There is no rule book for raising every child and certainly little if any formal education is offered on the subject. Does that mean Junior will have to grow up crazy and wayward? Well, not if you are willing to learn and apply some simple but often ignored principles on child rearing. It’s a busy world we live in and it seemingly demands more to bring up responsible and successful children now than it did a century ago. There’s not enough time to stay home and spend time with kids, mum and dad have to work plus the easy access, strong connection and influence of the media and society are not making things an atom easier. This may be a major factor to explain why the question; how to raise a child is more important today than ever before and very necessary to ensure good parenting.
Are you kidding? Raising a child seems to be so complicated these days, the state of every nation should be thinking about establishing special child rearing institutions in every city and village - or maybe not. What if all parents just committed themselves to learning at home what they should learn from those schools? After all they hardly have any time to spend at home with kids let alone commit to a school that is supposed to teach them how to raise children. Every child is unique and that is why there could really never be any rule book that will work for every one of them. On the other hand, though, some time tested principles will prove very helpful if you have the interest to put them to work or need valuable parenting advice.
What’s your child’s real worth to you
No matter how great the ideas that follow are or how much parenting advice you get, you need to figure this one out first. I know it sounds a bit awkward, but in reality, not everyone places the same value on their kid. Some parents will normally profess their undying and incomparable love for their children but there are really fewer parents who do something to prove it.
So what I want you to ask yourself, in order to properly and sincerely answer the question of how much your child is worth to you is this; what are you willing to do – and not to do – in order to raise your child better?
Can you stop taking extra hours at work so that you can earn more money you do not really need and make the sacrifice of spending more time with your children? Are you willing to spend a few extra box to ensure that they are getting better education and training? will you keep away from bad habits you may have picked up like drinking, smoking or staying out late so you can be a good example to your kids and show them a better way to live?
These are some of the sacrifices that really determine how much your kids are worth to you and are very necessary for child rearing. It matters little how much you profess to love and cherish them. If you cannot make sacrifices like picking up better habits and dropping bad ones for their sake, you really do not love them, at least not as much as you profess to.
It is normal to think you know how to raise a child until you finally get one. Feeding, clothing or providing education or basic necessities are non- negotiables for child rearing. There is much more than making sure you provide for the child these basic necessities. You do not instinctively get knowledge to raise a child like a baby knows how to suck breast milk. Getting proper knowledge requires that you consciously learn what must be done with regards to child rearing.
Start by buying some books, get parenting advice from people who have brought up successful children or maybe from your parents. Commit to learning all you can from these people and putting it to practice. Usually the knowledge or ideas we have about raising children are all built from the experiences we had while we grew. Some of the things your own parents did or did not do in raising you up may not work for your own children because they are living in a much more complex society than you did. However, some core tips would apply and prove valuable for you and the kids. So learn from contemporary writers too and make the right choices from what you learn.
The Ideal Atmosphere
There are few things as important as the environment in which kids are raised. Children are naturally tender of heart and will very easily grow up with attitudes, habits and character traits they picked up from the environment they live and grow in. If your home is characterized by cursing and harsh words, it is very likely your kid will grow up to be abusive and aggressive.
The home and atmosphere children grow in must of necessity be void of anything you will hate to see in them as they grow up. Parents usually disagree and that is quite understandable. On the other hand, there is no reason why you should raise your voice or argue in front of your children, much less fight in their presence. If you desire to see your children grow into loving adults, give them the opportunity to grow up in a loving environment. Let them learn from you how to respect and honor people.
Where you live, where they school
Talking about atmosphere, these are two things you need to carefully consider. Children spend the greatest portion of their time either in school or at home. So while you do everything possible to rid your home environment of anything that could negatively influence the children, it is important that you are also careful about the school they attend and how they interact with friends at school. Try to personally know your child’s friends. Ask them about it and encourage those friends to be close to the family so that you can be sure your kids are interacting with the right people.
Good parenting demands that you act as a parent not just to your own children but to their friends as well. Learn to treat their friends with love and respect. For one thing, this will help them feel free to introduce their friends to you, and they will be more willing to listen to you when you tell them to keep away from certain friends.
Create Routines, Break routines
As kids grow up, they need to be guided and controlled through certain things. Usually this requires that you let them go through routines. This is also one reason why schooling is really important for kids. Let them know there is a time to wake up and a time to sleep. A time to work and a time to play. A time for everything.
But the goal is not to make them robots. When routines are too stringent, they become boring and the children feel like they are in prison. Once in a while, you should guide them into breaking normal routines. For example, instead of taking supper at 7pm at home, you can all go out for a meal at a restaurant. They could play intellectual games in the evenings or after school rather than just read.
The idea is to ensure that though you guide the kids to grow up being able to follow routines, which may be necessary for jobs, they also learn the important lesson that routines will sometimes have to be broken, probably when they have to change jobs. So creating routines helps prepare them for a world which sometimes demands that a person is able to follow a particular order of doing things yet not be too caught up in that order as to be uncomfortable changing it.
These days, pampering children seems to be a great way to show them love, but it’s really not fruitful in the long run. It may seem cool and convenient for you and the kids at the moment but time will tell otherwise. The same children who enjoyed being pampered when they were young will curse you when they grow up for letting them go without discipline. There are also parents who can think of no other method of discipline than beating.
It is generally not a good thing to always beat children. While I perfectly agree with the fact that children should get a good spanking sometimes, you don’t have to overdo it. The first reason is that children could easily become too familiar with the whip and instead of correcting them, it could harden them in wrong doing.
Don’t discipline a child out of anger or to simply get even. They are not your mates. It is very important that whenever you have to discipline your child, he/she understands that you are doing it out of love, not spite. Don’t throw abuses at children or assault them. Don’t even make them get the idea that you are correcting them out of anger.
Try more productive forms of punishment like giving them house chores or cancelling movie and other moments of pleasure.
Children are not adults, and you must learn their language if raising children who can make you proud tomorrow is your goal. More importantly, teach them to communicate effectively while they grow up. Don’t let your children get to 20 and not understand this most important requirement in society. Let them know the difference between formal and informal environments and how to properly communicate in both.
Setting Limits or restrictions to everything
I know they enjoy playing a lot and can stay up all night watching TV, but you just shouldn’t let them always have their way with everything. Some parents will let their kids do just about anything they like when they feel like doing it because they would not like “prince Junior” to get hurt. TV time should be TV time and study time should be respected.
Talking about TV, and the internet too, you will be surprised how much influence the media has on kids these days. Phone and social media access just makes issues much worse. You could limit access to certain channels and programs on TV but if you do not monitor their use of mobile phones, you still have a big problem to handle.
Social media addiction is becoming a famous issue of concern amongst parents of teenagers today. They wake up with their phones in hand and sleep with them. Some are texting and chatting on social media while watching TV. Little wonder children’s concentration span has witnessed a significant drop in this century.
When they go out with friends for parties, let them know there is a limit to how long they can stay out. You should also be careful about their circle of friends at school and in the neighborhood. Children usually pick up very bad habits from friends though they may have been trained otherwise at home.
Your own child could be one of the positive examples to the rest if you decide to bring them up with appropriate restrictions.
No one has time, make time
Lack of time is the most common plea whenever parents are reminded of their responsibility to spend more time with their kids. News flash, no one has “enough” time. We all have to make time. Time, unlike the impression people have is not a commodity some people have more than others. We all get twenty-four hours a day. No more, no less! However, what you do with your own twenty-four hours is determined by your priorities. Whatever is most important to you gets more time. As simple as that.
Priority determines not just the quantity but quality of time you spend on everything in life. Yes! Quality time is usually more important than more time. Dad feels guilty that he is not spending as much time as he should with the family because mum had the nerve to confront him two days ago. He decides and promises to spend more time with the family after some parenting advice. But while everyone is having a great time being together in the living room, dad is on the phone for hours taking work related calls. At meals, he is rushing through so he can revisit some extra work he brought home. He may be there with the family longer but they still don’t have him. His work has him.
As children grow up, they easily pick up the same trend and consider work to be the prime subject of life. So the misplacement of value is passed on to generations unborn. Stop it right now and start a new trend
Teaching children principles and real values
There are certain things in life which are not learnt in school, by formal education or even by getting parenting advice from a counselor. In learning how to raise a child, it is important that one undertakes to imbibe in them true values and principles of life. There are some core values which if your child lacks while growing will make things rather difficult for them.
One of such values is honesty. It does not really matter that they attended the best schools or went through the best training, if a child will not be honest from his/her tender days, they will have problems in every sphere of life. No one likes deception and most employers for example will rather pay workers with some of these core values than someone with more college degrees than a thermometer.
The real value of money
Money is one of those things which can very easily turn the best of persons into the very worse. A man can very much be the best of himself until he begins to have more money than he actually needs. First let your children understand that the value of life cannot be measured in monetary term. And the amount of property one amasses cannot really determine their worth to their families and more importantly to their society. The number of people you are able to touch positively is more important than the digits of your paycheck.
Whatever we do in life, we have to interact with people. It is inevitable that we do. Consequently, everyone is always creating relationships with people. The quality of each relationship to a great extent determines the quality of the outcome or purpose for the said relationship. For example, if one has employees under them, his or her relationship with these employees will determine how well the company or business operates. That means you should train your kids to value the relationships they create and be attentive to the impact they have on people.
Give them a chance to learn responsibility
Like we have heard over and over, the best time to train children is while they are young. As a matter of fact, the younger the better. Let your children take responsibility and be accountable for little tasks while they grow up. For example, you could tell your boy that he will be paid for a particular chore he does around the house. Keep to your word and take note of what he does with the money when he gets.
While they are at college, give them the opportunity of paying or at least contributing to the payment of some house hold bills. As they grow up with such practice, it becomes normal for them to take responsibility.
When children approach puberty (and it seems they do much earlier these days) let them understand that there is no subject you feel embarrassed discussing with them. One subject parents shy away from discussing is sex, and that is also the issue children are more likely to run into trouble for. Sex education should not be avoided. Whenever they have problems or fall in love, you should be the first person they want to talk to about it. Many children fall prey to sex offenders because they could not talk to their parents about what was going on until it was too late.
No more excuses
It is your children we are talking about. I don’t think there should be anything more important than raising children to be responsible and successful in the future. Agreed you have a job which is very demanding, you have to take care of the family and make your fair share of financial contributions to that effect but if you do all of that and loose your children in the process, what gain do you get from it? Funny how one always has or makes time for food and then has no time for family.
You say I don’t have enough money to do this or that for my kids. It’s not more money you need to raise children right. As a matter of fact most parents with the worse behaved children are the ones with the most money in their accounts. The point is, more money is no guarantee or absolute necessity for raising children properly. Work hard to make things better and easier for your kids but make sure you make the best use of the little you have now. If they are getting cereals for breakfast, let them have it with love.
Knowing how to raise a child is as important as deciding to get one in the first place. They have the potential of either making your life and that of your spouse much more pleasurable or very painful depending on how well you commit yourself to raising them properly.
Patience, I did not say it was all going to happen in a day
Being an adult is not a day’s issue, neither is raising a child. So many parents have problems being patient with their kids and committing their best to their upbringing because they do not remember how their own childhood was. How often they made mistakes and went astray. Patience is an unavoidable requirement for good parenting.
Breathe in…. breathe out, you can make it through. Take everyday at a time. Stop regretting yesterday or fretting about the child’s tomorrow. Do what you must today and wait for tomorrow’s task. Raising children requires that you get up every morning with fresh enthusiasm and renewed commitment to their future. It cannot happen in a day or in a month and certainly not a year either. So exercising patience is going to be very necessary.
Now go raise those kids to be responsible and successful
Good parenting pays off and knowing how to raise a child is as important to society as it is to your family. You get the satisfactions and peace of having a quite old age and can take the time off to rest from all the hard work done throughout the years. You would not have to see your children struggle with their jobs or marriage, or even their own kids because at the right time you were committed to good parenting and it pays off. What’s more, you must have contributed your fare share and played your part in making the society we all live in a better and happier place simply because your kids were raised right.