Tuesday, March 17, 2015

5 Do's and Don'ts of Parenting




Parents are the gardeners of their children's lives.  Do you grow an over tended bonsai child?  Do you pick and prune incessantly?  Do you overwater your child?  Too much attention, too much stepping in to his/her life, too much anxiety, too much everything resulting in a child who feels weak and
un-empowered?

Or are you a naturalist?  Do you free range your child? Let him/her go and do and drift and float where he/she  chooses.  Don't concern yourself with the media messages he/she is picking up.  Don't worry about the friends he/she hangs with.  Let him/her decide what choices work, what limits to self impose. What boundaries to keep or cross.  He/She will grow into the person that he/she is meant to become without your input.  Without your guidance.  Without your wisdom.

Neither of these methods will result in a happy, self sufficient and well adjusted child.  And isn't that what you are trying to accomplish?  So what is a parent to do?


Here are the do's and don'ts:


1.  Don't over manage your child's life--Do allow him/her to make decisions (simple ones at tender ages and larger ones at older ages) and require him/her to stick with the consequences.  But also have faith in him/her.  Hold high expectations.

2.  Don't constantly criticize your children--Do let them know that your love for them is unconditional and support them in growing into the people they were meant to be, not what you WANT them to be!

3.  Don't give them everything they ask for--Do help them appreciate things by making them work and earn privileges and material possessions.

4.  Don't allow your children to do whatever they want--Do set boundaries and have rules.  Young people raised without any boundaries or limits will continue to push the limits of behavior in an effort to find where their parent(s) will finally draw the line.  Young people interpret a lack of boundaries as a clear message that they are not cared about or loved.

5.  Don't ignore your child's friendships but don't engineer them--Do get to know their friends and help them understand what makes a true friend and a valuable friendship.  This area is a tricky one, as sometimes children need your support and guidance when it comes to friendships, but also you can become too involved and should strive for the role of coach on the sidelines not referee in the middle of the action.

Growing a child to adulthood is exhausting, exhilarating, damn hard work!  Keep in mind that an unattended garden results in weeds choking back the true beauty and essence of a flower, and an overwatered garden becomes soft and weak.  Balance is the key to both gardening and parenting!
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