BE AN EVEN BETTER Parent in 2020
1. Build redundancy into your parenting, you don’t want your kids living with you when they’re in their 40s, so start making yourself redundant now. Expect kids to help at home without being paid and develop their self-help skills from the earliest possible age. If your kids are dependent on you then start small and work from there.
2. Build self-belief in kids. It is self-belief rather than ability that holds kids back. Parents mirror back to their children how they see themselves. If you are naturally negative, start focusing on children’s strengths, help them to improve and give them responsibilities so they learn that their parents have faith in them.
3. Talk less when kids misbehave. Do you repeat yourself when your kids don’t do as you ask? Don’t. Act rather than repeating yourself or shouting. Put the meal on the table rather than reminding them to come to dinner. Turn the TV off if they are fighting rather than shouting for peace and quiet.
4. Choose your battles. If you always seem to be fighting with your kids, it’s time to assess what’s important and what’s not. Fighting over minor issues burns up energy and damages relationships. Make a list of minor and major issues as a reminder.
5. Have at least five family mealtimes a week. If you want to influence your kid’s thinking then you need to talk with them. Mealtimes provide these opportunities, as long as the TV is turned off and you avoid getting into fights about how much they are eating. Set a goal of five shared mealtimes a week as a minimum.
6. Financial smarts begin at home. Avoid being your children’s personal ATM and don’t give them money whenever they want it. Start by giving them a small amount of pocket money regularly and build up the amount as you feel more confident and their financial competence grows.
7. Encourage a sense of generosity. Moving kids from thinking “me” to thinking “we” takes work these days as families are smaller and parenting tends to be focused on the child rather than the family. Develop a sense of altruism in your children by encouraging them to volunteer, giving some of their pocket money to charity and giving away old or unused toys.
8. Help kids appreciate what they have. Some children have a default mechanism that is both negative and self-centred. They are never happy and always want more. Change their thinking by encouraging them to look on the bright side and be thankful for what they have.
9. Encourage kids to be self-occupiers. Parents underestimate the importance of kids being able to keep themselves busy. Spending time on their own encourages self-initiated play; is good for their mental health and is a prerequisite for success at school. If you are your children’s home entertainment machine then you can change. First, avoid rushing in when children seem bored. Suggest ideas rather than providing entertainment.
10. Don’t fight your children’s battles. Leave some for them. Well-meaning parents can sometimes fight too many of their children’s battles, robbing them of opportunities to solve their own problems. If this is you, the next time your child experiences some frustration or difficulty at school or home, stand back, offer support and suggestions, but don’t solve the problem for him or her. Most importantly, show them love and affection. We all need to know we are wanted.
By Michael Grose www.parentingideas.com.au