Some people say that being a parent today is much easier than a few decades ago, but just because we have more knowledge and information doesn’t mean it’s easier. In fact, while being bombarded by so many tips and advice, it can feel impossible to just be a parent. So to help you swim through the information, here are the most important things to keep in mind to help your kid develop into the best person they can be.
Have a trusting and loving relationship
The most important thing you need to remember is that your kid needs to trust you. Just because they do everything you tell them to doesn’t mean you have a trusting relationship and they might not come to you for advice when they really need it. The best way to strengthen trust is to simply trust them. Trust them when they say they’ve done their homework without checking it, trust them to keep a secret or just trust them to make their own choices. And throughout their life, no matter what obstacles you encounter, remember that keeping trust is the most important part of your relationship.
Allow them to explore their interests
Too many parents have regrets from their own past which they’re trying to correct through their children. You have to remember that your child is their own person and that they have the option to choose their own path. You can guide them to the best possible options, but ultimately, you can’t push them into a direction they don’t want to go. Make sure that they are given plenty of options when they are young to help them find what they love. Most importantly, don’t get upset when they change their interests. Yes, you might have spent a lot of money for that tennis equipment, just for them to leave it and pick up painting the next month, but get over it and be happy that your child is progressing in their search for themselves.
Connect with peers
No matter where they are in life, your kids will always benefit from good social skills. Whether or not they have siblings isn’t nearly as important as them spending time with other kids their age. Get them into playgroups, a fun learning centre, a team sport or any other activity where they will grow and learn as social creatures. These are the people who will tomorrow be their colleagues and families, so growing up in the same environment will be a huge benefit. If you notice that they aren’t getting along with other kids their age, try talking to a specialist to get to the bottom of any potential problem.
Push them higher
We all like being in our comfort zone, but we only grow once we leave it. And with kids, their parents are the ones that have to push them to try and achieve more. Of course, you shouldn’t push them further than they themselves want and feel good doing, but you need to respect their age and their abilities. Don’t baby them – the more you treat them like they’re “just kids”, the more they will act out, both in childhood and their teenage years. Encourage them to progress in the things they love, praise them when they succeed and help them when you feel like they are stumbling. Make sure you aren’t making them feel incompetent by over-assisting them, or helpless by leaving them alone to face a daunting task.
Get them active
Not only is activity key to a healthy lifestyle, it’s also extremely helpful to kids’ psychological state. It will help them get rid of excess energy, especially any negative energy, help them clear their mind and have fun! If they learn to go for a walk every day, it will help them think and compose themselves, and you can take the time to help them learn about the importance of exercise and health.
Giving your kids the tools they need to grow up into strong, independent people with good values is far from easy; but by encouraging them to be honest with themselves and find what they truly love, you can rest assured that your kid will grow up into a happy adult on a good path.