I just found this article, and, to me, it’s spot on.
I’ve had several conversations with friends who have younger children who’ve commented that the parents telling the children what to do is “old fashioned” and that parents these days “discuss” things with their children.
There’s nothing wrong with discussion, I always explained what and why we were doing things with my kids and we’d have a conversation about it.
But make no mistake: the final decision about what we were doing (and what the kids would be doing) was mine.
I’m the adult, it’s my responsibility to make sure what the kids are doing is the best thing for everyone concerned.
I’ve kept my mouth shut about this because there are so many people who believe that the child knows what’s best for themselves but the way I look at it is this: I have decades more life experience than my child and their well-being is my responsibility. I will ALWAYS listen to their thoughts and input and I will ALWAYS see things from their viewpoint. ALWAYS.
But if I think they’re making a mistake or what they’re doing is dangerous, not in their best interest or downright stupid, then it’s MY responsibility to explain to them why I think that, discuss the whole thing and then do things my way.
That’s my responsibility as a parent.
I was, apparently, absolutely infuriating as the parent of a teen. Said teenager would come home from school, tired and irritable and looking for an argument, and make some outrageous statement to me that was specifically designed to start an argument. Most of the time, I’m a bit unaware of that kind of thing anyway, happily living in my own la-la land, but my commitment to my children is that I understand them: if I don’t understand them and where they’re coming from, I can’t guide them to the best of my ability. So, I’d go quiet while I mulled over whatever ridiculous thing had been said, trying to see things from that perspective and understand why they might think that and then – working on the assumption that the comment was a serious one – I’d have an in-depth discussion about that viewpoint.
According to the kids, it was the most exasperating thing that I did; they didn’t want understanding and a discussion, they wanted a fight!
The other big one is “no”. No means no. There are no “hard” or “soft” no’s, there’s just “no”. And if I say “no”, the kids are more than welcome to explain why they think that’s the wrong answer and why they think the answer should be “yes”, but if they throw themselves on the floor, stomp out or start yelling at me that I’m mean, then they’ll find a “no” about several other things flying their way too, even if I’ve already said “yes” to them.
Yes, I know, I’m far from perfect and yelling at me will often result in not only me yelling back, but me also massively curtailing any pleasurable activities that were planned.
As a parent, I am the guide. Like a guide on a mountain trip, it’s my responsibility to make sure that I share my knowledge and equip the group as best as I can for the journey ahead.
I wouldn’t be doing my job if I let them wander to the edge of the cliff and walk over it, or if I didn’t warn them of the dangers and make sure they understood. I’m not doing my job if I let them ignore me and do what they want to do.
Nor am I doing my job if I didn’t have them look up and see the beauty around them.
My job is to have them understand the world, learn how to make sense of things, understand the rules…
… note: understanding and following the rules are two completely different things. You can only change the rules if you understand them.
But most of all, my job is to have them understand themselves, to learn how they work, where they’re most powerful, where they feel helpless, how they behave, what works for them and what doesn’t, what scares them or defeats them, what makes them feel good.
No means no.
As a parent, step up to the plate and take responsibility. Teach your children the things they need to know. Just because they don’t think it’s necessary from where they’re sat right now, doesn’t mean that they’re right or that they don’t need to learn it. If you, with your decades of additional experience, can see that this is what they need right now, then that’s what they need.
Stop being a flake to the people who are most important in your life.
Here is the article written by Dr. Luis Rojas Marcos, Psychiatrist.
There is a silent tragedy that is developing day after day in our homes and concerns our most precious jewels: our children.
Our children are in a devastating emotional state.
Over the past 15 years, researchers have given us increasingly alarming statistics about a sharp and steady increase in childhood mental illness that is now reaching epidemic proportions:
The statistics show that:
- 1 in 5 children have mental health problems
- A 43% increase in ADHD was noted
- A 37% increase in adolescent depression was noted
- A 200% increase in the suicide rate in children between 10 and 14 years has been noted.
What is going on and what are we doing wrong?
Today’s children are over-stimulated and overloaded with material objects, but they are deprived of what is truly fundamental for a healthy and happy childhood, such as:
- Emotionally available parents
- Clearly defined limits
- Balanced nutrition and good sleep quality
- Movement in the open air
- Creative play, social interaction, unstructured play opportunities and spaces for boredom.
Instead, these last few years we have filled them with:
- Digitally distracted parents
- Indulgent and permissive parents who let children “rule the world” and be the ones who set the rules
- A sense of right, of undeservedly everything without earning it or being responsible for it
- Inadequate sleep and unbalanced nutrition
- A sedentary lifestyle
- Endless stimulation, technological babysitters, instant gratification and the absence of boring moments.
What to do?
If we want our children to be happy and healthy individuals, we must wake up and go back to basics.
It is still possible … with the following recommendations:
- Set limits and remember that you are the captain of the ship. Your children will feel more confident knowing that you are in control of the helm.
- Offer children a balanced lifestyle full of what they need, not just what they want. Don’t be afraid to say “no” to your kids if what they want isn’t what they need.
- Provide nutritious foods and limit junk food.
- Spend at least an hour a day outdoors doing activities such as: cycling, walking, fishing, bird / insect watching.
- Enjoy a daily family dinner with no phones or technology to distract them.
- Play with family board games or if the children are very young for board games, let yourself be carried away by your interests and allow them to lead the game.
- Involve your children in some homework or homework according to their age (folding clothes, ordering toys, hanging clothes, arranging food, setting the table, feeding the dog, etc.).
- Implement a consistent sleep routine to ensure that your baby sleeps well. Timetables will be even more important for school-aged children.
- Teach responsibility and independence. Do not protect them in excess against any frustration or error. Making mistakes will help them develop resilience and learn to overcome life’s challenges,
- Do not pack your children’s backpack, do not bring their backpacks, do not bring them the task they have forgotten, do not peel their bananas or oranges if they can do it alone (4-5 years). Instead of giving them fish, educate them to fish.
- Educate them to wait and delay gratification.
- Provide opportunities for “boredom” as boredom is the moment when creativity awakens. You don’t feel responsible for keeping children entertained.
- Do not use technology as a cure for boredom, nor offer it on the first second of inactivity.
- Avoid the use of technology during meals, in cars, in restaurants, in shopping malls. Use these moments as an opportunity to socialize, thus training your brains to work when they are in “boredom” mode.
- Help them create a “jar of boredom” with business ideas for when they are bored.
- Turn off phones at night when children have to go to bed to avoid digital distraction.
- Become a regulator or emotional trainer of your children. Educate them to recognize and manage their frustrations and anger.
- Educate them to greet, to take turns, to share without remaining without anything, to say thank you and please, to recognize the error and apologize (do not force them), be a model of all those values that you inculcate them.
- Connect emotionally – smiles, hugs, kisses, tickles, reading, dancing, jumping, playing with them.
Thank you for the share.