November 16, 2008
Raising Children - What You Should Know
By Susan Teo
What’s the best way to raise a child? A million dollar question, which unfortunately has no right answer. Each child is unique, thus no set of rules can apply to all. However there are a few things that you should keep in mind to be on your way to becoming a better parent.
The first thing is to keep cool when things mess up. Getting agitated or panicky during a crisis isn't gonna solve anything! Keep in mind that chances are, the situation that you are facing has happened to someone else. Can you imagine if each time you visited a doctor he got all panicky? He doesn’t because he has seen many cases, thus he remains calm and collected. The patient on the otherhand frets and worries, thinking their ailment is the most serious and unique. So if you want to solve any family problems or conflicts, the most important thing is remain cool.
The second most important rule is to strengthen your team. When we say strengthen your team, we don't literally mean to go out there and increase your family size! What we mean is to make sure that you and your partner are in cahoots with each other on your child raising and discipline philosophies. Spend time talking to each other about important issues like rules and discipline.
It is also very important to discipline consistently. At the end of a hard day it is so easy to give in to a child that is crying or whining...but that is not consistent. It does not teach them and only makes your job as a parent more difficult. Set limits and rules and always enforce them.
You should also ensure that there is order in your childs lives. Keep a regular schedule of meals, naps, bedtimes and chores. Children need schedules and structure in order to feel in control of the world around them. If you have to change the schedule, respect them by telling them about the changes ahead of time.
Also be sure to be a good role model. No matter how much you resist being a role model to your children, you can’t escape it. All kids take pleasure in imitating their parents, so why not be one consciously and effectively?
In addition to that, you should take an interest in their hobbies. Do things together, like reading, walking, playing and cleaning house. What children want most is your attention. Bad behavior is usually their way of getting your attention.
In the midst of everything else, remember to teach them to stand on their own. Let your child make simple decisions and gently remind them to stand on the decisions that they made. Guide them when they are deciding, tell them the pros and cons of their posible decision. But what ever their decision is, just respect it.
Be sure to also listen to your child. As parents, we sometimes are quick to judge our child's actions or choice of words, that we do not hear their cries for love, attention, or help. We should listen to their feelings, reactions, and opinions. Try to understand their point of view. Look at them when they are talking to show that you are hearing their every word. Put down that book, turn off that television, stop what you are doing and listen!
And finally, practice detachment. The role of a parent is that of a gardener. You don’t create the seed, nor the soil. The potential is already in the seed, you just have to ensure the right conditions for growth. You can loosen the soil a little, so that it may come out easily. Put a fence around it, see that it is not killed by anything, But you can’t control the outcome of the seed.