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The 50 Golden Rules of Parenting

As soon as you announce you are pregnant, everyone is a childcare expert, bombarding you with advice on sleep, feeding, tantrums...you name it.
Here is a list of the best pieces of real-life parenting advice and collective experience.
  1. Love your child. It’s that simple, and it’s the greatest gift you can give.

  2. Ignore ‘how to’ books. Your child is a human being, not a list on a page and should be treated as an individual.

  3. Keep rewards well hidden from the kids for when the going gets rough.

  4. Be consistent. Make sure your child knows the rules, the boundaries and the consequences of bad behaviour and stick by those rules.

  5. Have rules and routine so your child knows what to expect.

  6. Be 'Team Parent' and back each other up. If one partner can't or won’t be in the team, just do the best you can.

  7. Don’t make idle threats or your child will soon know that they can walk all over you. Carry out any punishments, but do make sure punishments don’t impinge on your good time!

  8. Don't compare your child to another child. Everyone is different and special in their own way so celebrate their individuality.

  9. Don’t make promises if you can’t keep them. Instead, say, ‘I’ll try my best’.

  10. Do not bribe but do give small treats for good behaviour. It’s much better than spoiling a child.

  11. Remember to lead by example – show them the right way to do things and how you expect them to behave by doing so yourself.

  12. Put the hard work in while they're still little to save yourself a lot of problems later on.

  13. Real life parenting doesn’t have a rule or guide book - you will continue to learn new parenting skills day by day.

  14. Always trust your intuition.

  15. Remember to praise them and tell them that you're proud of them. Don’t reserve praise for winning – praise for taking part, trying or doing the right thing. Children respond well to positivity.

  16. "No" is a complete answer for a parent to give. It doesn't need to be excused, apologized for or explained. It’s okay to say no!

  17. Explain the rationale behind any decision once, and then don't entertain any further conversation. When the answer is no, it must remain no.

  18. Spend time with your children, even if it does mean that the housework doesn't get done as much as you would like.

  19. Do not talk about your child in his presence as if he doesn't understand what you are saying.

  20. Don’t take a child for granted – you are lucky to have them. Even if it is a struggle to appreciate that at 4.30am on a Sunday morning.

  21. Allow your child to learn things on their own.

  22. The TV is not a parent. No matter how much you wish it were.

  23. Remember to talk to your children, not over their heads.

  24. Admit you are wrong or apologise when you've made a mistake. If they never see you apologise for bad behavior they can't be expected to do so too.

  25. Never be afraid to answer their questions with honest and appropriate answers.

  26. Listen to your child but know that he or she is not an angel and isn’t always right. Respond to what she says and investigate any persistent comments – she might be concerned about something that you have brushed off.

  27. Learn from them. Sometimes your child can know more than you about a subject.

  28. The more you shout the less notice they take – speak calmly and clearly, even when cross. Count to ten, take a deep breath and stay in control.

  29. Stay calm (if you can). Don't put off telling them off for fear of what will happen when you do - every child needs to know right from wrong.

  30. Don't give in when your child throws a tantrum in a supermarket

  31. Let them explore the things and issues around them. That will make them think about what is right and wrong.

  32. Try not to get stressed. If you do, they will pick up this and it will make things worse. Like all advice, it’s easier said than done!

  33. When telling your child off, tell them why it is wrong. Sometimes they don’t understand why what they have done is not okay.

  34. Stick to a bedtime routine so you can all wind down.

  35. Be patient and don't take your stress out on the children. Even when you are tired out still give them your time and patience and really listen to them.

  36. Don't be a hypocrite. Listen and teach as best as possible as children are merely sponges ready to absorb all of the behaviour you are showing them.

  37. Teach your child that life isn't 'fair'. There are things that seem, and may well be, unfair but whatever happens you love them anyway.

  38. Look back at your own childhood. Think about what worked, or didn't work, when you were young, and incorporate that into your parenting.

  39. Develop a tolerance for a shocking amount of accusation and melodrama as your child gets older.

  40. Listen to your child's teacher and remember that they spend eight hours a day with your child and have probably seen every trick in the book.

  41. Pick your battles. Do you really want to force them to eat a food they really don’t like?

  42. When you don't like something they've done, tell them - but make it clear you still love and like them, just not what they did.

  43. Invest in the things that matter and don't overspend on the things that don't. Love and common sense is free and they grow up too fast anyway to appreciate how much an outfit or toy cost.

  44. Be flexible.

  45. Skip stage one and go straight to being a Grandparent - most of the joy with less of the hassles.

  46. Teach children about the value of money from an early age and make sure they enjoy life’s simple pleasures, for example walking or playing in the garden.

  47. Let them have fun.

  48. Like labour, the worst bits are soon forgotten.

  49. If in doubt, hug.

  50. Don't wish their childhood away. It all goes far too fast anyway so enjoy their childhood.

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