Saturday morning trek to the hills.

You need to decide what is most important for you and then filter obligations through your personal lens to decide the best for your kids. When you say “yes” to one activity, you are saying “no” to something else because you cannot do it all.

So that golf club chitchat with your friend versus your daughter’s 1st grade performance; you need to decide. Helping your daughter on an important science assignment versus a hangout with an old friend; you again need to decide. There are endless opportunities to cut and prioritize your life.

Remember saying no does not make you a bad person. It only means you have a clear value path in life and upholding the values you believe in will not only make you a good parent but set a good example for your kids to follow.

Don't Abandon Discipline

Don't Abandon Discipline

Lastly, Don't Abandon Discipline

At the end of a long day, if you feel guilty and then give in to your children, you are setting a wrong precedent here.

As Katherine Reynolds Lewis says.

"The other thing that happens is at the end of a long day you feel guilty for having been separated, so you give in when they ask for one more story or one more glass of water. But you'll benefit your child more if you're consistent. You have five minutes of cuddle time, or you always sing one song together. That way, they always know what to anticipate, and it helps them self-regulate. Don't be afraid to enforce rules."

If your rules vary day to day in an unpredictable fashion or you enforce them intermittently, the child’s bad behavior is your fault, not his. Your most important disciplinary tool is consistency. Identify areas that can’t be negotiated.

Set and enforce reasonable boundaries. Explain your rules and decisions and the wisdom behind those rules. The more your authority is based on wisdom and the less your child will challenge it.

Explain things in a way that you will explain to a child. What is obvious to you may not be evident to a 5-year-old. She doesn't have the priorities, judgment or even thought process to understand it. Explain succinctly with examples that he can relate to and implement it in his life.

A word of caution here; do not be too controlling. A kid needs his space to grow his creative potential and too much discipline will hamper her true potential. Avoid the perfection trap; parents tend to make their children as perfect as possible by enforcing gold standards of expectations. That never works and results in rebellion. Trying to be perfect takes far too much time and energy. Sometimes getting the job done is more than enough.

Finally, treat your child with respect. Children treat others the way their parents treat them. Your relationship with your child is the foundation for her relationships with others. Pay attention when she speaks. Respect her opinion. Let her know that you root for her and value her as a human being. Once you have a good relationship of mutual respect with her, the rest of the things automatically fall in place.

As L.L Bean has rightly said.

“Be the parent today that you want your kids to remember tomorrow.”

Sources

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

Comments

Ravi Rajan (author) from Mumbai on April 30, 2021:

Thanks Vidya for your comments

Ravi Rajan (author) from Mumbai on April 30, 2021:

Thanks Misbah for your comments

Misbah Sheikh from The World of Poets on April 30, 2021:

An excellent article, Ravi. I haven't got the experience yet. But seeing my parents, I can tell you scribbled it pretty well. I feel good about my parents. They are the best and I love them. They are always helpful and friendly. They're more of a friend to me. I like the points you shared. Thanks for sharing

Blessings always

VIDYA D SAGAR on April 30, 2021:

Very good tips for young parents today who struggle with a lot of responsibilities along with being a good parent. A child should be treated as an individual and h'is or her opinion should be respected. I especially liked this point 'Your relationship with your child is the foundation for her relationships with others'. So true. Good article.

Ravi Rajan (author) from Mumbai on April 30, 2021:

Thanks Peggy for your comments

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on April 30, 2021:

Your article sounds like it is filled with good parenting tips. I liked that last quote: “Be the parent today that you want your kids to remember tomorrow.” That says it all!

Ravi Rajan (author) from Mumbai on April 30, 2021:

Thanks Bill. I am sure you are a great parent.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on April 30, 2021:

I hope my son would say I was a good parent. I think he would. Being a single parent was the biggest challenge of my life, but I think I passed the test. :)

Ravi Rajan (author) from Mumbai on April 30, 2021:

Thanks Urwa for your comments

Iqra from East County on April 30, 2021:

Very excellent and informative, only parents who are free from stress can teach their children to live a stress-free life. A real parent is the one who helps his children to eradicate their personality defects. Thanks ravi

Ravi Rajan (author) from Mumbai on April 30, 2021:

A good parent as anyone who inculcates good behavior in his child irrespective of how busy he or she is. Spending quality time with kids is not that tough as you think.

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