Raising children is one of the most rewarding and also taxing things you will ever do in your adult life. Kids are unique, full of character and their own set of values and beliefs. Being able to raise our children into well-rounded and considerate adults is one of the greatest challenges we can face. However, we can give you a little bit of advice on how you can help your children grow up into helpful and considerate members of society.
Believe it or not, kids are capable of disciplining themselves. You may have forgotten what you were like as a child and the values and knowledge you held at a certain age, but actually children as young as 3 years old can stop themselves from taking selfish actions against others. For example, during play time, instead of stealing a toy from another child, they are able to ask politely if they may play with the toy themselves. It is incredible how developed children can be at such a young age. Kids will of course always have moments where all sense of rationality and human decency are forgotten- and unfortunately sometimes those moments will occur when you are standing in the middle of the cereal aisle at the store. But generally, children are able to stop themselves from acting in a selfish manner if they are taught these behaviours and they witness you demonstrated this behaviour at a young age. The way we teach our children is largely by observation- the example we set by the way we act in our day to day lives is the difference between our children needing a trusted bail bond company or going on to study at Yale.
Children naturally want to please their parents, it’s part of their nature. The great thing about this is that you can instil these positive thoughts into our children from them being young toddlers. Basic manners, being caring towards others and sticking to the law are some of the key concepts we can plant into our kids minds and imprint in their so that they naturally lean towards these behaviours as they grow into adulthood. What we teach our kids at a young age impacts the way they act for the rest of their lives.
If you don’t set rules for your little ones as they grow up, they will believe that they can do absolutely anything they like. Kids who aren’t set any rules to follow will often be the ones who have tantrums in the middle of the street and scream when they don’t get what they want. Children need to learn their boundaries and understand that there are limits in all aspects of life- and you must earn rewards rather than have them handed to you on a platter. Tell them why you are setting these rules. When you first try to tell your child a rule, they won’t understand the reason you are setting them, and this may cause them to rebel as they do not see the purpose of following the rule you have set. A simple example of a rule with a reason could be: ‘you need to put your toys back in the box after playing, so that you are able to find them afterwards.’
Make sure that when your children do follow the rules, they receive the praise that they deserve. Even if it something as small as letting a sibling play with their toys, make sure that your recognise the good decision they have made and give them the praise for behaving in a good manner towards their peers.
And finally, you must make sure that you set an example for your children and follow the rules yourself. If you do not set a positive example for your children and lead them in their actions, you cannot expect them to follow the rules. If on a cold day you tell your child to wrap up with a coat and gloves, and you do not do it yourself- your child will wonder why they have to follow this rule and they will be more likely to question it. However, if you do it yourself, you can make an example and your child will follow suit without hesitation.
Your child may feel guilt after they have disobeyed you and not followed the rule you set, and you should try your best to wait before you minimise their discomfort. Simply let them know that mistakes happen and we must learn from these. And tell them how they need to act next time.
Put The Emphasis on Being Empathetic
Teach your children the power of understanding and empathy towards other people. Children are born with the notion that the world revolves around them, but we must teach them that they ned to care about other people too. It’s not simply enough to let them learn from their mistakes, we need to guide them and show them how to be better people. Celebrate when your child is kind to another person- they may offer someone a toy, a hug or even something more meaningful, and we need to make sure that we highly praise these moments so that they know they can continue with these behaviours in the future.
Don’t lecture them about what empathy and understanding is, instead ask them what they think is going on with other people and how that makes them feel. If they have a friend who is upset, ask them how they feel about that and make sure that they understand how it feels when they are upset. The child will be more likely to go out of their way to make the child feel better. Help them read people’s body language so that they are able to interpret signs of emotion in others and act accordingly. It will take time for them to learn but eventually they will be able to read an emotion by the facial expressions and the way people hold themselves and act to help them.