Can indulging too much and giving too much spoil our children? We know there is not a complete parenting manual out there in the marketplace today. Sometimes parents follow the steps in a parenting book and still find it frustrating to have failed in some areas. Me too.
With modern conveniences, busy lifestyles, overscheduled children and demands from every area…are we aware of what is important? How can we cut through the noise and distractions and focus on raising responsible children who know their boundaries? Establishing boundaries that encourage and promote freedom to be who they are designed to be?
When my daughter was four, I brought her to a dance studio against her will. Then she turned five, I sent her for piano lessons because almost everyone was doing that. When she was seven, it was time for violin. The ‘well-intended’ activities turn into family feuds when the ‘good daughter’ would not practice or hated piano and violin.
In frustration I yelled across the soccer field to my husband, “Look, she is just standing at the soccer field, not kicking the ball!” We have come a long way, in fact seven years of ‘remodeling our parenting skills’. Through mistakes and many frustrations, we have enforced certain rules upon ourselves (the parents) and now the children are less scheduled and are very much growing in the way they should go….
Realize parenting is about our own personal growth, boundaries and our own lifestyle. After all, children look up to us and are modeling what we are doing. Now, we believe in parenting like a mentor, a coach who does the very things expected from the children. Now we have authority, as we model and live life with honesty and boundaries…raw in front of our children.
These are seven ways we are teaching responsibilities and boundaries:
1. Learn to do things on your own. We can show you once or twice. Then you have to take over and do it yourself. There is a difference between a close relationship with my children and dependency. They are to do assigned housework and clean their bathrooms. “Live with your own trash if you want to” philosophy. I don’t want an adult child that depends on me to provide or do certain things for them.
2. Learn that life is not a bed of roses. Life can be difficult and has obstacles. I share with them the obstacles I’m facing and how certain things that were expected did not turn out the way I wanted.
3. Learn to cope with disappointment, struggles and unhappy situation. Life is not always a happy time and easy time. However, we can command our soul to be happy and cope with the disappointment.
4. Learn to work and move forward. We are made to work, for nothing will drop from the sky. Nice things cost money to buy. You need to make the money to support the lifestyle you want. There is a big difference between a Bugatti and a Toyota made car.
5. Know there are consequences to everything. There is no bailing out in our family when enough warnings are given about the consequences of certain actions or behavior.
6. Curb the need for immediate gratification. With lots of conveniences it is easy to feed ourselves and get immediate gratification for almost anything. They are told the difference between convenient food and food made from scratch.
7. Our children want to be treated well and respected. They are watching us. Do we respect spouse, friends, co-workers, and ourselves and ultimately do we respect them?
I believe the English idiom the apple never falls far from the tree says a lot about parenting responsible children. The bible says train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6).
This year, what words are you speaking over yourselves and your children? Questions to help us move forward:
1. Do we have an entitlement mentality? For example, I deserve to have a healthy body without putting some work in getting nutritional food into my body.
2. Do you procrastinate on projects? For example, are you still waiting for the right time to get a home business going. There is no perfect or right time. The time is now.
3. Are you waiting for the government to make your life better? For example, you are waiting for a pay raise and you have not increased your skills for the last 20 years. You are using the same skill 19 times over without new skills.
If the answers are yes, we need a change. Do you have children that have similar traits as the three illustrations above? I am still learning and growing in these areas and making sure I follow through. To raise responsible kids, I have to be a responsible adult.
To have a healthy body, I put clear boundaries to differentiate between the good nutritional food and supplements and the bad. Please leave us a comment below. We would like to hear from you.
Claudia Looi is a copywriter, travel and web content writer. She’s dedicated herself to helping entrepreneurs create their online presence with email campaign, sales page and web content. A writer and traveler who has lived and worked in Kuala Lumpur, Auckland and New York in the travel industry for over 12 years and has had the luxury of traveling to almost 30 countries. Currently, her works include writing for tour operators, hotels, real estate, wellness and immigration consulting industries. When not working, you will find her reading or planning her next family trip with her husband and two teens.