21 Parenting Skills You Need To Have

What's Covered

Parenting is when a person is raising a child, provides them with the protection, care, and love, and making sure of a child’s healthy and happy development to adulthood. Parenting can be performed even a person does not have a child of their own. Parenting can be provided to every child that is unfortunate to have someone on their side to give them their needs. A good parent always does what is best for their child. Each parent possesses essential skills and has their own style when it comes to parenting.

The Must-Have Parenting Skills

1. Make Time For Your Children

              Not spending enough time with your children might cause them to delay developmental growth. Aside from that, children who are not getting attention from their parents tend to misbehave because they want to be noticed. It is often hard to be together for a family meal most especially if you are a working parent. Work and life have different responsibilities. Do not feel guilty if you are a working parent that does not have a long time for your kids. You can make a high-quality time spent for your children even if you are working, like leaving a note with an encouraging word before living for work, telling them every day how much you love them or acknowledge and compliment your child for every accomplishment they made. Parents should always remember that the quality of time spent is much important than the quantity of time. For kids, a parent’s little time spent for the family will be remembered.

2. Prioritize Communication

              The way of non-verbal and verbal exchange of information between people while paying attention to what others think and feel was involved is called communication. Effective communication within the family is very important. It is how family members express their concerns, wants, and needs. Honest and open communication enables family members to express admiration and love to each other. A healthy and strong family bond has effective communication.  Effective communication needs not just talking, but also requires listening to what other family members want to say. Prioritizing effective communication allows parents to resolve problems such as behavioral problems of their children.

5 Love Languages Of Children: The Secret To Loving Children Effectively
When having a hard time on how to communicate with your children, especially if you have more than one, this book will be very useful to you. As every child has different ways of expressing what they want and need, this book will teach a parent about a child’s languages or the way how children speak and what it means. Understanding a child’s way of communication will build a stronger and deeper  bond.

3. Be Open To Parenting Style Adjustments – Be Flexible

              According to a study, parenting has three major roles: cultural values transmission, preparing a child to be a productive adult, and ensuring a child’s healthy developmental milestone and safety. And if you feel that your way of parenting does not meet your expected results, you must be open to some parenting adjustments or try another way that you think will be needed depending on your child’s behavior. Some factors, like the environment, have a big effect on a child’s behavior. You must be flexible and open to change the environment to change a child’s behavior. Also, as your child grows, you will have to gradually change your parenting way; your parenting style for a 1-year-old child will not work as well on a 7-year-old.

4. Show Them Your Unconditional Love

              When parents show affection, love, and accept their children’s flaws and mistakes, and help their children feel accepted and understood, this was called unconditional love. It is very important for the positive self-worth and emotional health of our children. You must not criticize or blame your child when you confront them to avoid resentment and low self-esteem, and you have to encourage and nurture while disciplining them. You should make your child feel that your unconditional love will always be there although your child does not make it right on the first try and you are expecting a better next time.

5. Know Your Own Needs, Love Yourself Too

              A parent is a person who does everything for their family like cleaning the house, cooking, doing the laundry, and more, and almost always do not have time for themselves. It is as if they were programmed to take care of everyone in the family before themselves. But, you should always remember that you have your own needs and you can not love and take care of anybody else if you can not even love and take care of yourself. You have to express yourself clearly and communicate your needs to your family. Also, scheduling a specific time to do chores, work, spending time with family, and me-time is important, and when you are done setting up time boundaries, you have to let your children and partner know that me-time means you need to be left alone to do something else that nurtures and cares for you.

6. Know Your Limitations

              Nobody is perfect, as well as being a parent. As a family leader, you have to recognize your strength and works on your weaknesses. It is important to have realistic expectations for your children, partner, and yourself. Rather than trying to fix things and problems all at once, you should focus on what needs most of your attention. You must accept that you’re getting burned out and tired and you need to take a rest. Setting your limitations does not means you’re being selfish and lazy. Remember that you also have to care about yourself which is an important value that you have to teach to your children.

7. Manage Stress

              Stress has a huge negative impact on a person’s areas of life like relationships, work, health, and even parenting. You should be emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually prepared when facing challenges. All parents experienced stress while raising a child and taking care of the whole family. You will be an effective and happy parent when you learn to manage your stress, and you will be able to teach your children in managing their stress too. You can handle challenges with patience if you practice relaxation techniques.

8. Learning And Education

              Parents are a child’s first teacher and home is their first school. That is why parents must promote education, and encourage and motivate their children to learn. There are many ways to support your children’s learning and education. Yous should let your child know that you believe in their abilities and that there is always room for improvement. Do things together with your child, like dancing, singing, reading, or writing, and make the activities in a time-engaging and funny way so that the child will not get bored easily. Also, limit the screen time of your children. Children should hear and talk to adults to improve language skills; do not rely on mobile phones, television, and the internet. Parents should provide educational opportunities to their children.

9. Build Good Relationship

              Building a good relationship is very important for a peaceful family. These include some skills that needed to be applied when connecting with others and aiming for a positive relationship, like learning skills, verbal and non-verbal communication skills, and interpersonal skills. Every parent’s goal is a healthy relationship with the family. A parent should practice calmness to avoid situations escalating into hurtful behaviors. When you master calmness, you can react to situations more productively and you can think and communicate clearly.

10. Courage and Perseverance

              Another important skill a parent can pass on to their children is having courage and perseverance. We do not want our children to feel insecure and to be vulnerable to risks when we are not with them. That is why a parent should show their children that being courageous helps them to develop into capable, competent, and strong adults and get them prepared to take the challenges of life. A child who practiced courage and perseverance at an early age might as well grow up with strong positive self-belief, competent and confident communicators, and creative, resilient, and creative explorers. Giving them the freedom to experience life to its fullest helps them learn important lessons. You are also encouraging them self-reliance, self-awareness, and self-motivation which is a very important life skill.

11. Spiritual Development

              This skill may or may not apply to every parent. Of course, it depends on our own beliefs when it comes to religions and spiritual matters. But spirituality is an important part of your child’s emotional growth. Our toddlers are literal thinkers, like, we tell them that those who died were now together with God and goes to heaven, then they will likely look up in the sky. When parent promotes spiritual development to the family, they are encouraging them to have faith not only to God but also to everything they might encounter in life. It is important that whenever a child asks a question about a spiritual or religious matter to treat with the utmost respect. Promote religious principles without being judgemental. A family’s religious celebration of Easter, Christmas, and even praying at home has a big influence on a child. Thinking about God is not just cognitive, it also captures much of a child’s attention in a deep social, emotional, and personal way.[1]

12. Health Development

              Good health development starts when a woman becomes pregnant. The well-being of a future mother is very important as it strengthens the development of the biological systems of the child she is carrying so that the child in her womb grows as a healthy adult. It also provides the child a strong and healthy foundation which is very needed for the child’s learning capacities and broad range skills as they grow. It is also very important for parents to know when their children need health improvement to prevent health problems in the future. Lots of parents visit their health specialists, like Pediatricians, just to make sure that all is well when it comes to their child’s health. Pediatricians are an important source of advice, information, and strategies regarding a child’s health management, development, nutrition, health safety, and maintenance. [2]Some parent gives their children food supplements for their child’s health development as their health specialist’s advice, while other parents believe that natural resources for their child’s health are the best. There are many ways of ensuring our children’s good health. Just always remember that your goal is for your child’s good future.

13. Give Importance To Your Child’s Behavior

              A child’s common or normal behavior depends on their personality, age, and emotional and physical development, yet there are a lot of factors that can affect your child’s behavior such as environment, the relationship between members of the family, family circumstances, community, emotional development, and disability. Children who feel that they are valued, cared for, and respected will more likely behave in a caring and respectful way towards others. A child’s behavior may become a problem when they want to satisfy their wants and needs, or their interests and needs are not taken care of. A parent must know the reasons for their child’s sudden behavioral change and know strategies to be used in guiding their child’s behavior. Understanding and giving importance to a child’s behavior is essential to avoid behavioral issues.

The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind
This book helps you with your everyday parenting. It will teach you different strategies for nurturing a child’s developing brain. It shares knowledge about how to develop a child’s emotional intelligence.

14. Let Your Child See The Needs Of Others

              Kindness starts at home, and parents are the first to teach a child about kindness. It can be learned through practice over time and there are lots of ways to encourage a child to be gentle, kind, mindful, considerate,  and a person with empathy, and your home and the relationship between members of the family has a very important role with it. A parent will be the role model and what you do and say will be very critical. Respectful and kind treatment within family members is also a great first step and let them know that how you treat other people matters to you. Always acknowledge the kindness and do not ignore rudeness. Remind your child that if someone shows rudeness, you do not have to respond with rudeness too. When encouraging your child to be a kind person, you’re also encouraging them to other important life skills they might need in facing life as they become an adult. You’re also improving their self-worth, self-esteem, and sense of belonging. Children will experience a great feeling of optimism and kindness teach child to be grateful for what they have as they help those who are in need. While a child shows acts of kindness towards others, they are also showing their empathy;  emotional, cognitive, compassionate, the ability to share and understand other’s feelings and situations.

Raising Good Humans: A Mindful Guide to Breaking the Cycle of Reactive Parenting and Raising Kind, Confident Kids
One of the must-read parenting books on the market. It teaches parents to improve attitudes and practically dealing with their children such as improving their reactions towards situations. It helps a lot for raising kind children.

15. Do not Shout In Front Or At Your Children

              Parents often feel stressed out, frustrated, or angry, and seems that shouting or yelling at their children can release these feelings or serves as a discipline to their child. Authoritarian parenting often yells or shouts at their children. Some parents think that shouting or yelling can make their children fear them and become obedient. According to a study, shouting can make your child obedient but just for a short time while its psychological effects on the child can last a life-time if not treated accordingly. Also, for a child, if an aggressive way of parenting like shouting seems normal within the family, it might reflect their behavior towards other people. Yelling or shouting may be hard to avoid when raising a toddler, but there are a lot of alternatives that can prevent you from shouting. You have to always remember that your child relies on you when it comes to early learning and your top job as a parent is to manage your own emotions for assuring a healthy and safe family.

Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting
A great book of encouragement and advice for parents having a hard time in parenting toddlers. It has easy-to-understand lines of actions to do that a parent can surely cope with and try to their children. Your noisy way of raising a child will become peaceful parenting with a strong connection to your children. Say goodbye to shouting and yelling, welcome the peaceful parenting way.

16. Give Your Child Responsibilities

              When a parent was asked, “What kind of person do you want your child to be when they grow?”, the answer is almost always “To be a responsible person”. There are three important lessons that parents want their child to learn; kindness, respect, and responsible. The best place for a child to become a responsible individual is at home. You can motivate them to be responsible by involving your child in day-to-day house chores. Assign them some tasks and do not forget to compliment them every time they finished the given tasks. No parent would want their child to fail and this will make us do too much or everything for our child. But being like this will not make our child a responsible person. A parent should know how to balance between when to step in and when to let go.

17. Make Your Child See Challenges Positively

              Life is full of unwanted negativities and challenges. That is how learning to overcome challenges with positive affirmations and positive thinking becomes an essential life skill. Determined and motivated people are not born; they are trained and made. All emotions and thoughts, positive and negative, have a great role and are valuable in one’s life, and an important matter in how people see themselves and the situations, things, and the world around them. To train child’s positive affirmations and positive thinking, you should show them how to manage stress, be their role model. Allow them to take risks and challenges to practice a positive mindset. Explain to them that failure is an opportunity to grow, learn, and teaches important life lessons, and it is not a reason to be ashamed of.  Every parent wants their child to be happy and successful, yet one of their first questions in life is “Can my child overcome challenges and negativities in life without me or anyone who can support them?”, as no one knows how long we can stay beside our children. And that is the reason for a parent to teach and encourage their child all essential life skills to prepare them for facing life in the future.

18. Encourage Independence

              Parents were torn between “I will do everything for my children” and “I want my child to grow as an independent person”. We want our child to grow as an independent person but we also want to closely supervise them and do things that our child ought to do. Encouraging your child to be independent does not mean you have to let them do all things by themselves without your guidance at all, but this varies on your parenting style; explained below in this article. You can encourage them to be independent without discouraging their feelings of being valued, cared for, and loved. Thankfully, there are ways to teach a child to be independent yet not being neglected. For example, you can assign them to do age-appropriate household chores as a daily routine. Of course, you will guide them at first and then let them do it by themselves over time and show them your trust and confidence in their abilities in doing things independently. Do not forget to compliment your child for every accomplishment they’ve done and make them experience consequences so they can learn from their own mistakes. Be a role model; confidently expressing your opinions, doing things on your own, and being capable of making your own decisions. Help them avoid thinking that mistakes are embarrassing and unnecessary so that they are always open to learning new skills or doing new things on their own.

19. Introduce Social Skills To Your Children

              All forms of non-verbal and verbal communication; gesture, speech, body language, and facial expressions, that are used when making friends, initiating conversations, or interacting with others is called social skills. Having good manners in every social situation, having consideration and understanding towards other’s feelings are important factors in communicating effectively. Like other important skills, social skills start at home. Communication begins the moment we’re born when our mother hears us cries as if telling “I am finally outside” and as we grow, social skills will gradually develop. Being capable of confidently and clearly expressing ourselves can be learned when social skills were nurtured as early as infancy. Concentration, attention, expressive language, and receptive language are some of the necessary things to be considered for a strong social skills foundation. A well-developed social skill is a key skill for healthy interactions in every aspect of life and the better the social skill a person has, the better the quality of life he will have.

20. Guide Your Children, Do Not Control Them

              We thought about how can a parent bought up a well-behaved child, or what kind of parenting style does a parent implement for an incredibly well-behaved child. Also, some people sometimes can’t stop criticizing or judging a parent with a misbehaved and rude child and they thought to themselves that the parent should do better in disciplining. Most of the time, children are disobedient and willful because they have less idea about what was truly good for them. Because of this, parents think that there is no other choice but to control their child. Controlling may work temporarily, but it has a long-term negative effect on a child’s development. According to research, guiding is a better alternative to controlling a child. “Controlling” is when a parent controls the words, behavior, thoughts, and feelings of a child in a way how a parent wants their child to be while “guiding” is when a parent is encouraging a child to be his/her best self by providing guidance. Discuss, do not dictate. Respond, not react. Give feedback, do not criticize. Support, not hover around. Explain, do not order them. Cooperation, not compliance.

21. Let Your Children Know The Sense Of Security

              In all aspects of a child’s development such as physical, emotional, and social development, it is essential to first have a strong sense of security. Children are more likely to develop very well when they feel safe and secure. They will not be afraid of taking risks, learn new things or explore when they feel their environment and people around them will not cause them harm. When children feel insecure, more likely they will be discouraged to perform social skills, afraid to take on challenges and responsibilities and play less which will affect their growth and development. At an early age, a child can acknowledge a basic sense of security and trust in themselves and the people around them. A home with responsive, respectful, consistent, and dependable family members is a great first step in developing a strong sense of security for a child.

Your Kind of Parenting Based On Parenting Skills You Have

              Parents raise their children with their skills and own style. There is no perfect way of parenting though. Some parents have a clear goal on what they want their children to be and some let their children decide a goal, and as a parent, you will be a support on what that goal is. Every parenting style performs different parenting skills. If you as a parent did not know what kind of parenting style or strategies that you are using, the following might help you distinguish what kind of parent were you.

Free-range Parenting – Encouraging Independence

  • Are you encouraging your child to become independent?
  • Do you let your child live life with less supervision?
  • Do you allow your child to go without an adult supervising them to let them practice self-reliance?
  • Do you give your child the freedom and let them experience the consequences based on their behavior?
  • Is your way of training your child’s skills, that you think they might need to be a responsible adult, is by letting them function independently?

If you do what was mentioned above, then you’re a free-range parent. This style of parenting is different from permissive parenting. Expectations and rules were still enforced because you help or guide your children through independent experiences. These phrases; self-mastery, self-confidence, self-esteem, all started with the word “self”, which goal is to teach your child what to do as well as stop assisting your child so much, for parents can not do everything for their child forever so make them an independent, happy and responsible people.[3]

Permissive Parenting – The Indulgent Parents

  • Are you not enforcing rules to your children?
  • You are not setting limits for your child?
  • Are you a very loving and nurturing parent with only a few demands to your child?
  • Do you always ask and rely on your child’s decisions and opinions?
  • Do you give more importance to your child’s freedom than their responsibilities?
  • Do you have few rules and those rules were inconsistent?
  • You used to bribe your child with toys, foods, or gifts to make them behave?
  • You are more like a friend to your child rather than a parent to them?
  • Low demanding when it comes to consequences of your child’s behavior?

A permissive parent is not similar to a free-range parent. A permissive parent is responsive to a child’s need and sometimes gets themselves involved on especially in serious situations. They are quite forgiving parents and that is not strict when giving consequences especially when their child begs. They usually act more like a friend than a parent and encourages their child to talk about every problem they encountered yet not giving much effort in discouraging bad behaviors and poor choices. And because kids do not take rules and authority from their parents, kids tend to have behavioral and health problems such as low self-confidence and obesity or malnourishment because parents do not limit their child with unhealthy foods.

Authoritarian Parenting – Punishment Rather Than Discipline

  • Are you not taking into consideration your child’s feelings?
  • Do you have high expectations for your children?
  • Do you only focus on obedience?
  • Are you not interested in your child’s questions about your rules?
  • Do you enforce rules and consequences without an intention to listen to your child’s opinion?
  • Do you believe that children should be seen rather than to be heard?

Authoritarian is a parenting style that values strict rules with a very low level of nurturing which may lead to a child’s obsessive-compulsive behavior. [4] Parents are not interested in negotiation with their children when it comes to rules, punishment, and consequences. They did not tend to listen to their child’s questions regarding the rules and punishments and only focus on their child’s obedience. Because the authoritarian parent is strict, their children may grow as great liars just to avoid getting punished.

Authoritative Parenting – A Loving, Nurturing, and Disciplined Parent

  • You maintain a positive relationship with your child.
  • You always explain every reason behind your rules.
  • You take into consideration your child’s feelings when enforcing rules and consequences.
  • You give guidance to your child every time you set high standards and rules.

Authoritative parenting has three core dimensions; supervision, acceptance, and psychological autonomy granting that leads a child to better performance and strong engagement at school.[5] Although authoritative parent has a high demand towards their child, they re still highly responsive to their child’s need which makes this parenting style to be the most successful way of parenting. According to research, children of authoritative parents more likely to do well in school, to enjoy a positive relationship with others, and to become self-sufficient and independent.

              As parents, we should always remember that every skill we are applying to our preferred way of parenting can affect everything about our children. It is very important to ensure that the parenting style we are using, supports healthy development and growth to our children. And the way we discipline and interact with our children will influence their life. May we all have a peaceful and happy parenting experience!

[1] Boyatzis, Chris J. “Religious and spiritual development in childhood.” Handbook of the psychology of religion and spirituality (2005): 123-143.

[2] Sege, Robert D., et al. “Effective discipline to raise healthy children.” Pediatrics 142.6 (2018).

[3] Skenazy, Lenore. Free-range kids, giving our children the freedom we had without going nuts with worry. John Wiley & Sons, 2009.

[4] Timpano, Kiara R., et al. “Parenting and obsessive compulsive symptoms: Implications of authoritarian parenting.” Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy 24.3 (2010): 151-164.

[5] Steinberg, Laurence, et al. “Impact of parenting practices on adolescent achievement: Authoritative parenting, school involvement, and encouragement to succeed.” Child development 63.5 (1992): 1266-1281.

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Tiffany Biondi

Tiffany Biondi

Mother of 4 kids, Tiffany is a certified childcarer and during her free time, she write posts in thebabychoice to share her hands on experience and knowledge.