The Secrets of Parenting
Parenting is not an easy task. It is a learning journey on its own and everyone has their own unique way of bringing up their children. No matter how tough it gets, we strive to be the best parents we can be. However, parents are only human too and no matter how conscientious and careful a parent may be, they're bound to make mistakes here and there. While there's no set of instructions for proper parenting—as every child, and family, is different—there are certain behaviors a parent can, and should, work to avoid.
Having Realistic Expectations
As good parents, we definitely want the best for our kids. But sometimes we may lose perspective and set our expectations too high.
It is common for parents to think that having higher expectations of their children would impact how successful they are in future. While this may be true for some cases, this is not applicable for every child.
We are not perfect and neither are our kids. Expecting them to be perfect is simply not realistic.
Being too hard on children can lead to them becoming frustrated, anxious and have low self-esteem. Rather than feeling like a failure for missing the mark parents are pushing for, they would be more likely to avoid trying new challenges.
If we have unrealistic expectations of what our kids should be doing, we can actually create problems.
Make sure that our expectations match what our kids are developmentally able or expected to be doing.
Setting Structure, Boundaries And Limits
We were all once children ourselves, so we know how awesome it felt when our parents were not around to impose rules on us. It is tempting to let our own children enjoy that freedom and allow them to do whatever they want, but it is actually detrimental for young children to grow up without any limits. Having rules, setting limits, consistent routines, and offering limited choices will help your child know and expect what is coming throughout the day.
Young children require structure, limits and boundaries for their daily lives. Structure means consistent schedules and routines; limits mean curbing destructive or risky behaviors by engendering good judgment; and boundaries mean honoring and respecting the physical and emotional space between people. These are all essential to a child’s proper development. Keep in mind that as with many other things, balance is important. Strive to not create overly strict limits but don’t be too lax either. Find the balance that works for your child and they will be better prepared for relationships, jobs, and the world outside your door.
Criticism And Comparison
No one enjoys criticisms or comparisons. Yet many parents compulsively criticize and compare their children daily. This is a surefire way to impair your kids’ esteem and damage their fragile egos. This is something that has an adverse effect on the child.
It is normal and necessary to reprimand a child when they have done something wrong. It shows them what is right and wrong and corrects their behavior. What should be avoided is going overboard with the reprimanding and letting it turn into nitpicking instead which can lead to behavioral problems. Children who are overly criticized tend to grow up with a negative self image, believing that they are underachievers and feel left out easily. They struggle with celebrating their strengths as they think it is nothing worth acknowledging and also internalize their parents’ negative voices. It only takes a thoughtless moment to hurt your kids with criticism or comparisons — but it can take a lifetime for them to recover.
Comparison is common when a child starts school, that her grades are compared with that of her classmates. It is important to note that constantly telling her how others are better than her won’t change her grades. On the contrary, it will affect her self-confidence. It would be ideal to sit with her, and help her figure out the reason why she is not able to perform or if there is any other matter bothering her.
Quality time is one of the five love languages.
Even when it may not appear so, children crave attention from their parents. Make it a point to spend at least 10-20 minutes of quality time each day with your child. Quality time lets your child know that they are important, that you love them and enjoy spending time with them.
As adults, parents naturally have many commitments to juggle. It is not easy to manage your time and attention between all the commitments, but keep in mind to always set aside time for your kids. Children are needy of their parents especially at a young age. Occasions that might seem trivial to adults can actually mean a lot to the child, and there’s nothing more they’d want than having their parents around.
Do our best to be present. Our bond with our children gets stronger by creating memories together. Children are growing up so fast and so soon. Don’t miss out on the most important moments in our children’s lives.
Being A Good Role Model
A parent needs to be a good role model as children are extremely observant and follow their parent’s behavior and mindsets very closely. If you possess a lot of bad habits and often behave poorly, it is likely that your child will take after you. Some examples of poor behavior include erupting in rages, lying, blaming others and playing the victim. When parents behave this way, they are subconsciously showing their kids to behave the same. Blaming your kids for the behaviors and bad habits you taught them is like blaming the mirror for your reflection.
Your child will follow your example, not your advice. You can spend all the time in the world giving good advice on how to best deal with life- to stay away from cigarettes, to treat others with kindness, to lead a healthy lifestyle. All these would be better ingrained in your child if you show them instead of just telling them.
Modeling the person you want your child to become is the most effective way of helping them grow up with the right values. Children observe and emulate behaviors. Before you point out the shortcomings of your children, consider amending your own first.
This might seem a little unnatural for Asian parents, but it is important for us to be emotionally authentic with our children. As mentioned previously about how children emulate adults, we must show them how we express and regulate our feelings appropriately. This way, the connection between parent and their children will be strengthened.
Aim to be real about your feelings with your children and allow them to participate in managing the feelings. For example, explain to them how much you miss a deceased family member and ask your children what you can do to keep him or her in your memory.
Allow your children to know your emotions and empathize with how you feel. You might be surprised at what they can say about the situation. Their innocent remarks can sometimes provide fresh perspective for us.
Teaching Our Kids The Value Of Money
Ask most children where money comes from, and they may or may not have an idea.
This is because many adults prefer not to discuss money matters as it is deemed as a controversial topic. It could also be that parents are not entirely sure on how to approach the topic. Children thus miss out on being educated on personal finance and responsible spending.
With that lack of education, they’ll be in unnecessary debt and being chased by credit card companies in their teenage years.
It does not matter what your own financial situation is like. It is important for parents to be open with children on finances and guide them on topics like saving money, budgeting and being generous at the right places.
Some tips to teach our children the value of money
Give your child a piggy bank
Open a joint savings account
Let them earn their own money
Let them do the shopping
Set savings goals and incentives
We as parents must also set an example to have our own retirement plan, emergency funds, or other financial goals in place.
Do speak to us now to review your own portfolio and how you can have a joint savings program with your children.
Parenting comes fraught with challenges and difficult situations. It also comes with plenty of rewards and wonderful moments.
Enjoy this phase, as, very soon, our little one would be all grown up.