Many South Asian parents have no problem being involved in their child’s life. From the first day the baby is born and for the rest of its life, a majority of South Asian parents find themselves focused on their child’s needs, ready to sacrifice anything for the child’s well-being. When asked what they wish for their children, most South Asian parents will say they wish for happiness, health and wellbeing.
Here are some tips that many South Asians don’t realize will help them be even better parents to their children:
Take some time away for self-care. Schedule a few minutes every day to do something to recharge yourself. This can be as simple as painting your toenails to going to the gym. The problem many parents have is finding time to do this. However, if you are dedicated to being the best parent possible to your child, it is crucial to schedule time for this just as you make time to attend parent-teacher conferences or brush your teeth in the morning.
As soon as the baby is born, South Asians prioritize their role as parents above every other role that they maintain. This is especially true for the mothers (or primary care takers). Raising a child is a 24 hour job that requires limitless amounts of energy. Unfortunately, everyone has a limited energy. Therefore, when parents continue to give without taking time out for themselves, they run out of energy faster and become less effective parents . In addition, when parents are running on their reserve tank, their children can pick up on this and are affected negatively by picking up the parent’s stress.
Prioritize your marriage. The primary relationship responsible for brining a child into the family is the first to be neglected when a baby is born. With the added stress of a new child as well as adjusting to a new pace of life, couples tend to take their frustrations on each other, further damaging their relationship. This makes each partner feel even more isolated from each other increasing the risk of resentment toward each other. What most parents don’t realize is that even if these stressors are not expressed verbally, your child will pick up on how you feel toward your partner. This type of stress affects the child’s physical and emotional development.
Take time out every day to talk to each other without any disruptions, even if it is only for 10-15 minutes each day. Make sure to do something together without the baby at least once a week. This can include watching TV or a movie, going out to dinner, or even playing cards together. Nourishing that relationship is the best way to make sure you are being the best parent possible to your child. Also, you are setting a positive example for what your child should look forward to when they grow and enter their own intimate relationship.
Get help when you need. Whether it’s trouble at work, a dwindling marriage, or a lessening of physical health, when parents are overwhelmed and stressed, parenting suffers even if good intentions are there. Get help to improve your personal or professional life so that you can be a positive role model for your children on how to improve feelings of overwhelm in a healthy manner.
Being a good parent is much more than always pushing your needs aside for your child. Taking care of yourself so you have the energy to meet the demands of being a parent, nurturing the strong foundation between you and your partner and asking for help when needed are all excellent life lessons for the child. They not only learn how to manage their own overwhelming emotions as they get older but they benefit from having parents who know how to truly reach their potential of being the best parents that they can be.
What do you do to take care of yourself and your partner while you parent your children?