How should you define a better parent?
To become better at anything you must first have a standard that you measure yourself against. In this case its not yourself that you are measuring, it’s your children and their behaviour that you are measuring.
Up to a child’s mid-teens parents are responsible for the raising of their children. Attitudes and behaviour of a child can be a reflection upon you. When your children were very young did you?
- Give them everything they asked for
- Deny them all that they asked for
- Reassure them from night time worries
- Not reassure them of night time worries
The list of shoulds and should nots is endless when dealing with the needs of our children. Each and every child is an individual and unique in their character, but their fundamental needs can be met by understanding their basic requirements as if they were small people. That’s what a child is, a smaller version of yourself and one who knows very little about life as you know it, but who knows a lot about hunger, warmth and love. These are basic to every human.
As a parent you can satisfy these basic needs of your child. You feed the child when it is hungry, you clothe and show unconditional love. But then what? The rest of your child’s wants, not needs, can determine how your child launches into the adult world.
This brings us to the question. “What is the difference between a need and a want?”
A need is something you cannot do without i.e. food, warmth, love. A want is something you can do without i.e. a television, a new car. You may say “That’s not true I need my television, I can’t live without it.” Yes you can, you can survive without a television, maybe not to your normal quality of life, but you will survive.
A good parent will understand that their prime role is to prepare their children for their independence when the time comes to join the adult world. A good parent makes sure that their child can cope in the outside world. That they know how to behave in society, they know how to communicate to others effectively, they know where to go to learn more on any subject, they know how to catch a bus, taxi or train, they know how to look after themselves with personal hygiene, and general health.
These must be taught to your child for you to become a parent who is confident in their child’s ability to survive in the adult world.
A few tips on raising a family
The family environment that you grew up in will influence the way that you run your own family. Sometimes you will agree with your parental upbringing and sometimes you will disagree.
Either way it will still influence the way you raise your family. Whichever way you chose, from your children’s point of view, will probably never be right. So that’s the first tip, don’t let your children’s demands make you give in. You are the adult, you should know the consequences of any actions.
Your child, no matter how old, is a new addition to the world, with limited or no experience of most situations.
You as the adult member of the family should show a commanding role over your children, but not a domineering one.
Authority should be strong from you. If you say something should or should not be carried out by your child, then you must make that happen. Not by force, but by the application of consequences.
As an example, a child refuses to eat their dinner, they much prefer the dessert. Most parents would deny the child the dessert, or give in to the child and forgo the dinner. This causes an all round stressful situation, a conflict of interests.
A better way would be to let the child eat the dessert first and then their dinner on condition that if they did not eat their dinner this time, then there would be no desserts for a week, no sweets, chocolates or crisps.
Having an understanding, or a rule in this way, and sticking by it, you will gain respect from the child and they will understand the consequences of their actions.
Avoiding confrontations in your family environment is a more harmonious way to live. Introducing consequences for your actions and other family member actions put a different perspective on family life.
Confrontations will still occur since we are all human and nothing is perfect, but at least you can keep problems down to an acceptable level.
Another tip. How many times has your child come into the kitchen whilst you are cooking? You have mentioned how dangerous it is, but your child pays no attention. One solution; point out a line between the kitchen floor and the passageway flooring. Then say to your child. “When I am cooking you must not cross that line, if you do, you will have no dessert after your dinner”. You make the rules and stick by them.
Or you could go the other way and bribe your child with the promise of treats if they do not come into the kitchen, but this can have a major downside. Your child could turn around one day and say. “I will only do that task if you pay me with a reward”. This reward could escalate as the child grows older.
The consequences of our actions are always with us. It’s knowing whether the consequences of a certain act will enhance or degrade our family life.