Parenting is a tremendous responsibility and raising an older kid is even trickier as junior is developing a mind of his own. As Ellyn Satter, who wrote Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense, points out, “Your job as a parent is not to make your child’s way smooth, but rather to help her develop inner resources so she can cope.” Here’s how parents of successful kids ace this job.
1. They are involved in their child’s life
Parents who keep the communication channels open and respond appropriately to their offspring’s cues provide security for them to explore the world. Just asking about junior’s day shows that you’re genuinely interested and concerned, which, in turn, will boost his self-esteem and perceived value in the household. Reminding him that you are always there for him doesn’t hurt either. After all, a happy child means a joyful household.
2. They set tech rules
It’s nearly impossible to avoid giving junior a smartphone, especially if he is allowed to go to school on his own. Plus, gadgets keep the kids busy while mummy does some shopping! Efficient, eh? However, these fixes don’t come without concerns. Obscene and explicit content abounds on the Internet, so it’s nearly impossible to always monitor what content your kid is consuming. Setting rules both you and your child agree on from Day One will ease your worries. Incidentally, making sure junior spends time away from his digital device gives him time to find and pursue a creative outlet.
3. They encourage imagination and creativity
This could be in the little things, like allowing your child to decorate his own room or choose her own clothes. And forget about an enrichment class, your kid needs space to develop his own creative passion in an unstructured way. Children who feel like they are able to express themselves creatively tend to have a higher self-esteem, which results in happier emotions!
“Making sure junior spends time away from his digital device gives him time to find and pursue a creative outlet.”
4. They teach their kids social skills
While it’s good to show your child support, you also want him to be able to stand on his own. One aspect of his growing independence involves building social skills of his own and learning to manage conflict. First-hand experience is the best way to learn a skill like this, so encourage junior to go out and make friends!
5. They keep their word
No one appreciates someone who doesn’t keep his or her word and it’s doubly important that you do so when you are a figure your child looks up to. Not standing by what you say may result in trust issues between you and junior, and lower your child’s self-esteem in the long run. Don’t make promises you may not be able to keep and when you do make one, always remember to reassure your child that you have not forgotten about it.
6. They teach healthy financial habits at a young age
You’ve saved for years to provide for junior and one day, he’s going to have to do it on his own. By honing your child’s money habits and financial-planning skills, you are equipping him with a lifelong skill. Start small, for example, by helping him plan how much of his weekly allowance he would like to save. Oh, kids also need to learn that if they really want something, they should wait and save to buy it — a foretaste of the ability to delay gratification, which predicts how successful they will be as grown-ups.
7. They give sufficient freedom
In his book, Negotiation Parenting: Or How Not to Raise a Brat in Today’s Complex World , Dr Foo Koong Hean, a psychology lecturer at James Cook University Singapore, notes that giving your child the freedom to learn and experience things on his own will enhance his independence. Self-sufficient children tend to have better decision-making skills and higher self-worth. So, the next time junior says he can manage his time, you might want to take a chance and let him try it his way.
8. They have a working mum as a role model
A mother who takes on the working world while tackling household duties shows her family responsibility and independence and acts as a role model, which benefits her children. A Harvard Business School study found that daughters of working mothers went to school longer, had better jobs and earned more. As for the sons of working mums, they tend to pitch in more with household chores.
“Self-sufficient children tend to have better decision-making skills and higher self-worth.”
9. They treat their child with respect
We can’t expect our kids to respect us unless we walk the talk. So, when you set rules and limits, explain your decisions and pay attention to junior’s response, you demonstrate that you value his opinion. Conversely, Daniel Koh, a psychologist at Insights Mind Centre, points out that not respecting your child can make him feel inferior, as if his views are not important. This could lead to a resentful child and even create a tense household. If this continues, the child may develop self-esteem issues or suffer from depression.
10. They teach their children to manage their emotions
A child’s growing-up years can be especially tough, thanks to raging hormones. So, encourage junior to discuss his emotions by asking about his day and any conflict that may have taken place, then discussing ways to resolve it. Experts agree that children who can control their emotions will feel better about themselves, as well as socialise better. They also fare better in school because of their enhanced ability to focus.
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