For all the parents out there, it should come as no surprise when I say that parenting is difficult! It takes hard work, dedication, compassion and a TON of patience. There are going to be moments that you feel like you are nailing it, super mom or super dad in the making, while other days you will question whether you are failing miserably and why you ever thought you were prepared to care for another living being.

When the self-doubt hits, take a deep breath and remind yourself that you’ve got this!

When you brought your child home, they didn’t come with an instruction manual. Instead, you have to learn as you go. Good news – while I certainly can’t give you all the answers to the art of parenting, psychologists have identified a number of secrets to raising great, well adjusted and happy children. Take some time to read through these and consider your own parenting choices. How many were you already applying without even realizing it?

Want to Raise Great Kids? Successful Parents Do These 7 Things:

#1 – Big Picture Thinking

Children naturally focus on their own thoughts and feelings, and those of their closest circle of family and friends. It is your responsibility as the parent to teach them how to think beyond that immediate circle. Introduce them to bigger picture thinking, helping them to consider the feelings and perspectives of others around them.

#2 – Be A Good Role Model

Right from the beginning, your child will look to you as an example of how they should live their life. It is your responsibility to ensure that you are providing them with the life lessons they need to succeed in our world today. This includes honesty, good manners, and humility. When you do make a mistake, be honest about it and show them that mistakes happen, the important part is what you do with them.

#3 – Practice Gratitude and Appreciation

Studies show that the people who practice gratitude in life are happier, healthier, more compassionate and forgiving. Teach your child to look past their struggles and difficulties in life, focusing instead on the little things that they have to appreciate every day. This is a habit that will carry throughout their life.

#4 – Allow Them to Fail

This may sound counterproductive, after all, no one wants to see their child fail. However, if you spend their childhood protecting them from setbacks and failures, they won’t know how to handle it in the real world. Instead, allow them to fail but stand by their side encouraging them and motivating them throughout the experience.

#5 – Spend Quality Time

This doesn’t mean being in the same area with one another, but actively spending time with one another. Put down the electronics, turn off the television and actually interact. Ask your child about their day, play games together, or try their favorite activity. While your child may love their computer or gaming system, they still need real human interaction with their parents.

#6 – Emotional Intelligence

In order for your child to grow up into a functional and stable adult, they will need to learn how to effectively identify, manage and express their emotions. Demonstrate a high level of emotional intelligence when you are around your child. Discuss their emotions openly, explaining options for how to react in a healthy and efficient way.

#7 – Set High Ethical Expectations

Our lives are built on the relationships that we make – family connections, friendships, romantic interests, co-workers, etc. One of the most important lessons that your child needs to learn young is how to establish and maintain healthy relationships. This includes honoring their commitments, responsibilities, and obligations to others.

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