Nobody has the perfect parenting guidebook. All parents have their own aspirations and expectations from their children. However, there are a few key issues that you want to watch out for.
Set an example
It is easy to lay down the rules and laws of the house, but it is difficult to stick to them yourself. It can be as little as telling your child “Don’t speak like that in front of your relatives”.
Well, make sure that you are not caught out speaking in the same way in front of others! Yes, it is very vital that you walk the talk. This will set an example for your child and he/she will never come back to you and say “You said we could not use swear words in the house, how come you are swearing right now?” If you don’t follow this practice, it will induce the sense of ‘preaching’ in their minds. Your opinions and advice will hold less weight in future!
Maintain a healthy lifestyle
One of the most important examples that you can set! This will shape your children’s lifestyle, not for now, not for the next five years, but for their entire life! Your children are most likely to adopt the lifestyle that they are subject to in their childhood.
You want to make sure that you are leading a healthy one by limiting the amount of junk food, eating healthy, exercising regularly, and maintaining good sleeping habits. Set up a schedule for your day-to-day routines and stick to it. This will emphasize the importance of routine in your kids’ lifestyle.
No means no
Ever said ‘no’ to your child for something as small as candy and then gave in after seeing ‘that look in their eyes. Well, you may think, oh how could this possibly affect them negatively? It does! You will involuntarily train their minds to ‘beg’ when refused for wants. And make sure you follow this through in every area of their lives. It will not only instill good values within them but will also make them good human beings – they will be aware of what not to do and will not cross limits.
Take time off with the kids
This is something you may not be able to do every day due to your busy routine, but it is definitely worth planning for. Family vacations infuse lifelong memories in your children’s minds. Even when they are in their forties, they will still remember the fishing trips, the picnics, the camping trips, the overseas tours, everything! They will cherish these moments forever.
Outings with the family will also expose them to different elements of life like sharing, caring and togetherness which they will not find in the outside world. It will make your bond with the kids stronger and dearer!
Don’t let your kids off the hook
Have you ever told your kid “You are grounded if you fail again!” and then let them off the hook because you heard excuse after excuse? Big mistake! Do not let your children get away with things they’ve been asked not to do.
This will not only set a bad example but also affect their morals and their characters. It will make them think “I can get away by doing the wrong thing if I play it right”. That is definitely not the message you want to send across, no matter how old your child is. Imprint this in your head from day one – never let them off the hook.
There will be many moments when you feel that your child may have underperformed, done the wrong thing, or crossed the limits too many times. Whatever you do, do not criticize. Criticism, especially when it comes from one’s own parents, leaves a lasting impression in the mind and can be very hurtful.
It can drive many children into depression and cause anxiety. Find a better and a more appropriate way to address the situation and tell them how they could have done it in a better way. Be firm, but do not be demeaning.
Is your child having problems coping up with a certain subject in school? Or are they having problems doing something that is expected from them at their age? The words “You can’t do it” are not the way to go. Do not let your child know that anything is beyond their reach.
They should hear “You can do it” every time they fail. Should they get back up on their feet and accomplish what they started out to do, they will learn one of the most important lessons in life – nothing is impossible if you work hard for it. You may want to give them some space and tolerate a failure or two. Don’t get frustrated. Encourage them to beat the odds and aim for the stars.
Don’t expect too much
Remember, your child is a different individual and has a different personality. Let them grow, mature, and succeed in their lives, the way they want to. Of course, this does not mean that you let them do whatever they want. It is realistic if you expect your child to be good at school, it is unrealistic if you expect ‘A’s in every subject that they take on.
It is realistic if you expect your child to be in good company, it is unrealistic to dictate who they should or shouldn’t meet. It is a thin line that separates realistic and unrealistic expectations and balance is hard to achieve in real life. If ever in doubt, sit back and ask yourself “What’s the best way to go if I were in their shoes”.
Don’t be inconsistent
Consistency is the name of the game. This is one piece of advice that applies to every parent-child relationship, regardless of age. Maintain consistency in what you say and do. It shows stable character and a positive attitude. This is a trait they will definitely pick up on in their adult lives.
Don’t lose confidence
No matter what the situation in your home – be confident! Trust your instincts and believe in your parenting style. Your confidence will portray strength and assertiveness in your character.
Children constantly pick up traits from their parents, knowingly or unknowingly, and this will be tremendously helpful. It will be easier to communicate with them and they will trust in what they hear from you.
What we have just talked about applies to every parent-child relationship, whatever your parenting style. Of course, there may be situations that are complex and may not have easy answers.
The key to being a good parent is to practice what you preach, and always try to do the right thing. Whether you like it or not, your children will pick up traits that they are exposed to in their day-to-day lives.
Their personalities will evolve and develop according to what they see and hear inside and outside the house. You may not be able to control what happens outside the boundaries of your home, but make sure that you infuse the best values in your children when they are inside to see them growing up and be successful in their lives.