Raising awesome child is all about giving them every opportunity to thrive, rather than limiting them within the confines of rules. It demands a sincere effort on your part to know their unique personality and learn about their needs and passions.
All you need to do is to give yourself the permission to reject impossible expectations and so-called ideal ways of parenting. Take it as a journey of living a joyful life that fits your chosen values and not those of others by STOP doing these 12 THINGS.
1. Stop wasting your time looking for a MANUAL, because there isn’t any.
There is absolutely nothing in this world that can really prepare you for parenthood. The bottom line of becoming a parent is you’ll lose autonomy, sacrifice your leisure and face relationship challenges with your parenting partner.
But in due course of time you will soon realize that these challenges were worth your time and effort because being a parent brings immense joy and enrichment in your life.
“Everything from airplanes to kitchen blenders and even chopstick comes with an instruction manual. Children, despite all their complexity, don’t.” — Lawrence Kutner.
2. Stop pretending to be a perfect parent, because nobody in this world is.
While it’s tempting to simply impart your wisdom to your children, it’s important to resist this urge and engage them in a dialogue. Let them speak for themselves, in school or with others. Let them adopt perspectives and use their own reason instead of just fulfilling tasks or learning facts.
As a parent you can afford to be demanding, yet responsive. There is no harm in setting high standards and expectations, but at the same time, it becomes imperative that you are emotionally available and responsive to children’s needs too.
You learn to get comfortable reasoning with your kids, giving them freedom to explore, and letting them fail and ultimately make their own choices.
“At every step the child should be allowed to meet the real experience of life; the thorns should never be plucked from his roses” — Ellen Key
3. Stop being a helicopter Parent.
To have kids in our life is one of the most biggest decisions. Therefore it’s very natural for any parent to become highly sensitive to every needs of their ward. But in our eagerness to be the BEST that we can, we end up being a “helicopter parent”.
Julie Lythcott-Haims in her book “How to raise an adult” shares that
Helicopter parents are so obsessed with making sure everything goes perfectly with their children that they often feel constantly exhausted and depressed, worried that they aren’t doing enough for their kids. Often the parent’s ego finds expression in their children. Everything the children do — how they dress, how they perform — is seen as a reflection of the parents.
“The sign of great parenting is not the child’s behavior. The sign of truly great parenting is the parent’s behavior.” — Andy smithson.
4. Stop expecting your kid to understand your shit.
Your kids need to understand that apart from being a parent you are a human too. A human that is fallible, lousy and not perfect. Kids do have a natural tendency to get very emotional with the problems of their parents. But that doesn’t mean you start involving them. You need to handle your own shit because your teenager might have a pile of his own.
Not only this, Parent often make the mistake of trying to live a vicarious life through their children. We all regret little things from our teenage years,and as a parent as soon as we sense an opportunity to prevent it from happening in our kid’s life, we don’t hesitate in pouncing on it — Rarely the smart move.
“Children shouldn’t have to sacrifice so that you can have the life you want.You make sacrifices so your children can have the life they deserve.” — Anonymous.
5. Stop pushing your kids to always toe your line.
Jennifer Senior in her book “All joy and no fun” writes
The modern world is an unsteady, unpredictable place. No one knows exactly what the future will bring. Jobs in the West that seem steady today may soon be outsourced, and others may be automated or mechanized.
Therefore, in order to secure a good job, parents are desperately trying to encourage their offspring to master as many skills as possible. They want to cover all the bases.
“As parents, if we are not careful, our kids can easily become blank canvases for our projections and shortcomings.” —Anonymous
6. Stop Hitting them.
No denying that there exists vast cultural differences on this sensitive issue. Still it doesn’t make much sense using hitting as an escape to wriggle yourself out of extremely sticky situations.
what’s the underlying message when you are hitting your kid?
That you are comfortable using the violence as a medium if someone is not toeing your line. You don’t mind becoming more vulnerable stretching the extreme corners of your tranquility zone if you find yourself capable of dominating the other dialogue partner.
“There is never a correct time or correct way to spank a child. Spanking is hitting. You are teaching your children that might makes right and that hitting is permissible in a loving relationship.” — Teacher Tom.
7. Stop propagating the bribe based parenting.
If your kid is promised the bribe of an ice cream bucket for helping his little brother in exam preparation, you are probably missing the implicit moral hazard here.
If left unattended this has potential to easily develop into a habit, where your kid is unable to appreciate the significance of personal responsibility and accountability. Instead he would be found more responsive to impending rewards.
“The best discipline has nothing to do with yelling, bribing or threatening. It’s about creating motivation to get the child to want to do what you desire.” – Marvin Marshall.
8. Stop excessive use of mobile devices both by you and by them.
With the exponential explosion of digital technology, parenting has become far more challenging. And there is absolutely no escaping from strings of problems that emanates from its widespread use.
As a parent you show your highest concern regarding the excessive use of digital devices by your kids. But conveniently forget that you were the one who encouraged them to use it as a tool to keep themselves engaged, so that you could give more attention to your own preferred activities or devices.
“Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important.” – Bill Gates.
9. Stop messing with their playtime.
Playtime, for them, is very important. Therefore, it should be unstructured, spontaneous and based on their decisions – not the parent’s.
Play is an opportunity for children to develop, as they try new things, test hypotheses and observe the world around them. They need a certain degree of freedom in order to do this constructively.
Children learn to solve conflicts, find compromises and negotiate in play. From deciding on roles when playing hospital to working out how to build a tree house together, kids ensure their play session doesn’t end in chaos and tears.
“Play is the highest form of research.” — Albert Einstein.
10. Stop treating your teenage kids like grown ups.
Jennifer Senior in her book “All joy and no fun” makes it amply clear
Parents often think the ideal way to bring up a teenager is to treat them like an adult, permitting them to make their own choices and enjoy their own freedom. However, this is very risky, as adolescents are vastly different from full-grown adults.
First, they don’t react to rational arguments like most adults. No matter how logical a proposition, an adolescent is likely to respond emotionally.
They are extremely hungry for experimentation. When given freedom, they stretch it as far as they can. Allow them to drink alcohol and they’ll probably keep at it until they’re fall-down drunk.
“Even as kids reach adolescence, they need more than ever for us to watch over them. Adolescence is not about letting go. It’s about hanging on during a very bumpy ride” — Ron Taffel
11. Stop telling your kids that they are special.
Kids shouldn’t simply be told that they are special and can achieve anything. They need to learn to put in the hard work to achieve their dreams. This can be easily taught with simple responsibilities like daily chores. This will teach them autonomy, perseverance and accountability. As a consequence they will be better placed to appreciate the fruits of their own labor.
Paul Harvey, a professor at University of New Hampshire finds that
“a great source of frustration for people with a strong sense of entitlement is unmet expectations. They often feel entitled to a level of respect and rewards that aren’t in line with their actual ability and effort levels, and so they might not get the level of respect and rewards they are expecting.” “They’ve been led to believe, perhaps through overzealous self-esteem building exercises in their youth, that they are somehow special but often lack any real justification for this belief.”
12. Stop measuring the worth of your kid by their intellectual capabilities.
Parents, especially those who are highly educated, are more likely to see their children’s intellectual capabilities over their children’s actual interests. If a child has the intelligence and innate skills needed to be a medical doctor but would rather work as an artist, then she’ll never be a happy (or even a good) physician.
Helping children find their passion means teaching them to listen to their intuition. Parents have to step back, see their kids for who they truly are and allow them to follow what interests them, not just what they’re good at. After all, kids will only put effort into something they enjoy. If you want them to be successful, you have to teach your children to find their own way.
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein.
Raising children can help you immensely in exploring your own potential and adding some purpose to your life. Children can prove to be your primary reason to get up every morning. There is no doubt that they’ll complicate your life, but they’ll also simplify it, as you’ll have a clear goal of raising your child as best you can.
Many challenges are part and parcel of having children. But in due course of time you will learn to overcome them. In the end, it’s the power that kids have to bring joy and fulfillment to your life that makes them worth having.
“Don’t let yourself become so concerned with raising a good kid that you forget you already have one.” — Glennon Melton.
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