The role of parents is especially hard when they take up the job of raising another person without the most essential parenting tools required for an effective and positive result. This is no surprise either, as dabbling into parenting is often the norm that is embraced. Instead of a plague that should be avoided at all costs. That said, I must admit, it is not the fault of so many of them. For a lot of parents out there, they were not appropriately nurtured and it is no rocket science that one cannot give what they do not have. However, as a parent, you are fully responsible for what happens in your child’s life. Whether you know it or not, is not a ground for exoneration.
Matters of responsibility in parenthood, is not contingent on what you know or do not know. It simply is, because your child is a dependent who does not have the capacity required to figure out things. They cannot take care of themselves even if they deeply desire to. That development would not manifest for years, yet. Amongst other things, you are their incontrovertible source of information. They see the world through your eyes- through your attitude towards them.
With this in mind, it has become a matter of urgency and necessity, to get into parenting with a conscious mind and attitude. Knowing that you can only harvest what you plant.
Parenting Tools To Raise A Child Who Can Lead The World
Again, in this article, I will reiterate, that children learn and internalize how things work by the way you relate with them. Your life is an absolute model for them whether you know it or not. The following are the parenting tools you would need in your journey.
#8 Apologize To Your Child When You Are Wrong
Some parents object to education around this topic because they don’t want to appear weak to their child. After all, “mistakes are shameful and a sign of inherent defectiveness”. Some others are afraid their child will lose respect for them if they apologize to the child. These are all the workings of your bruised ego. Rather than hold that view, try to see it this way- you are teaching your child to apologize to another when they wrong them. Truth is, when your do this for your child, they see it as a go-to tool when such is required in their given circumstance. Because it is something they have.
#7 On Correction, Focus On The Behavior, Not The Feeling
At this point it is imperative that I emphasize on the dynamics of behavior. Behavior is a mode of conducting oneself. Therefore, in correcting a child, it is the mode of conduct that is not in alignment with reality that should be corrected and not their sense of value or feeling. Parents muddle up these two, thereby, creating chaos for the child. While the focus is on the behavior of the child, to enable you make the necessary corrections when possible. Be certain not to stifle them, their freedom and their genuine selves. When you stifle them, the message shifts from what they need to learn to the erroneous internalization that they are devoid of any worth.
#6 Respect Their Boundaries
When you respect a child’s boundaries, you do not just teach them that their worth weighs more than gold. You directly or otherwise, doubly teach them to respect other people’s boundaries too. This parenting tool fosters respect towards self and as a natural result, they extend it towards others.
#5 Don’t Ignore Or Dismiss Their View
Many parents are particularly guilty of this. They dismiss a child’s views simply because, they believe to have more reasonable opinion. Also for the erroneous idea that the child has not seen much of the world, therefore their young age is jumbled up as a synonym for stupidity. Ignoring a child’s opinion is equivalent to the dismissal of their innermost voice. This leads them to question their self-worth later in life. It breeds self-doubt which in turn, makes them perpetually dependent on others for approval. This is all because they lost their chance to develop their inner voice as a child.
A child is a complete human being. It is true certain developments are not present yet in infancy. However, they are complete in human form. One of the primal ways you can help them see it is by listening to them. Or by paying attention to them.
#4 Do Not Force Your Opinion On Them
Unless it is a matter of life and death, do not attempt to force your opinions on a child. Every child is distinct. To develop their values and voice, they need support from caregivers, not someone who will shout them down and force them to give up their sense of value. Any persistent attack on a child’s sense of value is emotional abuse, and emotional abuse on any child is child abuse. The idea that their sense of value does not make sense to you, is no excuse. You are the parent. You have become your own person (however that turned out), allow your child to grow into their genuine selves. They do not have to be a clone of yourself or a mini-you. Allow them to use their thoughts, as that is the only way they can know it is usable or worthy.
#3 Do Not Shield Them From Consequences
Avoid over-protecting your child because you think it would break them to face consequences. No child can learn if they live under a heavy protection that gets them shielded from basic learning. Every fall or mistake is a learning curve. Consider what would become of a child leaning to walk, if they are constantly shielded from falling. They would remain at a spot. Their fear of falling would grow, just because falling has been communicated to them as wrong. Do not shame them either for failing, or the lessons inherent in the fall will be lost. This particular parenting tool is a major decider on how your child develops into maturity.
#2 Teach Them By Modeling The Behaviors You Want To See
Children are excellent copycats. Just like Computers, they give it back to you just as you put in them. These breeds learn by what they watch you do. Do you want your child to invest in something more than another, consider investing in that thing yourself and let them watch you do it. Self- care activities as basic as eating healthy, staying fit, getting appropriate rest, setting boundaries et al, are the activities children learn by watching their parents do it. In this way, they do not see you as trying to force your opinion on them. They gradually come to see it as something that is worthwhile because they see you do it.
Other conducts such as virtues, is something they adopt by the way their parents portray it to them. A child cannot show respect if they have not been respected themselves. Expecting from a child what you have not taught by modeling to them, is an act of hypocrisy. It can also be categorized as an act of abuse towards a child. Ceteris paribus, it is pertinent to note that it is not a given that a child picks or understands your teaching at a go, this is because, their cognitive ability is yet to develop. A good teacher exhibits patience as a core rule that underpins any form of teaching.
While you note this, consider your child as a farmer in a vast field without tools to do the needful. Consider what the farmer feels, when they stand in confusion and watch other farmers, having tools that enhance their productivity. The frustration they feel in not having any tool to make something happen. Consider the pain or agony of being lost in a familiar place.
Parenting Tools To Raise A Child Who Can Lead The World
#1 Avoid Having Your Child Please You
Teaching children to perform activities with the dubious intention of making you happy (or being liked), is one dangerous act parents perpetrate against their children. It is not the job of your child to make you happy. It is your job. You are not just the parent, you are the adult. Do not attempt to put that burden on any child. Instead of raising them to please you, let them understand that what you want them to focus on instead, is something worthwhile. Doing something because it is worthwhile produces happiness as a natural result. Happiness instead, is not the end goal, the effect of the “worthwhile act” is.
‘Blackmailing’ your child into pleasing you is destructive on the long run. You might get want you want. However, you would succeed in teaching them to please people at their own expense. This leaves them susceptible to abuse and all forms of avoidable error. Just as with every tool, patience is required. Patience in acquainting themselves with the use of each tool is not just a necessity. It is an underlying ethic of teaching. Without it, coercion is implied. These parenting tools can only go as far, to the extent to which it is applied in the interest of the child.
Imagine a soldier going to war without the necessary ammunition. He will not just get himself killed, the lives of those he is meant to protect would be in absolute jeopardy. Or a farmer going to the fields without the tools necessary for cultivation. There is no foolhardiness or frustration that can be equated to that.
If we can consciously send a soldier to war with the right training and ammunition, why do we consciously dabble into the business of raising another life without the tools necessary to make it happen? What business does an unequipped soldier have in the battle field or an unprepared farmer on the fields? The safety of our world and the next generation, begins with the present parents and parents-to-be.
Start with these:
- Learn what you need to know
- Acknowledge your failings- it does not make you a failure, rather, it helps you see what you have done wrong, how you did it, and work towards preventing future re-occurence. This is also one of the genuine ways to show remorse. No one has ever been able to give what they do not have.
These parenting tools can save both our generation and the next generations.