This article originally appeared on YourTango.
By Lianne Avila, Expert
You don’t have to be perfect.
Parenting is no easy job, and shouldn’t be taken lightly. For those of you that have chosen it, you should congratulate yourself. You are making a big difference in helping the next generation.
Parenting and children have changed drastically. Personally, I think video games and the internet are a big part of it. Plus, all the name brands. How do you keep up? It’s important not to compare yourself to others. I know this is easy to do. I, honestly, think that we are wired to do this. But, it is self-defeating and no one benefits.
You don’t have to be perfect. Your child doesn’t expect perfection, and you shouldn’t either. What children need more than anything is to feel loved. They need this more than material things.
Here are 10 ways parents can raise and nurture happy kids:
1. Play with your child.
This is your child’s language. This means you get down on the ground and play with them at their level. When you play with your child, your child genuinely feels loved.
2. Know one important thing happening in your child’s life at school.
This goes with departing. Make sure that you keep in touch with the teacher to know what is happening in your child’s day. You can also ask your child and how they answer depends on their age.Make sure you give your child a big hug and kiss before departing for the day.
As a society, we have gotten away from touching. But, your child needs your touch. They are actually craving it.
3. Don’t try to fix everything.
Part of growing up and learning to take care of yourself is learning to solve your own problems. This will teach your child how to be resilient. You need these skills in almost everything you do.
4. Don’t overwhelm your children.
When your child has too many rules, they can shut down. Start with a few simple rules and stick with them. This lets your child know what you expect from them. It also lets them know there is a consequence for not following the rules.
5. Read books together every day.
Start when you have a newborn. Children love to hear their parent's voice. This is also good for the brain and gives you the chance to cuddle up with your child — another great opportunity for touch.
6. Fess up when you blow it.
It’s important you apologize to your child when you've done something we wrong. This teaches your child that we all make mistakes. It’s simple: you admit to what you did and you say "I’m sorry." It can be one of the hardest things to do but one of the best things for your relationship with your child.
8. Cheer the good stuff.
When you see your child picking up after themselves, let them know how pleased you are. Thank your child for sharing with their brother or sister without you having to ask. This will help reinforce positive behavior.
9. Trust your mommy gut.
You know your child better than anyone else. If you think there is something wrong, it’s alright to question it.
If they are quiet when they come home one day when they are usually loud, ask your child what is wrong. If they insist nothing is wrong, it may be time to check-in with the teacher to see how things are going at school.
10. Give yourself a break.
Ordering a pizza when you’ve had a long day, doesn’t mean you are a bad parent. I can tell you, at one time or another, everyone has done it. This also lets your child know they don’t always have to go at 100 mph.
I had the idea to write this article, after seeing many parents and children in my practice. I see a lot of the same problems in families, especially in the Bay Area. I say all of these things a lot in my practice.
Remember, no parent is perfect. Good parents make mistakes. What’s important is that you learn from them and make-up.
Lianne Avila is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Mateo, CA. She has helped many parents feel more connected with their children. For a free phone consultation or more information, please visit Lessons for Love.
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