Essential Parenting Skills

The reason why many parents struggle with raising their kids is because parenting doesn’t really come with a manual. What worked for your parents or for your friend might not work for your children. Each situation is different and your style is also different from theirs. In addition, the changing times can make it a challenge just to raise your children safely with the expanding reach of the internet, gadgets that are geared for younger audiences and the environment in general which may be much more different than what you grew up in. However, it doesn’t mean that as a parent you are left on your own to make mistakes and raise your children poorly. There are some essential skills that apply to any situation, no matter what kind of parenting style you prefer.

Safety Issues

It can be difficult for parents (especially new ones) to find a balance between being over-protective and throwing your children to the wolves. You must bear in mind that natural consequences is also a very important learning tool for your children. The cliché example of teaching your child about the dangers of fire is nothing compared to letting your child feel the flame and discovering for himself that it hurts. If you think that it’s not a very serious or life-threatening experience, then the child should stumble and learn by himself. When you are not around after a few decades, your child will be on his own at that time so he should already have some life experiences under his belt at that time.

In addition to child experiences, a very effective parent will also be able to detect danger even before it approaches. This means that you should take it upon yourself to read more about internet safety, the latest safety equipment, and being cautious of your child’s friends (both young and adult).

Set an Example

Even if you remind your child about good habits or proper manners, if they don’t see it in you, it just won’t happen. For example, if you yell at your child each time they do something wrong, chances are that he’ll grow up to be an individual who yells when he’s angry or upset. On the other hand, if you are upset with your child and you instead opt for a ‘time-out’ or ‘taking a break’, it will also influence the child to do so when he becomes upset in the future. It can be difficult for parents to model appropriate behavior, especially if they weren’t raised that way. However, this is an essential parenting skill since kids are watching their parents all the time.

Appropriate Limits

One thing that might seem heavy for some parents is setting limits for their children. It can be the hours of gaming allowed, their curfew, time for bed, or even the discipline style. When children throw a fit or spout hurtful words, parents tend to cave in and adjust to their children’s whims. You should remember that you’re not trying to be their best friend, but you are their parent even if it means not tolerating their anger. In addition to limitations, using developmentally appropriate discipline strategies is also very important. For example, you wouldn’t sit down and have a talk with your toddler, right? Instead you give him time out or something like that. Once he gets older and starts school, then having long talks when he does something bad will work best. Adjusting your discipline style according to your child’s age is also important when we talk about limitations.

Be Consistent

Another thing that parents seem to fall short is their consistency. Sure, disciplining your child the first few times they do a bad habit can be quite straining on your relationship, but if don’t reinforce that discipline, then the bad habit won’t go away and it will confuse the child even more. They will think that it’s okay sometimes, as long as you are not watching or you don’t know what they did. While they are still developing, it’s important that they realize that each time they do something bad, they will get punished for it each and every time. This will help set them straight as they follow bigger rules or laws in the future.

Manage Stress

For this part, this focuses more on the parent – on you. If you manage your stress effectively, then you are more likely to have more success in disciplining or being supportive of your child. If you are stressed out, everything gets under your skin easily; including your child. This leads to yelling easily or being inconsistent with discipline. Stressed parents are also more likely to use physical punishment rather than discipline. Being a stressed parent actually creates an unhealthy cycle since the child will develop behavioral problems, in turn creating more stress for the parent. Healthy stress management includes taking care of yourself in all aspects and having a very good support network.

Give Leeway

One thing that parents seem to confuse when they think about discipline is that they should decide everything for the child. However, giving your child a bit of freedom or the ability to make small decisions is a very important factor. For example, when your child wants to wear boots during a sunny day, instead of fighting and punishing him for that, it might be better to let him wear it and then let him discover why it’s much better to wear sneakers or flip flops during warm weather. In addition, don’t always apologize about your child’s choice of fashion to someone you meet in public. This will lead to lowering the child’s self-esteem. Instead, you can simply say (proudly) that your child was the one who decided what to wear today.

Clear Expectations

For a child, meeting their parents’ expectations and making their parents proud of them can mean the whole world for them. However when they don’t know what is expected of them, it can get very frustrating for them and their parents. Effective parents are able to let their children know what they specifically expect from them. For example, telling your child to ‘clean up his room’ can mean very differently to the child. It might mean that they simply make their bed or hid their toys under their bed and then they’re finished. Instead, you should specify what a clean room is by saying ‘pick your clothes up off the floor, make your bed, put away your toys, and arrange your table.’

From what you have read, essential parenting skills involves an open communication between the child and the parent. Since you are dealing with a child, it can be very easy to block out their ideas or cast it aside as unimportant. Even if they may be very little, it will still affect your child in one way or another. This is more important in the case of discipline when you need to let your child know why he/she is being punished rather than simply doing a time out and then forgetting everything.

Guide to Making Career Decisions

Career decisions can be a very scary thing to a student. If you’re not careful, it can go back and bite you – 5 or 10 years after. You’ll be stuck in a career that makes you unhappy, everyday seems like grinding, and you won’t find anything to motivate you. Just the thought of being stuck in a 9-5 job that seems like going nowhere is enough to make students do a second thought on their current major and maybe even prompt them to keep switching it. Here’s what you can do to make career decisions less stressful for you.

Learn about Yourself

Of course, the best career will be the one that fits your interests thus bringing you satisfaction. Even when you’re at an entry-level position, as long as you are interested then you won’t mind doing it repetitively and you’ll soak up new skills easily. The key for this is to make a list of your interests, abilities, skills, and values. After that, you can compare some careers that require some or all of the traits you have.

One thing that students struggle at this point is naming their interests. You might think that it has something to do with careers like ‘holding meetings’ or ‘managing projects’. The simple truth is that interests are closely tied with your hobbies. Your hobbies could include tinkering around with gadgets, developing programs, surfing the web, cooking, or even playing with puzzles. It might not seem to be a serious career at first, but these hobbies can translate to a career as a programmer, a chef, or a game designer. It’s not hard to picture out that careers which are closely linked to your interests are personally rewarding.

Difference between Abilities and Skills

It can be confusing to differentiate between these two areas since many people think that skills are already some form of abilities and vice versa. However, knowing your abilities and also knowing your skills can help you make important career decisions in the future. Some careers list some skills set that they need and you might think it’s in your abilities set, so you can easily do it. Aside from being disappointed, you could end up burnt out easily in this scenario.

To put it simply, abilities are physical and mental activities that you seem to do easily. For instance, you might have a knack for drawing portraits using any medium or providing advice to people in any type of situation. As you can see, these abilities can translate to careers in arts or in counseling.

For skills, these are developed through education or training. For example, you can increase your math skills by going to school or improve your critical care skills by attending a conference or through an internship. Each type of job will have different skill requirements and knowing what skills you currently have, including what skills you are willing to develop in the future, will help influence your career decisions. Keep in mind that your skills will continue to increase over your lifetime as you pursue a career in a specific field.

Explore Your Options

Now that you have a good list of your interests, abilities, and skills, it’s a good time to think which careers would seem natural or enjoyable for you. Once you browse a career, also include your long term career options. Like, would pursuing a higher degree be beneficial for you in this field? Or would you be able to live comfortably on your paycheck with this kind of career? These questions might seem not important as compared to your interests, but keep in mind that you’ll be doing this job for a long time and your future family will also depend on this career.

A common mistake that students make at this point is to clearly define their career path. They think that after within 3 years of graduation, they would already be in this field, and after a few more years they’ll already start their post graduate studies or something like that. Keep in mind that careers develop over time. Key factors like economy or employment might change in the next few years. In addition, your feeling could also change during this period. A good way to find out if you’re really cut out for the job is to explore different jobs and getting the right ‘feel’ after. Most companies have certain programs like apprenticeship, internships, or even job shadowing which you can apply for. This will give you a very good idea about the job you are eyeing.

First Job is Not Final

Thinking that your first job will be the only job or it will determine the types of jobs you will have in the future will create undue stress on your part. It might even cause hesitation to the point of paralysis on your part and cause you to avoid important job experiences. Remember the part about career exploration? This is a good way to jumpstart it, by trying something new and after you finish your contract, you can move on to the next job which piques your interest.

Get Information

Family and friends are good resources for information about careers or about yourself. Your parents or adult friends can tell you about their job or work experiences in a casual setting. They can share with you their ups and downs, the mistakes they made and what they wish they could do again. School counselors and other community members are also available for your questions.

Speaking about good sources of information, there are many different sources which you can tap into. For example, libraries have good materials, or you can always check the internet for recent updates about employment or the career of your choice. You can even check the classified ads for job listings to give you an idea what kind of career is in demand right now and which careers pay very well.

Your Own Mind

Even if you notice a current trend in a major or a career, you don’t have to follow it if you aren’t that interested in it. For example, thinking “Since all my friends are majoring in IT, I will too.” This is not only a bad idea, but a huge waste of your resources like time and money. If you’re in it just for your friends, chances are you’ll have trouble with the lectures and the projects. Once you decide to transfer to a major course which you like, you would have already wasted a few years and thousands of dollars in the process. Instead, try to stick to what you like doing. You’ll invest your time wisely, and you will have room for specialized courses or additional workshops that will work in your favor.

To sum up this guide for career decisions, the career options you have are constantly changing. Today’s list of ideal careers might look completely different the following year. In addition, your career needs or points of view will constantly change.

Debunking Career Myths

A lot of people out there think that they know how to go about in picking their own careers, but end up in a job they hate and wish they could get out of fast. It has a lot to do with the decisions that they made before. They think that if they follow a tried and tested method, they can easily follow successful people and also find a career that seems enjoyable for them. Here’s what you can do to break free from these types of rumors and land a job which makes you happy while you develop your career.

Choosing a Career is Simple

In reality, choosing a career is one of the biggest decisions you will make in your life. Careers are underplayed a lot of times by people who think that it is just a phase in their life and that they can simply change it in the future. You should definitely give your career a long and serious thought. Think that this is what you will be doing for the rest of your life to put it into perspective. Keep in mind that career planning is a multi-step process and it can’t be done overnight with just your own resources. You need to talk with other people so that you will know your options and you will also have the correct information before you decide.

I Can depend on a Career Counselor

For this part, it’s actually a bit of a yes and no. Yes, a career counselor can provide you with guidance in your career of interest and can help you facilitate your decision, but his job stops there. He doesn’t tell you what careers are best for you or what career field is the best for you. When you come to him, you should be ready to tell him about your interests and what field you are considering your career in. As we mentioned earlier, a career is a very important decision, so you should give it some thought before approaching others for help or guidance.

A Hobby is Useless in a Career

This myth is very understandable since when people look at their hobbies, they can’t make the connection between that and a career. For example, some people like surfing the internet or cooking simple meals, but they can’t think of how to make money from these hobbies so they give up or do something else which they think is more ‘productive.’ Keep in mind that people tend to become very skilled when they do their hobbies over time, even if their skill is trained in an informal way. For hobbies that relate to internet, how about a career related to programming? For cooking simple meals, it can lead to entrepreneurship or even a culinary career. Actually, your hobbies will serve as a very good basis for your career decisions in the future.

The “Best Careers” List is a Good Source

Every year, there are numerous articles or write-ups about what the best and worst jobs of last year were. It might even include some sort of forecast about the upcoming year and the hot jobs for that year. Of course, it helps to keep informed and read up about which job is doing well, and which job is being scrapped soon. However, you shouldn’t use a careers list to dictate your choice. It’s a good reminder that these predictions are based on valid data, but sometimes these data can change in a short amount of time. For example, what may be a ‘hot job’ this year could be scrapped totally within the next 3 or 4 years. As what we have been saying earlier, you should take into account your own interests, values, and skills when you choose a career. Just because an occupation’s outlook is good, doesn’t mean you have to force yourself to choose it.

Careers Making Money is Important

While salary is important, it should not be the only thing that drives you to choose that career. Picture this: you’ll be stuck at that desk for 8 hours a day doing the same thing over and over again for a few years. If you despise your job and only look forward to the salary, then chances are you’ll get bored and irritated easily with it. In the worst case scenario, it could even affect your family and social life. When you get older, enjoying what you do at work will be much more important. We’re not saying of course that salary should be ignored, it should be one of the things that you should seriously consider when evaluating an occupation, but it should not be the only reason why you pursue a specific career.

A Career is Forever

This myth actually causes people to act very cautiously in choosing a career. They are so carefull in some situations that they fail to decide in time and end up rushing in choosing a career instead. In the real world, if you are unsatisfied with your career for any reason, you can always change it. Part of this myth is that people think that they can’t take their skills from one job to another. However, you can always bring these skills to your next job – you won’t use them exactly the same way, but they won’t go to waste entirely.

In addition, career planning is an ongoing process. There will be times when you are offered a job position that fits you, but might be a little different than your current career. During these moments, you would usually re-think your career strategy and if the new job is worth transferring to. This situation is getting common nowadays and the normal employee will have 5 or 6 different types of job before he/she retires. You should also consider that there may be new jobs in the future that will suit you and your skill set so a change will definitely be inevitable.

A Major Will Lead to a Career

A lot of employers out there actually focus more on your work-related experiences and skills as compared to your major course. Unless you are really aiming for one special area that requires specific technical skills like an ICU nurse, then you can choose any major that interests you. Bear in mind that one major can lead to many different careers, in the same way that one career can be achieved through many different majors. If you ask those people employed in higher positions, you’d be surprised to hear that they are working in fields remotely related to their majors.

A career is one of the most important things you will ever have in your life. With that in mind, thinking about it is very important as well as getting to know more about yourself. It’s not wise to make your career dependent on career myths that may have worked with other people. Your situation and your traits are different from other people so you should take that into consideration when planning your career.