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RAISING children is a paradoxical task. It starts out really hard for parents who want to do a good job of caring for their children. You think that all the hard work will pay off as the child gets older, but things do not always stay the same.
Parents have to be consistent when dealing with children, yet they have to keep up with the changes as their children grow and develop.
One father said this during a parenting seminar: “I used to have many parenting theories before I became a parent. Now that I am a father of three, I have no theories left.” Parenting is all about learning and experiencing. It requires work, time and loads of patience.
Language is the key to good communication between parents and children. It is not a Western thing to talk to our children. Using respectful language with children transcends all cultures. Children learn from the way we communicate with them.
Shouting or yelling at your children will make matters worse. They will open up to you when they feel secure, loved and respected. Threats will only confuse them and make them fearful to share their thoughts.
Most parents want their children to listen to what they say. They focus so much on seeking cooperation from their children that they overlook the importance of developing the child’s character. It is better for children to cooperate because it is the right thing to do, not because their parents told them so.
Parents forget that their children tend to mimic them in their behaviour rather than internalise their words. You want your child to tell the truth at all times, yet there are occasions when he hears you telling a white lie over the phone.
Children do make lots of mistakes; so do their parents. They often hear their parents say: “It is a harsh and difficult world out there. I will teach you now so that you will not make the same mistakes.”
Many teenagers often feel misunderstood by their parents. To them, the real world is the present, not the one in the future. They need their parents to support them as they go through the challenges of teenage years. Help your children feel empowered and relate to their struggles. Let them know you are there for them in their journey through life.
Children learn best when they have enough time to explore and develop one skill at a time. Rushing children from one programme to another, can lead to early burnout. Children require guidance, discipline and nurturing from their parents, not from others. You cannot pay someone else to do what you can do for your child. A parent’s love outweighs the best programmes in the world.
Make time for your children. Enjoy being with them, doing very little or a lot. All that matters is that you are there for your child and he is there for you.
Parents who try to influence their children’s ambition, may be in for disappointment. They do everything for their children but their children blame them for many things that happen in their lives.
Children who have the freedom to choose, show more passion for their work.
Start right by helping them to do things for themselves. Help them to make the right choice, instead of making choices for them.
We have to change gears as children develop and grow. What used to work with your child may no longer be effective as he grows older.
Every child reacts differently to rules and consequences. Children want to be treated as individuals, not carbon copies of their siblings, so avoid comparing them with others.