The most important part of being a parent to small children is having the motivation to do a good job. Fortunately, nature takes care of a big portion of that by making small children very cute and endowing us with a strong desire to care for them. So, when children are small, the question of how to be a good parent is largely about finding the energy to keep up with that adorable, mess-generating, little bundle of trouble. Manage to get through those years and we run into the temptation of feeling like we’re done because your teens are now brushing their teeth, pouring bowls of cereal, and the like.
But a parent to teens has to be more strategic, more psychologically astute, and much more attentive than the parent of a small child. So, we’re going to cover seven key strategies, not just for managing your teens, but to raise them to be the magnificent young adults that they have it in them to be.
Love Them Like Their Lives Depend On It
When they were small, you established that you loved them unconditionally. This is important so that they understand that when you say ‘no,’ when you admonish, and sanction, that you do it from a place of love and not from a place of rejection. Now, that they are teens, they need you to love them just to overcome the background noise of confusion and angst. So love them and never let up.
Listen Actively and Be Attentive
Being a teenager requires massive amounts of trial and error. You can explain the meaning of life to them fully and accurately, but they still have no way of knowing anything without finding out for themselves. Therefore, they have to think independently and to explore, despite your guidance. Listen to them. You might just learn something.
Use “No” Strategically
Remember the flood of temptations that plagued you as a teen, and even now. Understand that humans have a limited capacity to resist temptation. Let them indulge themselves enough to have sufficient self-control in reserve to tend to what’s important. In time, they will expand on the small disciplines you reinforce consistently.
Embrace the Power of “No”
In a world full of evils, temptations, and folly- the power of ‘no’ is your sacred weapon against the forces of dissolution. When your teens hear you use that word, it should have authority. Don’t overuse it. Use it at the right time, and no more. Don’t beat them over the head with it, or their heads may become hard.
Pour Food Down Their Necks Liberally
Teenagers are engaged in the most grueling Olympic sport on Earth- growing in size, strength, intellectual, emotional, and sexual maturity. The energy required for that and earning a High School degree at the same time is huge. If someone put that kind of strain on us, we would vaporize. So feed them lots and LOTS of GOOD food.
When in Doubt, Cool Your Jets
Children are the way they are because biology has made them that way. The process of maturing is a process of trimming all the excess neural links that make children such a grab bag of potential. Understand that they are far more full of potential than we can even understand. As a rule of thumb, if it’s something that you’ll forget about in a week, don’t sweat it.
Observe, and Admire
Like most people, your teens are doing the best they can with what they have… probably. Keep that in mind, and remember how stressful and confusing that time of life is. When you can, take a moment to admire them for enduring and overcoming all that weird, wild stuff that teen life throws at them.
Disciplining A Child And Creating a Program To Discipline Themselves
1. Some people see that their lives would be enhanced if they were a parent and do not want to miss out on having a child, especially when they hear their friends or associates praising having children in their lives. Parenthood is glorified and is considered an extraordinary experience. Still, they do not think that there is any downside to having children because parenthood is a given and considered transcendent when a parent has one good experience with its child and the child, is not interrupted by a Smartphone, headphones or earbuds, which does not qualify as a higher spiritual plane. Parenting, being a given, must be thoroughly thought through because it is a full-time responsibility, which carves up all of one’s free time.
2. If your motive to be a parent is that people tell you that if you do not, you will regret this decision. This motive is not a good reason to be a parent. While regretting not having children is a compelling reason to have children.
3. If your partner wants to have children, should this motivate yourself to do so, even though you are ambivalent? Being pressured to have a child by a desperate partner can easily backfire, and your partner’s motivation may be that desperate parent has doubts about the success of the marriage.
4. You should not have any genuine concerns about your parenting skills. While having concerns is not atypical, legitimate concerns should not be ignored. It is essential that you know yourself and trust your feelings that you had doubts about whether you could love and protect your child.
5. When you thought about having a child, one factor was that the child could be an insurance policy to care for you as you age, and you feared to be lonely and neglected.
It is unusual to determine your discipline strategy for your unborn child, but that issues arise in the early years of the child’s life. Further, in your discussion with your partner concerning discipline, you may realize if there is a significant difference between you and your partner. That issue should be addressed before determining if your parenting styles significantly differ before you commit to having children.
Discipline is directly related to the emotional well being of the parents, the age and developmental status of the child, and
ethnic and racial differences. One would hope that the emotional well being of the parent would be explored before the parents deciding to have children.
A parents goal is to raise competent and capable adults and decide that disciplining their teenagers when they don’t complete essential tasks is not helping them to become well-functioning adults such as:
1. Ensuring that they wake themselves up in the morning when the snooze button on their alarm clock does not effectively wake them up,
2. Making their breakfast and packing their lunch.
3. Completing their school-related paperwork.
4. Bringing forgotten items to their school.
5. Do not cover your children’s failure to finish school projects.
6. Doing their laundry.
7. Contacting their teachers or coaches.
8. Becoming too involved with their academic responsibilities.
Teaching Children Common Sense Life Skills
Parents are concerned that whether they should use common sense to teach a child life’s skills to ensure that their children can function in the real world, which is unrelated to technology or computer knowledge. Society expects that parents teach their children common sense life skills and will, in some form, punish parents for not doing so. Parents have to set aside a home-based program to teach these skills. The common-sense life skills program must be designed to have consequences putting the final responsibility on their children to show that they will suffer from avoiding tasks and must develop self-discipline.
Five ways to motive children at home during the pandemic
The current Covid-19 pandemic has forced families to spend a lot of their time at home and this has created new challenges. Staying home all the time has been particularly difficult for parents to manage their children. Whether it is the current pandemic or any other situation that forces families to stay home for an extended time, parents must establish some basic rules for the children to follow. These rules should include having a set schedule for the children to follow and communicating guidelines and expectations. The real challenge will be to motivate the children to follow the rules. Here are five ways you can do this:
- Involve the children in making a schedule
Rather than just dumping a schedule on them, you should include your children to a part of setting up a schedule. Set a family meeting and ask the children what they would like to do. Talk about why the schedule is important and what is acceptable and what is not. Don’t forget about setting a certain time of the day where you allow them to be kids: watch TV, jump around, go outdoors, etc. Involving them in setting up a schedule will make them some ownership of their behavior and discipline to follow the schedule.
- Let them have a say in how to accomplish tasks
If children are forced to do things, their motivation is undermined. Try to give them a few options when possible so they feel empowered to complete tasks that they have agreed to do. This will also increase the chance of them completing the task. For example, after a study session, give them a choice of a few different fun activities.
- Empathize with them
An increasing number of research studies are pointing out the importance of empathy in different settings. It is also extremely important in a parent-child relationship. One of the first steps to empathy is to listen to your children and communicate to them that you understand what they are saying. We all have an innate desire to be heard and understood and if this desire is not filled, it leads to frustration and tantrums. Even if you don’t agree with your child is saying, it important to communicate to them that you understand what they are saying and then provide them with a reason why you do not agree with them or will not allow them to do that.
- Provide Reasons
As a parent, you should provide them with reasoning for the rules you have setup. For example, in a stay at home situation, you should explain to them why you have to stay inside. The reasoning will be more effective if the children can relate to it. For example, you can tell them that if they go out and catch the flu, they might have to go to the doctor, and that is not going to be a pleasant experience.
- Try do problem-solving with the children
At times, things won’t go according to plan. Some problems will arise that would require some solving. Include your children in problem-solving. For example, if your child doesn’t sleep on time. Engage them in a discussion to see what possible solutions can be used to make it easier for them to sleep. When they become part of the solution-finding process, there is a greater chance of the problem is solved.
I stopped being a helicopter parent and we are much happier
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced people to stay home. This has also meant that families get to spend a lot more time together. In my case, I have had an opportunity to spend some quality time with my son. I have always been a helicopter parent, which means I have been overprotective of my son. I have taken an excessive interest in their life. At times I found myself double-checking his homework to make sure he has done the best he can. I had installed a camera in his room to monitor what he was doing. I used to check the camera excessively. There was a time he had to on a school field trip. I was so nervous that I decided to join them. I was the only parent to have joined them on the field trip. It was so embarrassing for me but it kept me from worrying about my son. It was just a lot of very unhealthy behavior. I had reached a helicopter parent burnout situation.
One surprising benefit of staying at home has been a change in my behavior towards my son. I have finally learned how to abandon being a helicopter parent. In the past, I have been hovering over my son like a helicopter. I might have to pretend to be chill and laid back but my mind is always on my son. A helicopter parent intends to make sure their child is safe from anything that could hurt them. This is not a bad intention to have. The problem with it is that it can be exhausting for the parent and annoying for the kid. Being home all the time made being a helicopter parent even more exhausting. Where is he? Did he do his homework? Is he hungry? Did he go out of the house? Did he fall? If I kept thinking about my son, I would just not able to do anything else.
Abandoning being a helicopter parent doesn’t mean I completely forget about my son and not care about him. It means being more selective about it. For example, I am still diligent to make sure he attends his virtual math class but I don’t need to know where he is all the time. I encourage him to eat healthy food but I am not overly stressed about every single thing he eats. This has made my son also more responsible for his actions. He now understands that I am not always hovering over him, protecting him, telling him what to do and what not to do. He has realized that is he is running the show, not me.
Staying at home has meant that there no strict schedules to follow. We have learned how to live and let live. We are together in the same house but not intruding into the personal space of the other all the time. We have interesting conversations about various things but I am constantly telling him what to do. Another advantage of abandoning being a helicopter parent is that I am a happier person and my son can feel that. There is more quality time we spend together. I think my son is better prepared to transition to the real world. Eventually, he will grow up and he would have to be responsible for his own life. If I had kept going on as I was, it would have made it harder for him. The COVID-19 pandemic will be always be remembered for the devastation it has caused, but it did allow me to change myself and for that I am thankful.
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