- Family and Parenting»
Never Give Up - on Your Kid
"Never Give Up" on your child. Be there, stay the distance and fight to achieve the goal of a good young adult, no matter how hard it gets.
As parents we are responsible for our children, legally until they are of age, but actually sort of all our lives. But it’s not the legal responsibility that we all should be aware of. It’s the responsibility of bringing up and educating our children and making the distance in having them turn out as good, responsible young adults.
In a nutshell - it’s a job in the factory of turning out a good person. Easy to say, but it is not always easy to achieve. The factors going into reaching this goal are many and very different from person to person. Yes, person to person - the child is a person, and so is the parent.
There will of course be common factors such as setting limits and rules (see Hub on “Children’s Freedom of Choice”, but even there the set of rules will differ based on the child, the parents and the social environment.
One definitive common factor for success in achieving this goal is - “Never Give Up”. The easiest path is of course “Give Up”, especially when it gets tough. Parents who have been there know what I am talking about.
Usually it’s about teenagers who are rebelling or just plain and simple behaving terribly. Teenagers, and even some children younger than them, can begin behaving as if there is no tomorrow and that they can do as they please, when they please and even with whom they please. Not all children behave and become rebels and many just sail through into adulthood without causing parents too much stress.
This hub addresses those that don’t and this is when we as adults and parents have to gather all our strength and wits together in order not to lose the child.
It is important that as parents you remain focused on the target which is definitely not “chaining down your child and putting him or her in a jail”. It is about awareness, setting boundaries, understanding, and knowing at all times where your child is and what they are doing.
This is not easy but, it can be done and has been by many. Those that persevere are more than rewarded after the long tedious journey.
Lets go through some of what I feel we need to do:
(The points below are just a simplified summary, in a nut shell of what and how we as parents need to act)
- Awareness - be aware of who and what your child is. Jnow him or her. Know their likes and dislikes and remember they are individuals and not your clone. Know who their friends are, who they hang out with at school, see in the afternoon or evening. Follow what happens in school - academically and socially. Be involved.
Knowing is the first and foremost source of being able to act.Be aware of all that happens at school.If for example the friends are criminally inclined, have negative influence or total dropouts that want to bring your child down - break the ties. But, check before you act. Do not just make assumptions that the company your child is with is negative. Accept any friend if they are positive and encourage such relations. If your child is harassed at school or is the one harassing, go there and put a stop to whatever is happening. It’s not easy, but possible and it’s your responsibility
- Setting Boundaries - this subject was approached in another hub. With a rebellious child the boundaries are critical. Yet they must not be too strict for this may cause the opposite - more rebellion. They are important - for example -“be back at a certain time”, “do not go to a certain place”, “tell me where you are going and call me when you get there” etc. If you set the boundary - keep it - if a child does not return for example at the designated time, or disappears and is not where they said they would - go and get them. Yes, even if this is not at a convenient time don’t hesitate.
Go and get the kid.
They need to know that if they stray out of line, you the parent, have the strength , will and more than that , you care enough, to act. But you need to make sure that your actions are balanced and the child has freedom of choice and decisions within the boundaries.
- Understanding - listen to them. Hear what they say, absorb it and then decide what needs to be done. Watch them, see them. Most are good inside, just going wild. Do not always act extremely when they use foul language, this is the dark ages at home, and sometimes this letting off steam in the house is better than they go out and explode somewhere uncontrolled. When they are done, talk to them and punish them if necessary (ground them, don’t give pocket money, or stop driving them anywhere take away their TV, Laptop or Ipad). Make them understand that such behavior is intolerable and can be punished if you as a parent so decide.
This, when said and acted upon, is necessary for their understanding that you are the parent and that you control. By acting you are also conveying another message - “I am your parent and I will always be there for you, I will not give up, whatever you say or do.”
As said above it doesn’t mean that every time something is said we begin punishing. Each child needs to have a limit. This is part of understanding who, what and when it is necessary. But, ignoring can only be sometimes, and not most of the time.
- Know where they are and what they are doing at all times. Well as much as possible. It is important that you are involved in their social lives and meet their friends. Just letting them go out without knowing who they are meeting and where is not wise. Develop a network by having friend’s mobile numbers. This is useful if they disappear and are not where they say they are. It is not spying, but a fifteen year old for example is vulnerable. They think or rather they are sure, they are invincible. You are their guardian and it is your job to see that they do not do something foolish. As I wrote above, do not hesitate to go and look for them, even in the middle of the night, and bring them home. Be there always.
It’s not easy when you have a rebellious kid. It’s time and energy draining. It’s a time where you do not really know what to do, what boundaries will be the best and what actions need to be take. Use common sense, listen to others who have been there, hear and see your child and then act. Do not just let the days go by.
It’s a period of turmoil for the child, the parents and even for the brothers and sisters.
Don’t give up and always do and be there for in the end when they become young adults the efforts you make will show their fruits.
Nothing is more than rewarding than being able to look and say - We did a good job and we are proud of our children and who as persons, they turned out to be.