We live in a world that is complicated. Daily pressures cause us to try to do way more that we should. We try to pack so many things into 24 hours that we are exhausted at the end of the day. Work, family, daily chores, meetings, sports, other activities….it is all too much for many of us to handle. The stress we feel is handed down to our children when we place our own expectations on their little lives.
Children are not allowed to be children anymore. They are pressured into growing up quickly and filling their time with endless activities. When I was small, life was simple. I spent hours playing by myself and using my creativity to do projects like painting, sewing and knitting. Toys and games did not fill my room and I wasn’t bored. Instead of spending hours playing on a computer or an i-pad, I was outside riding my bicycle or having adventures in my backyard.
I see children today who are involved in so many things that they don’t have time to enjoy their childhood. Their schedules are so full of activities like sports, dancing, martial arts, video games, parties and other events that they don’t have time to use their own creativity. Then when they do have down time, they go to rooms full of toys and games and are bored because they have nothing to do.
Parents often smother their children with too much, thinking it shows love. We all want our children to have nice things but when it is overdone, it can result in emotional problems. Kids feel frustrated, stressed, unsatisfied and feeling entitled to having everything they want. We should give our children less stuff and allow them to have more free time to build their creativity. We should give our children less activities and more family time. More is not better. More is stressful. We need to simplify the lives of ourselves and our children.
Here is a great article I just read that explains more deeply what happens when we simplify life.http://raisedgood.com/extraordinary-things-happen-when-we-simplify-childhood/
Can people count on you? Do you keep your commitments? Are you honest? Do you do what is right?
People with integrity have strong values, beliefs and principles. Their character is consistent and they always try to do the right thing even when it is hard or it goes against what society believes.
How can you tell if someone has integrity?
- they are truthful
- they keep their promises
- they are there for you even in tough times
- they are more concerned with giving than receiving
- they always do their best and care about what they are doing
- they accept responsibility for their mistakes
- they are forgiving
- they don’t blame others
- they don’t try to hurt others, instead they try to help others
Do you have integrity? Are you teaching your children to have integrity?
Sometimes we inherit something from our parents, like the same colour of eyes or hair or maybe the same shaped nose. But were you aware that we can also inherit their character traits and tendencies?
Children are born with their own personalities but these can be influenced greatly by the behaviour and actions of their parents.
- If we are angry, bitter or negative people, our children can also become angry, bitter or negative.
- If we are self-centered and focus on ourselves more than others, our children will become selfish and lack generosity.
- If we have an addiction to cigarettes, alcohol or drugs, our children are more likely to develop an addiction.
- If we don’t have solid moral values, our children will not learn to respect themselves and others.
As parents, we have a profound affect on our children and we should ensure that we are influencing them in a positive way. This isn’t an easy task and we will make mistakes. However, we should carefully look at our own lives and try to make any necessary changes so we can become to be the best possible role model.
What are you passing on to your kids?
We are all different. Everyone is unique and special in their own way. No two people on this earth are exactly the same and we should celebrate our differences.
When we have children, we often expect them to be like us and when they aren’t, we either try to mold them into a “mini-us” or we constantly battle with them because they don’t act the way we want them to and they drive us crazy.
We should raise our children as they are and not try to change them into the person we want them to be. They are not us and they never will be. We can force them into our mold and have them become an unhappy, unfulfilled adult. Or we can encourage them to use their abilities, guide them through difficult situations to achieve their potential and support them when they fail.
Children are a gift. Allow them to be themselves. They are not perfect and neither are we. Just love them.
Everyone wants to have friends. Friendships are important. Good friends help us learn and grow, they help us build confidence, they help us enjoy life. When we are surrounded by people who care about us, we are able to navigate through life’s ups and downs and feel their love and support.
Children especially need friends to help them grow emotionally, socially and morally. They need mainly people their own age, although children can become friends with those who are older or younger. Many parents try to be a friend to their child, thinking they are being loving, but this will only stop a child from becoming independent and responsible. Parents should be a parent, a mentor, a teacher, someone who is there to guide them, support them, discipline them and mostly love them. Parents should be a good example to their children, helping them learn how to become a good friend to others and encouraging them to find positive friendships. Without friendships, children may easily become depressed, lonely and lack ambition which can result in poor health, poor performance in school or work, failed marriages and difficulty coping as an adult.
What does it take to be a good friend? It comes from a combination of teaching and experience. Good friends are able to :
- communicate their feelings in a positive way
- understand the feelings of others
- show empathy
- be trustworthy
- not gossip or spread false rumours
- take responsibility for their own actions
- solve problems and resolve conflicts
- forgive easily and not hold grudges
- distinguish right from wrong
- make good choices
- stand up for what they believe
- withstand bullying and understand that bullies have their own issues to deal with
- be loyal even when a friend is hurting physically or emotionally
- get along with others even during difficult times
- accept differences in people
- own up to their mistakes and not blame others
- have fun and enjoy life
If you want to have good friends, you have to be a good friend. Be a good example to your children and teach them to be a good example to others. Discourage them from having friends who continually hurt them through gossiping, excluding them, ignoring them or trying to get them to do things they know is wrong. Even having 1 good friend is better than having 20 bad friends. You are the biggest influence in your child’s life so make sure you are influencing them in a positive way.
Let’s face it – life IS difficult and there are so many things that we can worry about – our families, our jobs, our friends, our finances, our future. However, what value does worrying have? The answer is – absolutely none!! Worry doesn’t make anything better and it won’t resolve any problems. Worry is just a major cause of stress and we know that stress can kill us.
So if we are worrying about everything in our lives, then we are impacting everyone around us, especially our children. Think about it – our children are watching everything we say and do and will likely pick up any bad habits we have, like worrying! We are giving them a terrible gift, one that will harm their health and possibly destroy any close parent/child relationship.
Are you teaching your children to worry? If you are a worrier, take some steps to change this bad habit. Write down your worries and try to change your perspective on them. Ask yourself why you are worrying so much. Try to focus on a positive solution and have faith that things will usually turn out okay. The fact is, about 95% of the things we worry about never happen!
Unless we are completely alone, everything we say and do has an effect on other people. We can be a good example or we can be a bad example depending on what kind of words and actions we are using. The best thing we can do is to lead by example and have a positive impact on everyone around us, especially our children.
- If you want your children to show respect to others, you can’t call people names and run them down.
- If you want your children to tell the truth, you can’t call in sick to work and then go and play golf
- If you want your children to be kind to others, you can’t ignore that homeless person lying on the ground
- If you want your children to be healthy, you can’t eat unhealthy foods or abuse substances yourself
If you want your children to grow up to become responsible adults, you have to show them what a responsible adult looks like. You can’t just tell them or try to force them into a mold. They will learn best from your positive example.
This doesn’t mean that you should try to be a perfect parent. There is no such thing! Do the best you can and aim for excellence not perfection. You will make mistakes. Don’t try to cover them up and pretend you are perfect. Show your child that you do fail but that you learn from your mistakes and keep trying to do better.
What kind of example are you?
The truth is we all gossip. Gossip is idle talk about the personal or private affairs of others. It is a natural and expected part of our lives and helps us learn how to relate to others. If we are sharing good news about something positive and exciting, gossip can be a good thing.
However, problems can arise when we start talking about things that are mean, nasty, inaccurate or incomplete. If we discover a person doing something we think is wrong, we may want to share the information, not even knowing if what we saw has a good explanation. We can even add information that isn’t true, just to make the story more interesting and to make the person look really bad. This can start vicious rumours that embarrass or humiliate the person.
Gossiping that is intended to hurt someone is NEVER appropriate. Often we don’t know the whole story behind what we saw and it isn’t our business anyway. The only time we should gossip about something serious is when it is a matter of life and death. We certainly wouldn’t like other people to gossip about us, so we should extend the same courtesy.
Do you gossip? Does it hurt other people? If you are a parent, gossiping is a bad thing to model to your children. You are teaching them how to hurt other people and this will eventually end up hurting them. Be a positive role model. Be careful with your words and try not to gossip. If you catch your child gossiping, talk to them and discuss why it is wrong. Explain how it can hurt people and damage relationships. Help them develop empathy and make sure they apologize to anyone they have hurt.
Punishment and discipline are not the same thing and they don’t have the same impact on a child. Punishment is an outer action that is intended to make a child behave by force. Discipline is teaching a child how to discipline themselves by setting boundaries that are fair and helping them deal with the consequences.
Punishment is parental control and can result in making a child feel unloved and that they have no value. It can:
- encourage more conflict
- arouse anger
- send a message that it is okay to hit or control someone who is smaller/weaker
- show that being powerful is a good thing
- create confusion as to what is fair
- stop them from making good choices
Discipline is a teaching experience where the child learns how to become a responsible adult who can make good choices. It can:
- give them ownership of the problem
- teach them how to problem solve
- help a child learn to deal with their emotions effectively
- teach them how to respect other people and themselves
- help them feel valuable
- teach them how to make good choices
Being raised in an environment of punishment, I believed that this was the only way to teach a child a lesson and I became the parent that doled out punishment whenever things got out of control. I did not realize the negative impact this had on my children until I looked back on my own life and understood the effect punishment had on my own life.
When your children misbehave, take time to calm down and never react in anger. Your child may behave out of fear, but why not discipline them and teach them to behave out of love and respect? Give them a time-out, take away some privileges, have them do extra chores or do whatever it takes to correct the situation. Make sure you talk to them and try to remain as calm as possible. Controlling children through fear, is never the answer. Teaching them how to control their own behaviour is a much better way.
The way you parent your children mainly depends on what kind of environment you have been raised in. Most parents will use the same methods of parenting used by their parents and grandparents even though they may have hated the way they were raised. Every child wants to please their parents and they will try to model their behaviour. They may even believe that this is the way normal parents behave if they have never encountered a different approach.
There are basically 3 types of parents. The terms vary depending on what information you are reading, but I like to use the terms powerful, permissive and responsible. Each one has a different impact on the child as to what kind of parent/child relationship they have and what type of parent they will become. Think back to your own childhood and determine what kind of parent you were raised by.
- POWERFUL parents are those who make their children behave by controlling them with angry words or forceful actions and punishments. They make most decisions for their child and allow them little freedom. They use their size to intimidate their child and may ignore, harass or even physically abuse them. Children of powerful parents behave out of fear rather than love and will eventually grow to resent their parents, often rebelling in some way. They will grow up with insecurities and fears and will likely raise their children using anger and intimidation.
- PERMISSIVE parents are those who allow their children to do almost anything they want. There are few or no rules and parenting is inconsistent. They make things as easy as they can for the child, often doing things for them that the child could easily do themselves. This robs the child of self-respect and self-esteem and invites rebellion. Children of permissive parents often are confused and make poor choices because they have no guidelines to follow.
- RESPONSIBLE parents are those who convey love and show respect to their children and other people. They provide their children with opportunities to make their own choices and hold them accountable. They use consistent, loving discipline and lead by example. They encourage, support and protect their child and help them develop good self-worth. Children of responsible parents learn how become a responsible adult by watching and modelling the positive characteristics of their parent.
Powerful and Permissive parents have a negative affect on their children. Most of these children will struggle in school, work and in their relationships. They will likely become the same type of parent with their children or in some cases, they can go to the other extreme. Children raised by powerful parents might become permissive parents because they don’t want their children to be controlled and will allow them complete freedom to do what they want, falsely believing this is showing love. Children raised by permissive parents might become powerful parents because they believe that children need rules and may go way overboard in taking control, causing the parent/child relationship to suffer greatly. Neither method works well.
The Responsible parent is the best method of parenting. The parent works with the child to build a loving relationship. Mistakes are made but lessons are learned and the child develops a positive perspective on life.
It is also extremely important that both parents use the same parenting method. There needs to be continuous communication between the parents so they discuss and work out any problems. When parents use different parenting methods or the parents are divided on any matter, parenting WILL fail. Children are a lot smarter than we think they are. They will divide and conquer every time. Make sure you are working together as a team to raise your children in the best way possible. And if you make a mistake? Well, you are human and nobody is perfect. Apologize, start over, do whatever it takes to keep those lines of communication open!
So what kind of parent are you? And what kind of parent do you want your child to be?