Parenthood isn’t the easiest job to take on. Most of us understand this. However, there are a few tips that can make the job or parenthood easier to navigate. Although there’s no default handbook in parenthood, there are actions and approaches that have aided many parents in guiding their children through the growing process with more ease and comfort.

Take Your Time

As a parent, we may feel that there’s never quite enough time. We may have a laundry list of things to accomplish and rush through our days mechanically checking off tasks. One of the hardest things to embrace as a parent is the concept of slowing down, decreasing our lists, and mindfully paying attention to our young charges and ourselves. Slowing down helps us to truly respond to the needs of our children and allows us to take notice of changes…even subtle ones that may be occurring in our children. This is important because these formative years are short compared to the number of years your child will spend as an adult. This is why childhood is the best time to slow down, be present, communicate, and observe. Our ability to observe will help guide our responses and help us to truly guide our children and to develop as human beings ourselves.

Don’t Be Afraid to Apologize

No one is perfect. As parents, we sometimes forget this truth. Nevertheless, there hasn’t been a perfect human being that walks the face of the earth yet. This is why you should get used to the dead of making mistakes. Mistakes are evidence that we are human. However, mistakes can also be evidence that we are trying and evolving. More often than not, mistakes represent our desire to grow and help our children grow. This is why there’s no shaming in apologizing for a misguided or erroneous response. It happens. Our apologies help to teach our children grace, a willingness to learn, and a willingness to hold ourselves accountable. These are all admirable, and even necessary traits needed to be a good human being, regardless of your age.

Ask for Clarity

When in doubt, ask. Far too often, we assume, make judgments with little or insufficient information, and feel we understand a person or situation when we may not. This is why it’s best to observe and ask questions before we dive in to make a judgment call or respond. Those extra questions may mean the difference between making a poor decision or judgment call and making an enlightened one. Clarity is extremely important. Consider the judicial system, with a judge and a jury who aren’t supposed to rule on a case until all the facts have been heard and pondered. Why would our situations require any less information and insight to make a clear balanced assessment of a situation? Gaining clarity on any situation should be a requirement if you hope to truly understand it and make a clear judgment about it. As parents of growing children, we should lean towards seeing clearly and this requires gaining clarity by asking questions. For example, the Birth Injury Justice Center can’t make a ruling on a birth injury without knowing all the facts involved in a situation. The process of gaining clarity is the same regardless of your role.

Use the Open Door Policy

One of the best things you can do as a parent is to encourage open and honest self-expression. The Open Door Policy is a common term used in business to promote a work environment where employees are encouraged to express themselves to their team leaders, bosses, and managers, freely, and at any time. This system makes employees feel empowered and heard. This also promotes an air of individual importance from the company leadership to the employees. That sense of importance can have a great impact on company morale and help to create an inspiring and progressive work atmosphere. The same can be said about a household where open and honest expression is encouraged. When children can express themselves without penalty they find it easier to be honest with their parents about their feelings and thoughts. This promotes clarity, as mentioned above. If you’re in tune with your children’s thoughts and feelings, your more apt to know what’s going on with them. This, in turn, makes it easier for you to determine what steps you may need to take to help them.

There’s no one way to be a great parent. Perhaps this vital job is best approached with a willingness to learn and be flexible because no two situations are alike. As a parent, your greatest gift to yourself and your children is your ability to be present, seek clarity in any situation, and exercise patience.