Becoming a parent is one of the most rewarding and challenging roles a person can enter into in life. Raising a child is a constantly changing endeavor as his needs, demands and stages of development evolve. Through learning and practice parents can develop the skills needed to provide solid foundations for their children.

Your Image of Successful Parenting

Through defining the attributes that you see as comprising good parenting skills—such as patience, consistency, honesty or loyalty—you can begin to self monitor when interacting with your child. Later reflect on the attributes you demonstrate and the ones you would like to further develop.

Talk To Your Support Team

You will be more successful in child rearing if you and your spouse agree on basic values and how to instill them in your child. When partners differ in their approaches or boundaries, it can be confusing to a child. Author and educator Jay Davidson suggests that parents take the time to think and talk about values in a way that allows those ideals to be conveyed to their children. He indicates that when all family members communicate about these important foundations, there is a sense of belonging and the family works toward the same goals as a group.

If you have a friend or relative who has demonstrated solid parenting skills, ask her what she finds effective in raising children. She may suggest something that clicks for you and your family. Keep in mind, however, that all children are different, with their own temperaments and personalities, so what has been effective for one person may not work for another.

Educate Yourself

There are numerous books and magazines that cover various stages of child development. Ask friends and relatives if they have any favorite books or websites they would recommend. By understanding what to expect at the child's various phases of development, a parent can prepare in advance how he intends to support and react to the child's changes. In addition to gaining an overview of child development, many books provide useful techniques that will guide parents through the parenting process 1.

Take a child development course at a community college to learn more about the changes to expect in your growing child. Sign up for a parenting class to learn specific tips for dealing with childhood phases. Parenting classes may be offered by a community center, church or school district. By engaging in active learning with other parents, you may benefit from hearing what other parents are confronting and the instructor's practical solutions for dealing with parenting issues.

Join a Parent Group

Groups such as Mommy and Me classes are great ways to meet other parents and gain useful parenting information. Some groups are play groups and some groups have guest speakers such as child psychologists or speech therapists that many people find helpful. You can generally find these groups at community centers, churches, libraries and public schools.

Patience and Praise

Parenting is often said to be one of the most difficult jobs. You are raising a child who will change and grow. What helps during one phase of his development may not be useful in the next phase. Be patient with your child, but be patient with yourself as well as you learn the skills of parenthood.

Developing a child's self-esteem is vital to raising a child who can assume responsibility, become independent and ultimately become a productive adult. Psychologists at the Child Development Institute suggest that parents' words and actions have a tremendous impact on their children, and therefore parents have the greatest influence on developing their children's self-esteem 12.