PARENTING TIPS FOR THE 21st CENTURY PARENTS
Why do we adults fall into the trap of overprotecting the children from short term struggle and under preparing them to cope with life’s long term challenges???
Intellectually we all know that over parenting undermines a child’s initiative and sends him or her off into the world unprepared to make independent choices and own the consequences of these choices, both positive and negative. Yet it seems so difficult to translate that knowledge into practice.
Parenting is a tricky concept since the nature of parenting is ever changing. Active parents, i.e. raising a minor child ever so gradually, should ideally migrate from protecting children to preparing children. We neither can straighten the bumps on their roads nor can we control their obstacles, setbacks, road blocks or any other unfavorable conditions that punctuate the journey. So the real job of active parenting is to work on ourselves out of this job so that we protect them just enough to help them prepare themselves and not vice versa.
Let us begin by taking a few Elementary Steps:
- If it is a choice between your work and your time with the child, it should be your time with the child that should get priority. Please remember that your work will always be there, your children will not.
- Model the characteristics you wish your children to acquire. Set an example for the child to follow.
- Don’t compare your child with others. Each child is unique and your child is God’s precious gift to you. Cherish his/her presence.
- Identify the attributes of your child and be liberal in your appraisal. It can be a great morale booster.
- An unsaid message that needs to go across to them is that your love is unconditional. You love them in spite of their mistakes.
- Set boundaries for your children and stay consistent. They will try to expand the limitations but your firmness will augment their respect for you.
- Identify the child’s areas of interest and participate in enhancing the arena.
- Never cover a negative act or situation with false praise just to make the child feel comfortable. They will start having doubts about your integrity.
- Give your 100% attention when you are with the child. It will help you understand even the words and actions unsaid or undone.
- Learn with them, learn from them and never forget to acknowledge their contribution in this learning process.
- Love is not the same as indulgence. Strike a firm balance and don’t confuse between the two.
Parenting is a continuous process of self exploration, patience and effort. But if done properly it is gratifying and enjoyable. Soon these growing years will be over and as you see a young adult marching ahead in life, you will long for these years to come back when your child took away all your time to make you laugh, cry, shout, worry, dream, apprehend and “your days were long” but ultimately you realize that “the years were short”…
To be in your children’s memory tomorrow
You have to be in their lives today.