What does it take to be the parent your child needs?
I really think my parents did a great job at raising my siblings and I. We all turned out pretty awesome, LOL. I try to think of what it is that they did that I can cut and paste into my own parenting style. Granted, they did live in a different time under completely different circumstances, but there are certain principles and habits that are timeless and can be applied in any setting. Here is my list of what I want to carry through in raising my kiddies. Hope it helps you think of what you would like to adopt or inspires you to share your ideas in the comment section.
5 Things My Parents Did Great At Parenting
- They encouraged open communication
Our parents encouraged us to say what was on our minds and what we had to say was always acknowledged and considered. We could have open discussions with them and it made it a lot easier for us to learn communication and social skills. These are skills that have helped me get through many jobs and promotions. Skills that have taught me how to network and engage with people from any type of background. It also made me confident as a child, which is something children need instilled in them from a young age.
- They gave us independence
My parents trusted us enough to allow us to go to parties with friends and they did not place unnecessary restrictions on us out of fear. They gave us boundaries that we were very much aware of, but within the boundaries we were allowed to have fun. As toddlers, we were allowed to play outside in the yard without being over supervised. They gave us free reign to enjoy our childhood. These days as parents we tend to smother our children and worry too much about them getting hurt.
- They allowed us to challenge their decisions
If ever they made a decision, we were allowed to challenge them, with respect of course. There was a degree of negotiation that was acceptable. My dad was very open to reasoning, and I suppose it is the lawyer in him that found it easy to do so. As parents it is important to make your children feel that you can be reasonable and that their needs are acknowledged. The answer does not always have to be yes, but encouraging negotiation and discussion around a decision will allow them to understand why the answer might end up as no. Usually children will rebel if they feel you are just not being fair. With that said, your children will not always be happy with your decision and that is life. They must know that the final decision lies with you, and respect must always be maintained.
- They taught us how to go through difficulty with the right attitude
We did not always have it easy financially when we were growing up. Somehow that did not affect us. As kids, we learned to be humble and not to place so much value on material things. We didn’t always get the latest sneakers or the toy that was trending at the time but that didn’t affect us in any way. We were who we were and we were content with what we had. The society we live in today is extremely materialistic and we live in the age of consumerism. It is our duty as parents to manage our children’s value on material possessions. Children need exposure to adventure, outdoor life and the simple things that make life.
- They taught us how to enjoy life
Our parents were (and still are) social beings who loved to dance, to socialize with friends and they hosted braai’s and parties regularly. It was so important for us to be exposed to this, it taught us the importance of celebrating life and friendship. It showed us the therapy that comes from connecting with friends and the power of unwinding. We learnt how to have fun, let go and once again it also taught us social skills.
I am going to do my best to consistently practice these 5 things, that do not cost a thing (except for point 5), in my parenting. What would you add to this based on your own experience?
Image Credit: Thomas Leuthard