Raising children is tough but it can also be extremely rewarding.
11 Tips on Raising Children – According to Kids Themselves
1. “I learn by watching you. Become a role model for me.”
Showing is better than telling in parenting
“Be a good role model” seems pretty obvious. But it’s easier said than done. Remember the last time your kid was pushing and pushing and finally you yelled?
If we don’t want our kids to lose it when they feel being pushed to their limits (chores, homework, vegies, etc.), we have to model how to regulate our emotions and handle things that make us mad calmly. It’s very difficult, but our kids are watching us. We need to be the person we want our kids to become.
2. “Give me hugs and kisses. You can’t spoil me with those.”
They want our love, and we need to show them.
Love cannot spoil children. Only things we do or give in the name of love, or even worst, in place of love, may do that.
Showing affections to children helps create secure attachment and allows them to build an internal working model of loving relationships. This will have tremendous impact on how they relate to others, especially in adulthood.
There are many healthy ways to show your love. Here are some examples that will not spoil your child.
- Give them hugs and kisses.
- Spend time doing things that you can enjoy together.
- Talk with them, and LISTEN to them.
- Cheer for their success.
- Empathize with their struggles.
3. “My brain is still developing and so I’m slow in learning. But I do want to learn if you patiently and kindly teach me.”
Use kind and firm positive discipline.
Kids are not born to “push our buttons”. Most children do want to learn. But learning takes time. Remember how many times your child fell before they learned to walk without wobbling?
Learning “human rules” is even more complex than learning “gravity rules”. It takes time to understand, absorb, incorporate and use that information.
If a child doesn’t get it the first ten times you say it, it doesn’t mean they are stubborn or strong-willed. It means they need more time and practice. They need your kind and firm guidance, not punishment.
4. “Always be here for me no matter what.”
Be your child’s secure base for them to explore from and return to. Create secure attachment by being a warm and responsive parent.
Securely attached children are more resilient, show less behavioral problems1, perform better in school, and enjoy better mental well-being2.
5. “Talk with me. Don’t just talk at me.”
Have real conversations and listen carefully.
We often forget that communication is a two-way interaction. Talk with your child, Discuss what’s on their mind and what’s important to them. Things that are not important to grownups can be very important to your child.
If we listen to the small things when they’re small, they’ll come to us with big things when they grow up.
6. “Sometimes I just want to be heard without judgment or lecture.”
Like grownups, kids often want to vent. They want to be heard and be understood. Listen with an open mind and empathy.
Parents of teenagers often wonder why their kids don’t talk to them anymore. One reason could be that no one likes to be lectured all the time. Also, no one wants to be around someone who lectures all the time.
7. “Accept who I am. Don’t constantly compare me to other kids.”
Every parent wants their child to be the best they can be. This natural desire may sometimes cause you to compare your kid with others.
The Harvard Grant Study has found that having a parent-child relationship in which the child feels nurtured and accepted is the key to success in life3. So your tendency to compare is actually doing your child a disservice.
8. “Let me play outside a lot.”
Playing has many benefits to a child’s development. Unstructured play outdoors is even more better.
Outdoor environment is full of rich opportunities for development and learning. Playing outside usually allows children to have more autonomy and develop independence. Children can also engage in sensory play often not available in indoor facilities.
9. “Give me food that is nutritious and yummy.”
Children cannot buy or make their own food. So they rely on us to provide what they need.
Your child may not have the exact same taste as you do. When they refuse certain food, it may be tempting to use the “Eat or Starve” method.
“You either eat it or starve” is essentially starving a child into submission, into having the exact same taste that you do.
Instead, look for healthy food that your child likes. There are many different types of nutritious food. It may take many trials and some creativities to find what your kid likes, but it’s doable.
10. “Please trust me.”
Making mistakes is not always a bad thing. If we want our children to have good judgement, we need to let them practice making decisions. That means they will inevitably make mistakes.
Let them make decisions on things that won’t be a danger, health risk or inconvenience to others. A child cannot learn to walk without falling. They also can’t learn to make good decisions without making bad ones.
11. “Your praise means so much to me.”
Encouraging words can have powerful positive effect on kids. Praise sincerely and focus on their efforts, not abilities. When praises for kids are used right, they can make a big difference in a child’s self-esteem and intrinsic motivation.
- 1.Waters E, Wippman J, Sroufe LA. Attachment, Positive Affect, and Competence in the Peer Group: Two Studies in Construct Validation. Child Development. Published online September 1979:821. doi:10.2307/1128949
- 2.Ainsworth MD, Blehar M, Waters E, Wall S. Patterns of Attachment. Psychology Press; 1978.
- 3.Vaillant G. TRIUMPHS OF EXPERIENCE: THE MEN OF THE HARVARD GRANT STUDY. Harvard University Press; 2012.