There’s no parenting manual. Sure, there is entire rain forest's worth of parenting books, terabytes of parenting websites and more free advice from sagely friends and family members than you can shake a teething ring at but here’s the thing… There’s no advice anywhere on how to parent your children. Every child is unique and their parents have to tailor their parenting style to each individual just as every teacher must adapt their pedagogy to suit the needs of different students. There’s no one size fits all solution. This can be particularly challenging when your second or third child comes around and the things that worked for child number one fare very differently with child number two. Thus, the answer lies not just in educating and informing your kids but in giving them the tools they need to navigate life with the right coping mechanisms in place.
Whether you homeschool your kids or have them enrolled in a preschool like Abacus Schools, it’s never too early to start to give them the tools and values that they need to have in order to navigate the difficult path through childhood successfully and happily. By teaching your kids these formative lessons they will be more likely to form meaningful friendships, enjoy their education and lay a foundation for success later in life.
Honesty is its own reward
When you think about it, lying is extremely appealing to a kid. Children are hardwired to avoid getting into trouble because they know that getting into trouble has consequences and they’re terrified of consequences. The trouble is that if you adopt a ‘spare the rod- spoil the child’ disciplinarian mentality you run the risk of teaching your children to become more accomplished liars. Sure it’s natural for kids to have some secrets from their parents (especially as they develop into adolescents), and it’s not unusual for very young children to struggle with the difference between using their fertile imaginations and telling naughty fibs but by and large parents need to reward honesty and expose lying as an activity that simply isn’t worth it. Honesty and integrity are highly prized qualities in adults that will serve them well in their professional lives and in forming relationships so it’s an extremely useful quality to engender.
Other people have feelings too
We love our kids. Sometimes we can love our kids too much. Unlike us, our kids didn’t see the rise of social media develop around them, they’ve been propelled into it head first. It’s perfectly natural for parents to want to take photos of their kids and share them with friends and family, but all of this cyber adulation can lead children to grow up with a skewed sense of their own importance. To counteract the inherent self-adulation of social media that your kids will grow into, it’s more important than ever to ensure that your children grow up with a healthy amount of consideration for others. There are numerous short and fun exercises (see this Empathy Game) to help them to do this.
Mistakes are important
The saying that ‘we all make mistakes’ is as old as time itself. Unfortunately, we live in a world that projects absolute perfection as the norm. Returning to the world of social media, just look at all the apps you can get to perfect your image in a selfie, digitally whitening your teeth and smoothing away blemishes as though the face we present to the world can never be anything shy of perfection. We live in a world that teaches kids that it’s not enough to be the best, they have to get there without any bumps in the road. Ensure that your children don’t grow up beating themselves over mistakes (however big or small) and teach them the value of learning from their mistakes.
The value of money
Kids are never too young to learn the value of money, and in an uncertain economic climate financial literacy is an important tool for a child to grow up with. Unfortunately, in an age where we pay for our groceries through apps money can be a confusing and nebulous concept for young children to wrap their heads around. Use cash as much as possible in their presence and start to give them pocket money from a young age.
They are loved
There’s no greater lesson to teach your children. Your love will comfort them when they feel alone, give them strength when they feel nervous and give them confidence when the world gets too much. Be giving with your affection and never be too busy to let your kids know you love them.
Talk to me in the comments, please:
What other lessons would you add to this?