I want a child who enjoys being with me, and who I enjoy being with.
I want a good mannered, good natured child.
I want a confident child.
Here’s the deal, parent… This requires investment. LONG-TERM investment. These are fruit which have emerged after sowing, watering and waiting. Because the game is never over until the very end.
Teach them by who you are, how you present yourself, how you speak, how you relate to others and how you react. They learn by what they SEE you do, not what you say.
Do you fail sometimes? Do you lose control? Yell? Swear? How do you pick yourself up? Accepting responsibility, apologising, and being conscious of bad habits and reactions – all these help your child learn how to cope when they are let down by their own behaviour. They learn that we do fail, but what we learn and how we allow the experience to shape us into better people.
Speak words that build them up, but don’t flatter them. Motivate and encourage them when they fail so that they learn that no one is perfect, but we all strive towards being better people. They learn empathy, and how to help others in their journey.
Set boundaries for them so they learn that the choices they make have consequences. Talk with them and listen actively when they speak. Aim to gain a better understanding of their thought processes and why they believe as they do. This would help you to shape their values positively.
Involve them in household chores. They develop a sense of responsibility and realise they are part of a team. In this process, they learn that their attitudes and behaviours have an impact on others around them. Gradually increase their responsibilities whilst pushing back the limits – so that they gradually learn to stand on their own feet and develop independence.
Instil in them the understanding that you reap what you sow, and encourage them to live a life of purpose. The fruit of committed and hard work is a fulfilled life. Encourage their hobbies and interests, so that they develop a balanced life. Guide then to find their true purpose and pursue it.
Guide them but respect them and learn to accept them for who they are. This will help them to develop as wholesome, confident adults, with solid self-esteem.
Expose them to situations different from what they are familiar with. Visit museums, watch films together and talk to them about history and other cultures. Raise their awareness about the world around them, so they appreciate that though people might be different, they are no less human.
Teach them about money. Not to spend more than they earn, and that things can wait. Teach them to spend wisely. Teach them to give, to share and not to be selfish.
Bringing up a child is a long journey. There will be good times and bad times. Sometimes, you will feel that it’s not working or that it’s not worth it. Always remember, it’s a journey of faith. Be relentless, be persistent and NEVER GIVE UP.