I know so many people who are new parents or pregnant that it’s extremely overwhelming for me. Not because I feel pressured to have a child, but because most everyone I know (with very few exceptions) lose themselves when they have a kid. The only thing they seem to talk about is parenting! So and so is crawling now, so and so is starting preschool. So what? The kids are not my friends. You are! Tell me about you. Tell me about your career–if you still have one. Don’t talk non-stop about your kid.
I’m so disenchanted by all this baby talk that in-between devouring the DaVinci Code on the plane, I wrote a list of which of my married friends do not yet have a child. Out of my very extensive network, I could only come up with seven couples–two of whom got married in the past year. That’s it! Only seven couples.
So this goes out to all of my readers with rug rats–a list of the ten most effective parenting skills as written up in Scientific American.
1) Love and affection. You support and accept the child, are physically affectionate, and spend quality one-on-one time together.
2. Stress management. You take steps to reduce stress for yourself and your child, practice relaxation techniques and promote positive interpretations of events.
3. Relationship skills. You maintain a healthy relationship with your spouse, significant other or co-parent and model effective relationship skills with other people.
4. Autonomy and independence. You treat your child with respect and encourage him or her to become self-sufficient and self-reliant.
5. Education and learning. You promote and model learning and open-mindedness for your child.
6. Life skills. You provide for your child, have a steady income and plan for the future.
7. Behavior management. You make extensive use of positive reinforcement and punish only when other methods of managing behavior have failed.
8. Health. You model a healthy lifestyle and good habits, such as regular exercise and proper nutrition, for your child.
9. Religion. You support spiritual or religious development and participate in spiritual or religious activities.
10. Safety. You take precautions to protect your child and maintain awareness of the child’s activities and friends.