Do you look at kids you know and shudder inwardly? Does it leave you worried about just how to bring up a kid that’s independent and mature and avoid major showdowns in public areas?
Children of baby-boomers would have grown up to the saying “Children are meant to be seen, not heard”. Well, on this side of the world, at least. Parents of that generation were also quite strict and misbehaviour was not even something that was allowed to formulate itself in kids’ brains.
Fast forward to today and you have all this guidance and advice telling you that you shouldn’t be strict with your kids, they need to be showered with love etc. But, you may find yourself hesitant to subscribe to this because, hey, you (the parent) turned out just fine. There is that healthy middle if you want to bring up a well-rounded kid who appreciates what they have and respects people in their life.
Spend time with them
Children may seem like magpies when it comes to new stuff. They forget everything when they realise that there’s something new with their name on it. Give it some time and you’ll find that the new toy gets pushed aside and your child is playing quietly with one of her favourite puzzles. Join in on the activity and you have a happy child in your hands. So, instead of getting them new toys, choose to spend more time with them. The thing they crave the most is human interaction.
Be caring while being strict
As a parent, you are in charge of drawing the lines as to what are the suitable behaviour and practices your child should follow. While it’s good to always enforce those guidelines, cut them a little slack when doing so. Understand that they need to know that you get why they are upset but rules are rules. Use phrases like “I understand that you are having fun” or “I know that you want to spend more time playing” before reinforcing message that they need to follow you. Now.
Walk the talk
Kids soak in whatever they hear. So, if you have uttered these desperate words “I’ll buy you X if you clean up after yourself”, be prepared for them to cash in on that promise. Avoid making promises in the heat of the moment. If you are going to issue an ultimatum, follow through with it– whatever the cost. This way, your child gets that you are dead serious if you say you’re going to do something.
Kids have no understanding of time. If they’re tired, they’re tired. Saying that you have to run errands for about an hour is not something they get. The best bet is to get them involved in the errands you are trying to cross off your list. However, if they seem to be falling behind, don’t rush or scold them. Try to understand what’s at play here and when things are not that intense, make sure to talk to your child about what happened. Win-win for both parties is the way to go.
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