As parents, our role is to care for and protect our children. The lines here can get a little bit blurry. You don’t want to be overprotective or overbearing, but at the same time, you don’t want to be careless and potentially place your child in harm’s way due to not being careful enough. If this didn’t make the entire parenting process difficult enough, you’ll probably have to employ different parenting methods with each child, as each child is so different and individual. What worked wonders with your first child may not work even in the slightest with your next child.
Trying to protect your child
Everything a parent does is to protect their child. Passwords on computers, implementing curfews, even encouraging them to do their homework. All these things are done with the intent of protecting your child from harm. Even with the best of intentions, however, you can implement rules or withhold certain things from your children that will cause more harm than good. Every single rule or standard you set for your children should be carefully evaluated, and also reevaluated as you progress and your child grows. It’s all too easy to get a little bit too strict with your child and withhold certain privileges or information unnecessarily.
Parents often assume that their children won’t understand difficult topics or comprehend the confusing things that can happen. Your children are actually a lot smarter than you often give them credit for. It’s not a difficult feat, to explain something complex to your children. If they don’t understand something, give them the opportunity to ask questions so you can explain and they have the opportunity to fully understand what you’re talking about.
The difficult topics
We often try to pretend that the difficult or uncomfortable things in our past didn’t happen, especially to our children. We don’t want them to know that their parents have ever had issues or struggles. The reason behind this is because we don’t want our children to think any less of us, and we want them to continue to view as us perfect parents. But what a lot of parents fail to realize is that your children could actually have something positive to gain from hearing about your previous shortcomings or issues.
Your children are going to have issues and problems, just like you have in the past. That’s a normal part of life. Everyone has issues and things that they struggle with. Because it’s an inevitable part of life, it will actually be beneficial to your child to know that you’ve also had issues and struggles. You should use care with how you share certain things with your children, but they will experience an overall benefit from learning that they’re not alone in their struggles.
Covering the Taboo Topics
There are a lot of things that we don’t feel comfortable discussing with our children. Often, that’s because we want to protect them from the harsh realities of the world. We want to protect their innocence, and keep them our little children for as long as possible. Unfortunately, everyone grows up sometime. And often, our children grow up much faster than we’d like. That’s why it’s important to talk with them honestly about those topics that generally feel taboo. This should cover things like financial difficulty, drugs and other addictions, and – yes – sex. Do research to make sure that you’re sharing accurate information and approaching the topic with understanding, instead of hiding behind a blockade of unexamined rules. According to research, honest conversations are much more effective in guiding adolescent behavior than rigid moralizing.
Keep an open dialogue
The key to raising a child who is willing to have open communication with you, is to continuously keep that line of communication with your child open. Regularly discussing them, their life, and their experiences will help them expect to have that open communication with you on a daily basis. It won’t be a foreign concept to them to come to you to discuss a difficulty or trial that they’re faced with. And as long as you keep your responses from becoming reactive, and you continue to treat them with love and respect when they share something sensitive with you, they’ll continue feeling safe sharing personal details with you about their life.