It is hard to be a parent, in fact, it has never been harder. The relationship between children and their parents has drastically changed over the past few years and parents are having trouble coping with the change. They try different methods to get along with them – either they try to make friends with them and fail epically or they rely on authority as the main means to keep their kids in check.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to raising children, so here are some ideas on how to get closer to your kids.
The role model
‘The greatest gifts you can give your children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence. ’
– Denis Waitley
It is commonly known that children first learn by imitating what their parents do, but as they get older, they often do the opposite. Both of these behavioral patterns can occur as a result of an unconscious (as well as conscious) desire to be one with their parents, to feel secure, protected and loved, or in adolescence, to be as different as possible in order to establish and confirm their identity.
It is hard to find a right balance that would fit both of these stages, but you can:
- Give a good example of what a good behavior is. As previously mentioned, small children will mimic your actions, so always be careful.
- Teach them to think on their own by asking them to express their opinion and giving them useful feedback, using reassuring vocabulary.
- Show them that being responsible also means admitting your mistakes and apologizing. Being responsible does not mean being perfect.
- Give them enough freedom to decide what they want to be. Do not smother them with your dreams and desires on them.
Support and Guidance
‘It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men’.
– Frederick Douglass
It is a sad fact, but truth nonetheless – we all bear scars from hurts we got as children. Be it a lack of confidence, inability to fully trust other people, reluctance to commit, etc. A lot of our current issues can be traced back to a traumatic or unpleasant experience from our past.
To better equip your children to face the challenges of adulthood, consider the following approach:
- Talk to them (face to face not via messages!) and do not dismiss their problems as they might sound trivial to you. For them, they are not.
- Focus on positive things such as solving the problem rather than criticizing them for every tiny mistake they make. This will teach them to pay more attention to positive things.
- Do not be afraid to seek family therapy if you feel you cannot solve the problem. This will show them it is ok to ask for help.
The greatest sign of success for a teacher… is to be able to say, ‘The children are now working as if I did not exist.'
– Maria Montessori
All parents want for their kids to grow into strong individuals but giving up control does not come easily to some. Parents will often try to direct the kids to do what they think is best for them or talk them out of doing what they think is wrong.
It is not the way to go. Believe that they will act in a right manner following all you have taught them. Doubt is never a good ally.
Following these simple guidelines might be helpful in these situations:
- Forget about the rules. Set limits for your children and let them develop within those limits. But do not forget that your children must also agree to these limits beforehand.
- Be there to support them if they need you. They are still children, which means they will need your help in some situations so make sure you are there for them if they do.
- Constantly show them how proud you are of their achievements, be it with or without your help.
Being a parent is the hardest job in the world, but it is also the most rewarding one. Treat your kids the same way you want them to treat you and you will see a huge difference.
Isabel F. William Body&Mind Balance Consultant. Lover of literature and philosophy, runner, and Tai Chi master. She believes that sometimes it is just enough to enjoy a really good book, smooth jazz and a cup of coffee to travel somewhere else.