What Are the Most Beneficial Life Skills Parents Need?

February 16, 2024
4 mins read

What Are the Most Beneficial Life Skills Parents Need?

By the Features Desk

Friday, 16 February 2024.

As a parent, we all experience those moments of stress that can be ultimately very sobering. Whether we take our eye off the ball for a second and our child ends up hurting themselves, or those moments where they are choking for a very split second can send us into a major spiral of worry. But rather than thinking that when we’re not in control of the situations, it’s important to be prepared so we can be more confident and assured parents. You may have seen those parents who are always cool, calm, and collected even in the most stressful circumstances, which is why sometimes we need to go back to the drawing board and look at those essential life skills that make us far more confident parents to keep those stresses at bay and ultimately be better parents. Here are a few to consider.

First Aid

First aid is something that we all know can be an invaluable life-saving skill and ensures that we thrive in those stressful situations. Whether it’s the Heimlich manoeuvre or knowing the appropriate ways to place pressure on a wound, we should have these skills in our back pockets for the very simple reason that it can be the difference between life and death. Luckily, there are so many first aid courses available that we can learn those essential skills. Part of being a parent can involve worrying, in fact, too much worrying. So if we can find those skills to learn that stop us from stressing out so much, especially in those real visceral moments, it will do so much.

Effective Communication

We’ve all experienced those times when we are functioning on so little sleep and feeling the pressures of external stress, that we lose all power of communication. To build a strong and trusting relationship with anybody, especially our children, the skill of communication can be partly about ensuring we come across as clearly as possible, but also recognising that we won’t always get it right. The real-life skills we all need are things that we will gradually learn over time and effective communication is something that we can practise.

Lots of people believe that they either have the ability or they don’t, and with any skill, practice always makes perfect. Learning certain soft skills or understanding how best to be in the moment, despite there being a chaotic, Cheaper by the Dozen-esque scenario occurring. Concentration is key in a lot of circumstances because it allows you to utilise those skills you’ve learned effectively. We always need to remember that it’s not about rising to the occasion, but ultimately falling to the level of our training, and in training how to be a better communicator, it’s partly about understanding your own inadequacy about yourself.

Emotional Regulation

Developing this ability is critical because we can all feel the stress rising within us because we’ve not slept or our children are pushing our buttons. Learning how to regulate your emotions can be about partly accepting these emotions, but also identifying and reducing certain triggers for you personally.

Additionally, mindfulness is another skill that can help because gradually you tune into the moment rather than the emotion. What’s more, developing this ability in a calm and supportive manner is critical because we can create a far more nurturing and secure environment. If our children see us constantly stressing out, we’re passing this behaviour onto them, which means that, in turn, they won’t know how to regulate their emotions. If you start to notice this in your child, if they’re of a certain age, perhaps learn to practise this together.

Self-Care

Self-care is one of those practices that we should continue to develop. Being a parent can mean that we have to place our kids and potentially everybody else above our own needs, and this is a very slippery slope into anxiety, depression, and other mental health concerns. You should always put the breathing apparatus on you first, as per the metaphor, and this will mean you have a better ability to help others.

Maintaining your own physical and mental well-being is important because you can be a far more attentive, patient, and even energetic parent. Self-care is not a one-size-fits-all tool; that completely depends on your circumstances and your reactions to stress. Your psychological makeup has a lot to do with this, and then if you can start to unravel this, perhaps through counselling or cognitive behavioural therapy, you will know at any one time what works best for you, which is the most important thing because you can then give the best parts of yourself to others.

Time Management

Time management can be a very loose concept when we have kids, but there’s the skill of managing how to work smarter than harder, but also recognising how to adapt in the face of unexpected situations.

Take the example of trying to get your kids dressed; any parent will tell you that it’s an operation to do so and something that takes two minutes for a grown adult can take at least 27 minutes depending on the child. Sometimes we’ve got to be adaptable or flexible when these types of situations come up, but also recognise that if we’re feeling stressed because we’re going to be running late, being overwhelmed does not help the situation and can generate a more adverse reaction.

This is why we should have an abundance of plan Bs up our sleeve. This is why learning to claw things back in other aspects of our lives can make a huge difference. Whether it’s batch cooking meals to make mealtimes effortless for a part of the time or getting the tougher tasks out of the way in your work, having time management skills can make you feel more in control of every situation.

As parents, we can always feel that we are flying by the seat of our pants. While these are skills we should all gradually develop over time, don’t feel like you need to learn them all instantly. Give yourself a break as well too because parenting is undoubtedly one of the toughest jobs in the world.

Photo by Sai De Silva onUnsplash

 

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