- Family and Parenting
Raising Successful Children
It seems that many parents have a difficult time raising their children these days. I am a people watching, so I watch how people handle situations. Many parents seem exasperated with the parenting process thinking that their children are unruly. However, there seems to be more to this then what is typically considered.
Many people talk about how complex the human psyche is. However, I see things differently. I don't think humans are complex I think we are all basically the same and are pretty predictable. If you take 1,000 people and had them touch something hot they would all immediately learn not to touch it. Oversimplification? Probably, but I believe that the point is valid. In this Hub I want to discuss areas that I believe will help people become better parents.
A Brief Bio
What is my qualifications for writing this Hub? Basically I have two daughters who at the time of this writing are 18 and 21. While many don't believe us we never experienced sleepless nights in the infant stages, never went through the terrible two's, and didn't have any teen problems.
While I believe that there are many components into why like their personal temperament, our Christian lifestyle, but also our parenting techniques worked. We didn't read any books on parenting, we didn't take classes, we based out decisions on how humans respond to stimuli.
While I don't think that I am the parenting guru, I do think that the parent has the innate ability to parent their children if they are willing to take the time and purposely want to be a good parent.
A Good Nights Sleep
One thing that I wasn't looking forward to as a parent was the getting up in the middle of the night because the baby couldn't sleep. I am a person who loves uninterrupted sleep. I think that we were blessed (which goes beyond training) because our girls slept 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. from birth.
However, our first decision was that we would bring our child home to a noisy home. We did not want a dogs bark, a doorbell, or a phone ringing to wake up the girls. We would vacuum the girls room when they went to bed, talked in normal voices, and did other things that created an environment that trained the girls to sleep no matter what was going on around them. This made it very easy to rock them to sleep no matter where we were or what was going on. The best thing is that we didn't have a crying baby in the middle of the night because someone honked a horn or it thundered outside.
This is not some great revelation, just think about your life. If you live by an airport, railroad tracks, or interstate you noticed the noise when you first moved it. However, after awhile you become immune to the sound. This is human nature and it is not different with the small form of people.
Words Mean Something
If it wasn't so sad I would probably laugh every time I see a parent saying, "I'm not telling you again!" I want to walk up to them and say, "Yes you will and the child knows it."
Children are smart, they know where the boundaries are and they will always see how far they can push the limits. Of course this is not limited to small children. We do this all through school, in our jobs, and with our spouses. It is something that comes naturally to us.
My wife and I decided that we were not going to play this game and it didn't take our girls long to understand the system. Our instructions were given, there may be one repeat, and if a third time was needed there would be consequences. The amazing thing is that there was rarely ever any consequences. Our girls simply knew that say what we mean and we mean what we say.
The one thing that we NEVER EVER did was try and stop bad behavior with a reward. Our girls found out quickly that throwing a fit to get what they wanted not only did not get them what they wanted, but got them what they didn't want.
It goes back to my first example of touching something hot. Once the child realizes that particular behavior produces undesirable results it's amazing how they know to change the behavior.
We All Need Love
Unfortunately in life's hectic pace we don't always have the quantity of time to spend with our children, therefore it is important to make sure we have quality time. When my girls were young I held a managerial position that caused me to work 50+ hours per week. We were also very involved in our church and then had the normal things like yard work, house cleaning and so forth.
Realizing that time was a precious commodity I knew that I had to make the most of the time that I had around my girls. A way that I did this was to make sure they didn't walk by me that I didn't touch them. I would rub their head, pick them up, tickle them or whatever. It may not have been more than 10 seconds long, but they knew they were loved.
Don't let the time you spend with your children just be time in a room. It doesn't take massive amounts of time it just takes purposeful love. Have fun, talk, and be affectionate. You will be amazed with the results.
Negotiating is for Business
Parents should be parents and children should be children. What many parents don't realize is that we develop our decision making process. I remember once I was in a vehicle with another family and we were going to dinner. The parents asked their young child where they wanted to eat. The result of this decision was having to listen to a child crying and dissatisfied with where we were going to eat.
Asking a child a question like this (depending on their age) could be outside the realm of their ability to make decisions. Think about a time at your job where you were asked to do something that was beyond your experience. The first thing you experienced was anxiety. Why do we think a child is any different?
This is where parameters come into play and what many don't realize is that parameters are a safety zone for children. Even though they will test the parameters there is comfort within the zone. When we engage in a negotiation process with children there is no good outcome.
My solution is that the parent should be the parent. While we all have a responsibility to train our children how to navigate this life we need to do it at their level. If you want your child to develop their decision making skills then ask them what they want to eat "chicken strips or grilled cheese."
Discipline is not open for negotiating. If the child is in trouble they are in trouble. What ever your discipline is stick to eat. Who cares that your child says, "I'll be good now!" Are you really that naive?
Think about the job you have. When you got this job they laid down the law for you. They told you what time to come to work, what time to go home, when you will go to lunch, and what you will be doing while you are there. This is not a complex subject. Instead of thinking you are cool because you allow you child to talk you into changing the rules, why don't you train your child for the real world. Once they realize there are parameters in life that are not open for discussion they will be able to function better in school and at their job.
Most everything we do in correct parenting will prepare our children for things they will encounter later in life. Take it seriously.
Fear or Faith?
I remember when I was about 20 I had a motorcycle. I was over at a girl friends house and was sitting my motorcycle. Her niece was standing by as we talked. When I was leaving I started my bike and the niece went into a crying fit.
Apparently, in an effort to keep the child from running into the street put such a fear in the child of vehicles that when I started my bike she thought she was going to get ran over. While the mother's intentions were good the results were horrible.
Fear is never a good thing it limits a person. The bad thing about it is that it affects many areas of our life. To be successful in life we must have faith in our abilities not fear of our surroundings. Train your children to make the right decisions and have faith that they can succeed.
While I realize that this is not an all encompassing list to raising children, I do believe that you can pick up on the premise of our parenting. Children are people too. They are not hard to figure out, but we must realize their developmental stage.
No matter what we do in life we have to be trained whether it's sports or a career. It is not different with life itself. We are trained how to function in life. When a parent will look at child rearing as a training process they will handle it differently. Be a good trainer with your child it will reap many rewards for you later in life.