It’s no secret that being a parent is one of the most rewarding experiences a person can have. But it’s also one of the most challenging. With so much responsibility, it’s easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day and forget what’s really important, especially if you also happen to be one of those parents who is also forcing chasing a dream in corporate America as well. Yes, providing for your family is important, but it’s not the only thing that matters. To be a truly great parent, you need to make your entire family feel loved, supported, seen, and heard. That might sound like a tall order, but it’s not impossible. Here are a few tips on how you can be the best parent you can be.
One of the most important things you can do for your family is to be present and intentional with your time. Of course, this is easier said than done. With work, social obligations, and everything else on our plate, it’s easy to let family time slide. But it’s so important to make an effort to be present when you’re with your family. Put away your phone, turn off the TV, and give your full attention to your spouse and kids. These little moments are what matter most in life. One of the best ways I have seen this work for me personally is to be intentional with your use of electronics like phones and computers. Make it known that when you’re on it, it’s important, and when it’s not mission critical, put that device away. This has been tremendously helpful in my own house so the entire family knows, if I’m on my phone, there’s a darn good reason let me not bother him, or, if I’m not, then the family has my full and undivided attention. When your family sees you with your phone on the dinner table, it’s a clear indication that you’re waiting for something else to pop up more important than them, and no one wants to feel that way, so unless the business is on fire, keep that thing in your pocket. Save the mindless scrolling you were going to do for some other time.
It’s not enough to just be present when you’re with your family—you also need to be an active listener. This means really hearing what your spouse and kids are saying and responding in a way that shows you understand their feelings. Active listening can be challenging, but it’s so important in building strong familial relationships. It also means making sure that the other person feels heard. This is an important distinction that once you really work on will pay dividends not just in your house but everywhere else as well. One of the best ways I have found to do this is repeating back key points after the other person has finished speaking to make sure you understood them correctly. A sincere intention to understand their story will go a long way.
Making family time a priority is another way to show your loved ones that they matter to you. This doesn’t mean that you have to spend every waking moment with them, but it does mean that quality time should take precedence over other obligations whenever possible. Choose family movie night over happy hour with friends or take a weekend trip instead of working overtime at the office. These small “sacrifices” will go a long way in making your family feel loved and valued. Your presence in the home, both physically and even more so mentally has a huge impact on how the day to day functions operate.
Being a “successful” parent isn’t always going to be easy, and it can take a lot of work and consistency, but it’s so worth it. The next time you’re feeling stressed or like you’re falling short, refer back to these tips and remember what’s really important—making your family feel loved, supported, seen, and heard.
Jim Sabellico is the CEO of J Louis Technology. He started his first business at the age of 8 and hasn’t looked back. Jim has experienced all the highs and lows of owning his own business.Today, he spends most of his time helping entrepreneurs find their true path and grow their businesses so they can finally realise the life they’ve been working for. Jim reached out to Ashley to speak on the Bizzimumzi podcast about ‘Dad Guilt’. In his Dadzi chat he shares that ‘Dad Guilt’ very much exists and he had first hand experience with it while raising his two children. He confesses that his wife is an absolute Superwoman and is thankful for her every day. Head over to the Bizzimumzi podcast to have a listen to the full episode.