Ever wondered what it really takes to raise kids to be happier and more positive adults? Though I’m not yet a parent, I often think of this when my very young nieces and nephews stay in the house and I observe changes in their personalities. As I read advices of parental experts, I learned there is no secret or standard formula, but there are fool proof methods we can do to enhance the growth of the kids around us, whether it’s our kid, younger sibling, niece, nephew, or others.
1. Learn with them.
Showing kids how things are done and doing it with them instead of merely telling how it works makes them more interested and active to learn. It gives them a sense of ownership to be involved physically and mentally in an activity. Kids who are curious and who love learning are more likely to grow into proactive and productive adults who would rather create and be useful than sulk in a corner when a problem arises. Stimulating their brains by exposing them to fun and educational centers like zoos and museums would also help.
2. Teach them the value of discipline and hard work.
As soon as kids can speak, walk, and think, it is vital to pass on the value of discipline and hard work to them because not only will it help a lot as they move through life, it will also give them a greater sense of fulfillment in everything they do.
I remember a story of a well-to-do mom whose 7-year old kid told her she wanted a guitar. There was no occasion, and the mom didn’t want to give in to just any whim. So she told her kid that if she wanted something, she has to work for it. They sat down and thought of what they can do to raise money and later decided that the kid could help bake banana cakes that she herself would sell at her dad’s office. The kid gladly obliged, and as soon as the mom saw her child’s hard work and perseverance in baking and selling, she took her to the mall to buy a guitar. The mom recounts that she could have easily given in to the request early on and bought a guitar because money was no object, but no cost could compare to the happiness and fulfillment she saw in her child’s eyes the minute she got something she worked for. To her, that was priceless.
3. Listen to them.
From observing everyday parents or guardians I come across with, I think a common oversight is to underestimate the power of a child’s perception. It is important to take time to explain why and how we do things and at the same time listen to what the child has to say about it to avoid their forming negative impressions which could really mark their personalities. It would help if we ask them about how their day was and encourage them to share things. This way we can learn a lot about them and also train them to be more expressive of their thoughts and emotions instead of allowing them to grow up suppressing a lot.
Image from this site.