The definition of parenting around the world mostly revolves around three major aspects. One, ensuring children’s health and safety; two, preparing them for challenges and opportunities in life, and three, passing important traditions and values. In reality, parenting goes far and beyond and can have many different interpretations.
My personal experiences and observations working with children and fellow parents for years have led me to believe that being a child’s first mentor is arguably one of the key measures of parenting success. As children develop from infants to teens to adults, they go through changes in the different important aspects of their being including physical, intellectual, emotional and social. No one is in a better position to guide them through these developments other than their parents.
Out of the many hats that I wear as a mom, I make it a point to take time and fulfill my role as my son’s life coach and mentor in every stage of his life. That includes building the correct foundation (physical, mental, emotional and social) and together with my husband, mold him into a well-balanced, successful, and most importantly, a good person. I like to think of it as how scaffolding supports a structure that is being built, and gradually letting them go as they become stronger and more independent.
Understanding your Child
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of understanding your children. You need to bear in mind that each child has a unique personality trait that may be very different to others. One of the ways you can understand your child is by observing them closely. Look for their consistent traits, their interests, their strengths, and their weaknesses too. Also, observe how they interact with people around them. Their siblings, other kids or adults. See what triggers their emotions and actions, and be ready to correct, nurture and provide guidance. Observe other kids their age too, and don’t be afraid to discuss with trusted fellow parents. When you understand them better, you will be able to decide what they need and give them the best opportunities to grow or provide support where necessary.
Be a Role Model
Kids inevitable look up to their parents, and you are the first and most important influencers during their growing years. Our words and actions affect them, and so we have to be very attentive in what we do around as they watch us all the time. Kids are very observant! As the old saying goes, practice what you preach. We cannot be contradicting ourselves with our words and actions. Consistency is key.
Teach them the Basic
Life is not a piece of cake unfortunately. As much as we want to always shield our children from all the dangers and hurt in the world, we have to accept that we will not be around 100% of the time. Parenting is a hard job, but one of the most simple ways of raising a balanced and well-equipped individual is to ensure that their foundation is strong. Teach them important life skills early. Train them with practical tasks around the house, help them express their feelings and reinforce good manners and proper social conduct. Remember, it’s a joint responsibility between parents, so make sure that you agree with your wives or husbands on the basics.
Allow Wiggle Room
As parents, we are very much tempted to spoon feed our children or to “overhelp,” and it’s totally understandable. While it’s good to be always ready to support or provide them with what they need, it is equally important to give them bandwidth to explore on their own. This way, you teach them how to be more responsible, resourceful and independent. You will be surprised what they are able to discover and solve on their own!
Every opportunity is a learning opportunity
Simple tasks that you do together as a family can be amazing platforms for teaching your kids. Taking the time to play with them will do wonders for their development. Using educational toys, role-playing, or even exposing them to everyday tasks such as doing groceries or preparing food can help them develop physical, technical and social well-being. No learning opportunity is too small.
These are just some of the ways to help parents like us to be our children’s most reliable teacher. I’m keen to hear more tips from you, so please feel free to leave a comment or write to me directly!