Sometimes it amazes me the demands that are placed on children these days. While as parents we can all say that we had it “harder” then our kids do now because we had to be creative and play with our imagination where as now there are video games and computers. Let’s face it, the pressure that is put on our children today to grow up fast is really out of control.
We have them in multiple sports, we push them to join different clubs, their peers put pressure on them to look more grown up and dress more grown up and the media encourages this. Take a look at the toys we want our little girls to play with, Bratz and Barbie… or have a look at the style of clothes that are available, do those toys look innocent to you?
Life passes us by quick enough as it is. Let your child be a child, regardless of how old they are. To help make sure your child isn’t robbed of their youth, here are several tips you can follow, one for each day of the week to think about.
Mondays Parenting Tip: Set limits but be realistic!
It seems to me that there are three types of parents. Those that have no limitations on their kids, those that have way too many limitations on their kids and then the happy medium bunch who have realistic limitations. With that being said, before you jump up and say that is the way I parent let me explain. The “no limit” parents are those that think they are doing a favor to their children by letting them be free spirits and they do no t impose restrictions such as bed time, manners, politeness and so on. Then there are parents who do not let their children do anything. No running, jumping, screaming, yelling, playing loudly… the children are to be seen and not heard and when they are seen they are to be neat tidy and orderly. That my friend is closer to being an adult then it is to being a child.
Set limitations, children need limitations to learn what is acceptable and what isn’t. They also need to be free enough to explore and grow as individuals. So if your three year old wants to run naked through the house with a cap on and pretend he or she is a superhero, let them. The phase won’t last… and it would be shame for you to miss it.
Tuesdays Parenting Tip: Take an Active Part in Your Child’s Life
This tip actually came from my kids, as we sat around and talked about this piece. When you play with them you are encouraging them to play. You are also showing them that it is important to take time out of your busy day, regardless of the demands that are there to play.
Wednesdays Parenting Tip: Listen When They Speak
If you really want your child to be a child then listen to them when they talk. You may be asking how this helps your child stay a child. I am going to tell you. It shows them that there is value to what they have to say. That you value them and what they are saying, even if they are 3, 10, 13, 16, or 18. You want your children to talk to you because you don’t want them seeking out other ways to express themselves that will rob them of their childhood. Trust me, if you don’t listen to them when they are trying to talk to you they will find a way for you to take notice or have someone else take notice of them… and that is a path you don’t want them to take.
Thursdays Parenting Tip: Be Positive When You Talk to Your Kids
Our world has enough negativity in it already that our children do not need to get it from us. So if there is a toy or a gift that they want because all of their friends have it, explain to them in a positive fashion why they don’t need it. When they do something wrong, try to talk to them intelligently about why it was wrong. If you don’t want them to do it again they need to understand why it was wrong.
Fridays Parenting Tip: Give Your Kids a Chance to Show Their Interests
So you like to golf, or shop, or go tanning and you think that your children like those things also. Have you ever asked your children what they enjoy? Or better yet, have you listen to them when they were talking to hear what really interests them. For example, we found out that our son really was interested in fishing because he would get up early and watch the fishing shows before we would get up and then at breakfast he would tell us all about it. He never once told us that he wanted to learn to fish, or that he liked fishing. But he talked about, and he would get excited about it and he was fascinated by it. We paid attention, and he got a pole and his dad ordered him lures and he taught himself to fish at the pond based on what he watched on television.
Saturdays Parenting Tip: Parent Your Children, Don’t Delegate to Your Children
This is a biggie! My parents were guilty of this and so were my husband’s parents. And we have done everything possible to not do this to our kids. You are the parent, they are the child… do not put your responsibilities on them. It is not the responsibility of your child to clean the whole house, to worry about paying the bills, to take care of others in the house. Yes, they can help, yes they should be responsible for their rooms and their things… but it ends there. I remember not being allowed to eat dinner until I feed my younger sister and brother. I was 6 years old.
Sundays Parenting Tip: You Had Your Childhood, Let Them Have Theirs
Do not live vicariously through your children. Let them have their childhood. It doesn’t matter what you would‘ve done at their age, or what you did at their age. Your time has passed, let them enjoy theirs and sit back and enjoy it with them.
Jennifer Shakeel is a writer and former nurse with over 12 years medical experience. As a mother of two incredible children with one on the way, I am here to share with you what I have learned about parenting and the joys and changes that take place during pregnancy. Together we can laugh and cry and rejoice in the fact that we are moms!
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