Parenting Tips of the Week
If there is one thing in this world that there is simply not enough of, it is consideration for our fellow man. We seem to be living in a culture that is “all about me.” From the way our government runs to the way we treat each other every day. What many people do not understand in all of their complaining about no one being there, or no one treating them kindly is that first you must treat others kindly.
With that being said, how are we supposed to teach our children to be considerate? That is a good question; see I do believe that as a whole most parents really do try to teach their children how to be considerate. At least through example. One of my very good friends, she and her husband are two of the nicest people you will ever meet. They would just as soon let harm come to themselves before they let it come to someone else. However, their children are absolute monsters. It makes my husband and I scratch our heads. While children do most of their learning through the example that their parents display, it is not the only way they learn.
Tip 1: Respect Others
Along with consideration is respect. I have said many times, we are not all cookie cutter cut outs of each other. Which means that there are many things about each of us that makes us different, and different isn’t bad. Make sure your child understands that it is important to respect others as humans, especially if they want to be respected. Listen to someone else’s views. They don’t have to agree with everyone, but they should listen.
Tip 2: Nip it in the Bud
When your child acts inconsiderate correct them immediately. Don’t berate them or yell at them, that is counterproductive. What you can do is ask them why they did what they did and tell them the correct way to behave. So if they are with their friends and they hog all of a snack without making sure their friends have had a share correct it. What I used to do is say, “Did you make sure all of your friends had a share before you took more?” The answer was usually no, so then I would have my son or daughter go get more of the snack and offer it their friends.
Tip 3: Make an Example of Others
When you or your child witnesses a person being inconsiderate explain to your child why that behavior was wrong. Explain to them what the considerate thing to do would’ve been. For example if there is an elderly lady trying to get through the door and someone goes around her instead of holding the door for her. That is inconsiderate; the considerate thing to do would’ve been to hold the door.
Tip 4: Teach the Art of Saying “I’m Sorry.”
Now, there are some people, children included that constantly say they are sorry for everything. This is not what I am encouraging. First, your child needs to understand that they should only be sorry or apologetic when they have done something wrong. Second, they should only be apologetic if they mean it. Thirdly, only apologize if they actually did something wrong. So they should not say “I’m sorry” just because, and just to make you happy or if it is over something they did not do. My philosophy is that if a person is truly sorry they do not repeat the behavior. I have told my children that since they were born.
Tip 5: Take a Deep Breath before Responding
When we are hurt by someone, the initial response is to hurt them back. Encourage your child to take a deep breath before they respond when someone hurts their feelings. While I am against allowing your child to be walked all over I do think that there are many times those keeping our knee jerk reactions at bay are important.
Tip 6: Think twice before you discipline your child
Wait, take a deep breath. I am not one of those parents who believes that you are suppose to be best friends with your children. They have friends, they need parents. Discipline is important, but make it positive. Don’t demean them, or belittle them. Correct them, tell them why you are disciplining them, tell them what they should’ve done and let them know you love them.
Tip 7: Listen to Your Kids
This goes along with tip 6, only it is directed at the parents. You can not teach a child to listen to others, or to you if you do not listen to them. I grew up with parents who practiced “Do as I say not as I do…” of the three of us I like to believe that I have a better grasp on what is right and wrong… based on where each of us are in life.
Tip 8: Do as I do
I know that I said leading by example is not enough, but it is important. Make sure that you are providing a good example for them to look up to. Do you hold doors for others, do you listen when others are speaking, do you listen when someone expresses an opinion different from yours?
Tip 9: Let Them Know You Love Them
It may seem silly, but believe it or not, it is easier to be considerate of others when you feel that you are loved. Our actions towards others are actually displays of how we feel about ourselves. This goes for children as well. Kids that don’t feel loved, or important tend to act one of two ways… either they treat others that way or they over compensate and smoother people with affection and they will bend over backwards to be nice to people so that the other person likes them. There has to be a happy medium. Make sure that your child knows you love them. Hugs, kisses, listening, cuddling and spending time enjoying who your child is.
Tip 10: Surround Them with Positive Role Models
Pay attention to the people your child looks up to. Whether it is a celebrity, an athlete or a neighbor make sure that those people behave in positive ways. In other words, Brittany Spears is not a good role model. Encourage them to look up to people that act in the ways you want to see them behave.