The following is from a fellow Mom-Blogger- Tanya Kuzmanovic. You can visit her and her site from the links following her post. Thanks for sharing Tanya!
There are so many intricate facets to parenting – that change from one stage to the next. At first, it entails just keeping our babies alive – by feeding, diapering and soothing them. Then it morphs into answering their questions, ensuring they follow our rules and disciplining them appropriately when they do not. Once our kids hit their teen years, parenting turns into a whole other wild ride spent avoiding land mines and engaging in full-on battle.
But when you get down to brass tacks – the whole parenting thing can really be narrowed down to one specific: we all want to raise a successful child. And by successful – I mean a productive, compassionate and kind child. Who will then grow into a productive, compassionate and kind adult.
It sounds simple enough – and in theory it is. But in order to follow through on this, we as parents really do have our work cut out for us. Just as with any difficult and complex task, it always helps to have some simple steps to follow. And lucky you, that part has already been completed. Here are 8 simple steps to follow in order to raise a successful child.
#1 A Balancing Act
Before we as parents can even begin to plan on raising successful children, we need to ensure we are laying the groundwork required. An ideal family life entails finding a delicate balance – consisting of quality time together as a family (where we talk and/or play and/or hang out together). But also ensuring we have ample time to ourselves as well – sans children. Where we get to spend time with friends, co-workers, and partners – without kids as the central focus.
#2 Avoiding the “H” Word
In this day and age, a lot of emphasis is placed on making sure our kids are “happy”. But what does this mean? Kids will pout when they don’t get their way, when they are bored, tired, hungry. The idea of happiness is a thorny concept – because true happiness isn’t always readily visible or apparent. And the ideas of what makes someone happy can change throughout a person’s growth – as most of us adults already realize (hopefully). So many parents are willing to jump through hoops in order to make their kids happy. They give in to them; avoid setting limits and doling out consequences; they sometimes even pass the parenting control over to the kids. The thing is though – that kids don’t necessarily know what they need (or even want) in order to be happy. If parents worried less about their children’s happiness and focussed instead on nurturing their compassion, independence and kindness – happiness would be a natural side-effect.
#3 Too Much Parenting
Calculating risks is a part of life – and it’s also a necessary part of parenthood. Yet by inflating the perceived risk factor in any task or activity within our children’s lives, they will never have the chance to feel independent or trusted. And they need to experience both of these during childhood in order to become confident and secure adults. At times, it may feel like it goes against our human nature as parents – but we need to allow them to make mistakes. If they haven’t finished their homework – let them go to school and face the music. If they haven’t sufficiently studied for a test – let them receive a bad grade. If they want to spend their birthday money on a flash-in-the-pan gimmicky toy that you know they’ll be sick of in two days time, let them do it. Valuable life lessons abound in every failure. By allowing our kids to make small mistakes early on, we are preparing them not to make momentous ones in the future.
#4 Limits and Boundaries
Setting limits within the lives of our children is the easy part. It’s the maintaining and enforcing of said limits that can actually prove more difficult for us – especially when our kids know how to push our buttons or play the sympathy card. Ensuring that our children follow our rules and guidelines is how we teach them self-regulation and motivation – both necessary traits in order to succeed later in life.
#5 Knowing What’s Up
We need to know what’s going on in our children’s lives. The most simple and honestly the best way to do this is to simply pay attention to them. When our kids ask a question or want to talk with us, it’s imperative we drop everything to listen to them. This means putting down the phone, shutting off Netflix, rinsing the conditioner from our hair and giving them the time they deserve. Paying attention also means noticing when something is wrong or bothering them – even if they don’t necessarily say as much. Our kids need to know that we’re here for them and that we will always get their back. Not only will this shore up our parent/child relationship, but it will also encourage kids to keep the lines of communication open. And communicating effectively is the foundation of any healthy relationship.
#6 Unstructured and Non-Electronic
We all lead busy lives and inevitably structured schedules as well as electronic devices will play a part. Which is why it’s important to carve out a bit of time where the family can take a collective breather from this. Head to the park, go for a walk, work on a jigsaw puzzle together, play a board game, go to the beach. Whatever you decide, just leave all electronics out of the equation. This will give everyone’s brain (and thumbs) a rest. Kids may complain at first – but you’ll see – they’ll end up enjoying themselves. And in the end, their focus and concentration will be refreshed.
#7 Developing an Emotional IQ
Being book-smart and studious clearly have their own benefits – but all of it won’t amount to much if our children are unable to read emotional cues from other people in their circles. This emotional learnedness isn’t always instinctual and doesn’t necessarily come easy to everyone. Which is why it is up to us as parents to help our kids navigate what other people are saying without words – through their expressions, tone and body language.
#8 Facing the Music
The sooner a child understands that all of their actions and behaviour have consequences attached, the better. Allowing our kids to face negative consequences head-on is an often understated life lesson. Kids who aren’t exposed to or who are sheltered from negative consequences will grow up not understanding accountability. Even worse, they will be unable to distinguish between negative consequences and their own sense of self-worth and value.
Tanya Kuzmanovic is a perpetually frazzled writer/mother/movie-lover who enjoys doing laundry, cleaning house and driving kids around in her spare time. Check out her blog pencilsandpopcans.com or connect with her via social media: