“The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice.”- Peggy O’Mara

New parents are often inundated with advice on ‘how to make our children more independent’, ‘how to build their confidence’, and of course, ‘how to manage their tantrums’. Generic advice combined with outdated lessons handed down from the previous generation isn’t very helpful because every child is unique, also what works for one family may not work for another.

As a toddler’s mum, who has witnessed the transformation of my child from an anxious baby born in the middle of 2020 lockdown into a confident toddler, here are the top 3 parenting principles I’ve used to guide my parenting decisions. These parenting principles have helped me immensely in becoming a calmer, confident and compassionate parent to a young child.

1. Creating a safe, trusting and nurturing environment in which the love of the parents is a constant, no matter the child’s behaviour. Quite naturally, there are times when drawing boundaries, inculcating discipline and managing expectations becomes critical, but having challenging conversations (yes, toddlers do understand more than we think they do) in a safe environment built on the foundation of love makes all the difference.

2. Acknowledging their feelings- all of them! In difficult moments, when the smallest of events evokes the biggest of reactions from my toddler, I often remind myself of how children do not have the ability to regulate their emotions. Acknowledging the whole spectrum of her emotions and validating them as normal has often helped me in diffusing tension and consistently developing herself self-worth.

3. Managing my own emotions and triggers- I have noticed how I am a calmer and more patient parent on days when I feel more in control of my own emotions, my schedule and when my basic psychological needs are met. Recognising my own needs, acknowledging my boundaries and communicating my expectations firmly has been a game changer for me.

So, is it possible to ‘have it all’? That phrase ‘have it all’ sounds like another term thrown around to make motherhood harder than it is. Parenting isn’t easy, especially for mums constantly juggling to find the right balance between family, work, self-care, and everything else in between. There are costs and benefits to parenting decisions we make, especially during periods of significant change.

Identifying the costs and benefits and knowing my values, so I can align my behaviour to my values has certainly helped me refocus on my priorities as a working parent. Afterall, we as parents are the first set of role models to our children, whether we like it or not.

This article is written by Sonam Taneja, one of our partner coaches who helps professionals, mums and expats navigate career and life changes with confidence and compassion. Sonam has a rich background in corporate HR roles focused on developing talent in large organisations. Sonam is also a proud mum to a very curious toddler. You can get in touch with her via her profile page.