With so many opinions out there, it’s sometimes difficult to judge how to make this whole parenting thing work out. We are always striving to be the best mom or dad to raise the best children possible!
Dr. Tim Elmore came up 7 general rules, listed below; that are deemed critical in the raising of happy, healthy, well-rounded individuals.
Let Your Children Experience Risk
Our children mean the world to us, we would do anything to protect them from getting hurt. However, it is important not to take attachment parenting too far and to give our children the space they need to develop when they are old enough.
The idea that bravery and courage are dismissed in today’s day and age is a major problem. In ‘America’s Journal of Play,’Marano states that; ‘Today, I fear for the home of the brave because we are robbing people of the sense that they can cope.’
Bernstein and Triger further these claims by saying that ‘Studies find that Intensive Parenting contributes to higher rates of anxiety, depression, and substance abuse and, furthermore, impairs children’s sense of independence.’
What to do: Allow your kids to experience life for themselves. If they want to go over to their friend at the park and go down the slide together, allow them to do it; alone! If they are old enough and capable enough then allow your child to experience as much as possible!
Don’t Be a Superhero Too Often
To help your children grow into independent, individual beings then it is important not to swoop in and rescue them from slightly uncomfortable situations too quickly.
Sometimes your child will benefit from being left alone to figure out a problem on their own, to learn leadership. ‘Intensive Parenting does not allow children to develop a sense of independence, self- sufficiency, and coping skills to address life’s challenges’states Bernstein and Triger.
What to do: Take a step back and analyze the situation before making any sudden over parenting moves. By examining whether the situation needs your help or if your child can figure it out on their own you can make a better-rounded individual who possesses individuality and leadership skills.
Control Your Praise
Many studies say that children should not be receiving attendance rewards as it ‘does not teach kids about the real world, and promotes a warped sense of their own self-importance,’ states John O’Sullivan.
James Harrison became somewhat infamous after he returned his six and eight-year-olds participation trophies while saying that; ‘these awards will not be given back until they EARN a real trophy.’
If no one else says that a child has done good, but their parents are raving about it, then the child is going to start disbelieving what you say. This encourages them to cheat or exaggerate to avoid the fact that they may not have done as well as first thought.
What to do: Don’t praise your child and congratulate them for something they did not do as well in. Instead, be kind and listen to what they say without giving any form of praise on the subject matter. Console them and encourage them to try it again to see if they do better.
We Let Guilt Get In The Way Of Leading Well
It’s hard not to spoil your child when you see they feel disappointed or upset about a particular thing. By explaining to them, they can’t have it right now or by saying ‘no’ your child will learn hat they can’t always get what they want just because they don’t feel great.
Dr. Anthony Wold states that “You begin to spoil a child when you give gifts, not because you want to, but because you feel forced to.” This sense of guilt may be especially relevant in single, divorced parents, or parents who do not have consistent rules/guidelines.
What to do: Avoid rewarding your children with material items, this can cause your child to think they always deserve a physical present whenever they do something well. This will prevent your child from feeling the unconditional love you have for them and lead them to believe it is truly materialistic.
Share Your Experiences!
Many people refuse to share their stories with their children, afraid that it may plant a seed in their head and give a particular type of permission to allow our children to make the same mistake.
What to do: By sharing past mistakes with our kids or teenagers, we enable them to understand the potential flaws with things they may want or do. Talking to our children about what we have done wrong in the past may allow them to view situations through our own eyes.
Even though it is important to allow your child to make their own decisions and ‘Encourage your children to take appropriate risks,‘(Purdue University), you should always give the best advice you can.
Don’t Mistake Intelligence For Maturity
Sometimes intelligence or giftedness can be misconstrued as maturity. As a parent is can be difficult to differentiate between the two. If your child appears to be excelling in certain ways- either academically or socially, it doesn’t mean that they possess the maturity you think they do.
According to Peter Vajda ‘Emotional maturity is not “intellectual,” but refers to a higher state of self-awareness, beyond “intelligence“’. The difference between intellectual and emotional maturity is essential in understanding the limits of your child.
What to do: Observe what stages other children of similar age are at compared to your child if you are unsure. By allowing your child the same amount of freedom as many of their friends you will instill trust and encourage emotional maturity.
Practice What You Preach
Allow your children to learn from your actions. If you try and cut corners or tell white lies, your children will learn unhealthy habits and discover that they may be able to get away with them too.
What to do: Children learn fast and like to copy what mom or dad do. By volunteering for organizations, you will teach your child the importance of selfless behavior and how you can reap the rewards from being honest and showing how rewards aren’t necessarily physical but can be emotional too.
It is important to give our children the best shot at life. To encourage them to be individuals whilst providing excellent guidelines as to how they should act or what they should do in certain situations. So mom and dad: get practicing!
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