Are you raising kids? Did that? Will do that? Do you, or did you, have a manual for doing a bang up job in raising kids? Did you, or are you going to, raise the kids the way you were raised? What might you do differently?
Raising kids, no matter what their age, is a two way street. Kids have feelings, perceptions, and needs. Oftentimes, however, they are not the best in communicating with you, their parents. Or, perhaps, you parents are not listening well. Plus, there still are some stone age parents who believe that “kids should be seen but not heard”.
Would you like to “hear” them? They have spoken to me and I am passing their words on to you. They are now a part of a handout I often use when teaching parenting classes.
Hear your children’s words:
1. Stand by us, not over us. Give us the feeling that we are not alone in the world, that we can always count on you when we are in trouble.
2. Make us feel that we are loved and wanted. We want to love you, not as a duty but because you love us.
3. Train us by being affectionately firm. You will achieve more with us through patient teaching than by punishment or preaching. Say “no” when you feel you have to, but explain your rules, don’t merely impose them.
4. Bring us up so that we will not always need you. Teach us how to take on responsibility and become independent of you. We will learn this faster and better if you will let us question you, your ideas and standards.
5. Don’t act shocked when we do things we shouldn’t. It is going to take us time to learn how to grow into life properly.
6. Try to be as consistent as possible. If you are mixed up about what you want from us, why shouldn’t we be mixed up too in what we give you?
7. Don’t try and make us feel inferior. We doubt ourselves enough without your confirming it. Predicting failure won’t help us succeed.
8. Say “nice work” when we do something really well. Don’t hold back the praise when we deserve it. That’s the way to spur us on.
9. Show respect for our wishes even if you disagree with them. Respect for you will flow naturally from your respect of us.
Articulate little devils, aren’t they! “Out of the mouths of babes…” Listening to kids is not easy, but it is worth the extra time. Just as it is for you and me, we like to be heard by significant others in our life. The earlier we can respond to our children’s exhortations the better the results will be for us as the kids go through the challenging teen years.
There is no more important role or mission than to be a loving parent who works in concert with our mate, or ex-spouse, to nurture and mentor our children. Communication with them is essential and an important ingredient for any effective dialogue is to truly hear them. Adhering to the above nine points will go a long way in developing children of whom you are proud and they are appreciative. Give it your best shot, no matter what age your kids are. A loving family of well connected adults is a wonderful reality and worth such effort.