As a parent, you are bombarded with advice and tips. But seriously, when you actually get down to raising a kid we really end up replicating our parents in ways that were good and bad. And there are times we just hate ourselves for it. However, raising a kid need not be difficult. You just need to not to do the following:
1) Don’t Let Them Cry It Out
Don’t let them cry for long, ignoring them, screaming at them to shut up or worse giving them a whack to silence them. It is mean and unfeeling. Your kids are not going to give a damn about your feelings if you don’t give a damn about theirs. It is part of return karma. Check out what is the issue and if they cannot have the toy or item let them know why. Or else get them something cheaper, your kid will understand if mom says I don’t have the money if told in a nice way. However, you cannot go and splurge on a new outfit after having denied their desires. Play honest.
If too young divert their attention to something else. It takes patience, calm and tact but it can be done. As they grow older they understand that there is room for negotiation and compromise. That their feelings and voice matter.
2) Don’t Let Them Expect To Be Waited Upon
Don’t let them expect to be waited on. Let them know that they have to contribute in some way to their existence. Help clean up, fold the laundry, do the dishes, clean the toilets. They have to be made aware that life is not about free lunches, there is give and take. Most importantly don’t pay for the chores they do. They need to understand that they are contributors to the family. It goes a long way in developing self-reliance and independence.
3) Don’t Make Them The Center Of Your Existence
Don’t raise them as if they are the center of the universe. That they come first and others are unimportant. Treat them like your precious darlings but let them understand that there is a world outside that could be good, bad or ugly. It is up to them to learn how to manage the difficult parts, create boundaries or walk away. The choice is theirs not to take things personally because basically, they are just a speck in this vast universe.
You can make them aware that there is a world outside their regular existence of family, school or the neighborhood. Take them to places like orphanages and homes for the differently abled. Volunteer in activities that expand their understanding of the world they live in. It will surely change their perspective about their place in the greater scheme of this universe.
4) Don’t Force Them To Do Things
Don’t Force them to do things they just don’t want to do. You are imposing your ideas and your beliefs on to them. Let them have their own opinions if yours are on even keel theirs are not going to be way off. They may seem to be rebellious but believe me deep down they are just testing you. If you don’t impose or implode too much they will not want to do battle because there is no adversary. Just learn to be an observer. Having children is the best mindfulness practice you need follow. You are sure to come out a wise saint by the time they are done growing up.
We have to skillfully manage and encourage a child’s innate need to become an independent, resourceful and innovative human being. We need to give them plenty of leeway to explore, but at the same time unobtrusively know when to reign him in.
5) Don’t Neglect Your Kids
Neglect does not mean not giving your kids the basic necessities. It more broadly encompasses the whole gamut of nurturing, attentive care that is needed for a child’s optimal development. According to Charles Nelson, a professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital children need a reliable source of attention, affection, and stimulation, or else the wiring of the brain goes awry.
Don’t push your kids away. Hold on to them, cherish them, play with them, hug them, joke with them. Go for outings – to the beach or just have an impromptu picnic in the garden. Believe me, if you don’t want to spend time with your kids when they are young, they definitely will not want to spend time with you when they are older. There are so many lessons to teach while traveling and having fun. Navigating your way in a new place, ordering in a restaurant, withdrawing money at the ATM. Your presence is the best present you give to your child.
Make time for them. Having kids means living in the slow lane, it requires you to make the time to enjoy the moment and cherish the miracle of a human being flourishing and becoming a contributing member of the human race.
As a mother of a teen, I am glad I did not do these things with my son. Maybe that’s why I do not need to cope with teen angst or any of the supposedly growing pains that many parents complain about, Life has moved from one phase to another seamlessly.
So forget about what the childcare gurus tell you to do, don’t do these things with your kid.
Slow Family Living: 75 Simple Ways to Slow Down, Connect, and Create More Joy by Bernadette Noll
Being There: Why Prioritizing Motherhood in the First Three Years Matters by Erica Komisar