What Can You Do?

How can I be a good parent?

Bringing up children is not easy!

There's not just one right way to raise children. And there's no such thing as a perfect parent or a perfect child. Here are some guidelines to help children grow up healthy and happy:

  • Show that you love your child. 

Tell your children: 'I love you. You're special to me.' Give lots of hugs and kisses.

  • Listen when your children talk.

Listening to your children tells them that you think they're important and that you're interested in what they have to say.

  • Help your children feel safe. 

Comfort them when they're afraid or worried. Tell them how you will protect and help them.

  • Praise your children. 

When your children learn something new or behave well, tell them you're proud of them. Praise them for the small things.

  • Try to be organised and have a basic routine. 

Have set times for family meals and bedtimes. If you have to change the routine, tell your children about changes ahead of time. They like to know where they are.

  • Spend time with your children. 

Your children will enjoy your company. It is fun to do things such as reading, walking, and playing games together. What children want most is your attention. Often, bad behaviour is an attempt to get your attention.

  • Criticise the behaviour, not the child. 

When your child makes a mistake, explain what the child did wrong. For example, say: 'Running into the street without looking isn't safe'. Then tell the child what to do instead: 'First, look both ways for cars.'

  • Be consistent. 

This can be difficult for all of us. Rules need to be clear and consistent. (Consistent means the rules are the same all the time.) If two parents are raising a child, both need to use the same rules. Also, make sure baby-sitters and relatives know (and follow) your family rules.

  • Who can I ask when I need help raising my child?

There are many ways to get good parenting advice.

Sign up for parenting classes offered by hospitals, community centres or schools. Read parenting books or magazines. Talk to your family doctor, health visitor, a minister of religion, a priest or a counsellor.

You can also ask your family doctor for parenting help.

Raising children is not easy - there are lots of responsibilities and no one can do it alone. Your GP can direct you to support groups, agencies and professionals who can help you with issues like discipline, potty training, eating problems and bedtime.

You can be a good parent.