Updated: Oct 4, 2019
I have raised three amazing children who turned great, even if I say so myself, and I am raising my beautiful granddaughter who is more blessed to find me wiser and so I know she will turn out even greater. So it was for this reason that I welcomed with open arms the opportunity to share my views on parenting when one of my blog readers requested an article on parenting. Every family is different, our values are different and so are our children and their personality traits, as well as our own. So it is important to find a way of parenting that will really work for your family.
We all want the family structure where there is a father, a mother and children. As parents, you have to agree on how you will parent your kids, it should not be the responsibility of one parent to guide, discipline, nature and always be there for the kids. Children need both parents. Sometimes we find ourselves without the above structure, sometimes a dad is raising his kids alone, or a mother alone or a grandmother. Whatever the case might be, it is not easy raising kids. It requires a lot of patience, loads of love and buckets of understanding.
It requires a lot of patience, loads of love and buckets of understanding.
Sometimes we raise our kids the way we were raised, even though we hated it, and then wonder why our children refuse to submit to us. Personally I did not like the way we were raised, so when my family unit crumbled as a result of my divorce, I tried very hard to parent my kids differently from the way my sisters and I were raised. In some instances I did the same things I did not like growing up but I kept learning and changing and working at it continuously.
So here is my take on bringing up confident and great kids:
Children are human beings with opinions, feelings and needs beyond shelter, food and love. I have learned to value their opinions and made provision for them to share their feelings without judgement or reservation. I didn’t treat them as children and pretend to be okay when I was not, so they saw my vulnerability many times and were equally exposed to how quickly I would rise up.
Affirmation – children need to be affirmed, continuously. They need to know that you believe in them, and that you believe that their dreams are important not only to them but to you as well. I cannot remember how many times I have driven to places because one child wanted to be a model, or the other wanted to sing or be something that I didn’t think was great; but not once did I try to change their minds about their dreams, they would in most cases change their minds on their own.
Comparison – the worst thing you can do is to compare your kids to one another, this can cause a rift between your children that can be hard to mend. Your children are different, they are all individuals. Here is an example of how different mine are: my eldest daughter would ask how my day was, my son will ask how work was, and my youngest daughter, on the other hand, will ask how I am. I know that my daughters are interested in full details, but different aspects of those details, while my son just wants a quick summary, so I always give each one the response that they need.
Challenges – our children face challenges that are more hectic that the ones we faced in our time, let’s be honest. With everything going on around them, reality television and temptations all around; there is pressure from all angles to look a certain way, to be a certain way, and to appear a certain way. Telling them “do not do this” doesn’t work in this generation, they are very curious, they know how to find information and they know things that we knew very little of back in our day. It is important to instil in them values that can sustain them anywhere and anytime. Ensure that they feel so safe in your love that even if they miss a “step”, which they will, they know that you will always be there waiting with open arms to “pick them up" and help them keep going.
Deprivation – Where it is possible, do not deprive your kids of friends, privacy, parents, relatives etc. We grew up in a rough area so my mother did not allow us to have friends, this was her way of protecting us which was really coming from a good place but it robbed us of the ability to relate to other people even as adults. Allow your kids to make friends. Permit them privacy as well, even though the house is yours and you purchased their phones, laptops, and everything they own, there is no need to be snooping around their things. Knock before you burst open the door and invade their privacy. Sometimes we are so hurt after divorce that we end up depriving our kids of the other parent. Allow them access to the other parent, even if you believe you are protecting them. Children always want access to both parents and they will do all they can to find their parent even if he/she hasn’t tried to keep contact with them or has not proved to be a good parent to them. Avoid bad-mouthing the other parent as tempting as it is, don’t say anything about them at all unless your children bring up the subject.
Overwhelm – children get overwhelmed too with house chores, school work and a whole lot going on in their lives. Running your household like it is an army base where you are shouting orders and expecting them to perform well as school while keeping the house clean, cooking and looking after their siblings can be overwhelming. I used to love being at my grandmother’s house so much growing up. My granny was truly the best, coming back from school every day; you could smell her cooking all the way from school. We always had our after school clothes laid out for us, and we would have lunch while she washed our uniform, and then we would go out and play. We had lots of friends there and we played until it was very dark. In the morning everything would be prepared for us, her home-made bread and home-made jam was out of this world, (but tea was really awful). I wanted to be like her, I wanted that order.
Ensure that they feel so safe in your love that even if they miss a “step”, which they will, they know that you will always be there waiting with open arms to “pick them up" and help them keep going.
So I took a little bit of my mother’s protective love and my grandmother’s orderliness and super-womanhood and added my own style into the mix and I created my own version of my own unique parenthood.
Thought: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.” – Ephesian 6:4
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