That old saying, “kids these days…” is really starting to ring true. As someone who spends the majority of time around children, both my own and those I teach, it is apparent that it is becoming more and more difficult to raise respectful, caring, well balanced children in this ever-changing world. More difficult but definitely still possible.
We hear about it in the news. They speak of how parents have reversed roles and are now being controlled by their children. Disciplining children has become a thing of the past. Parents try way too hard to be-friend their children rather than parent them. An important difference between parenting and friendship is a parent must be strict. In order to ensure the best possible future for your child a parent must be strict with routine in coordinating theocracy by doing so, the family dynamic has only to benefit.
Parents explain how they drive their children to activities 4 or 5 nights a week and how their own free time is now non-existent as its been replaced by chauffeuring children. There seems to be an increasing worry about ensuring our children are happy and keeping children entertained rather than allowing them down time and boredom, therefore teaching them patience and independence. In a world of I want it and I want it now, are we passing negative mindset to our next generation?
The alternative to this results in children that have little or no activity involvement and find it hard to socialize in situations with other children.
So, it seems we are darned if we do and darned if we don’t.
The truth is, I am so far from having the answer.
I believe in balance. Balance is the answer in many aspects of our lives; nutrition, exercise, work, and I also believe it can be used for parenting. Of course we want our children to be happy but not at the exchange of their behaviour, values, and discipline. Children need to know they are loved but they can feel this through structure, and through the most powerful parenting word we have, NO. I had a conversation with a friend the other day about how it is completely ok and actually essential to tell our children no. They must learn that they cannot have their way the majority of the time at a young age or it will only become more difficult as they age. It is ok to limit their activities and it’s absolutely ok to tell them no. Technology makes for some underlying competition or also known as, “keeping up with Jones”. It is natural to not want your children to miss out on other things kids their age are doing, but at what cost? Families sometimes find themselves in debt, missing quality time at home, missing meals and weekends together in order to take part in certain activities. These activities can also be really rewarding hence the importance of balance. If activities and commitments are putting more stress and strain on the family than reward, then it’s time to refocus on what is really important and perhaps why you started in the first place.
There are so many factors that influencing our children and our parenting. Factors include peer influence, school culture, environmental factors, technology and the list goes on. With so many factors out of our control as parents, we do have control over our time at home and how we deal with preparing for the other factors. It is our obligation to prepare our children to deal with all of these external factors, keep communication open and lead by example. Get involved. Get involved with their school, their friends, and their activities.
We got this parents.