It would have been amazing to be handed a manual on how to raise great kids, but for the most part, we’ve all learnt by trial and error and the do’s and don’t’s of those before and around us.
Raising kids will be by far the most challenging and rewarding experience. I’ve received many compliments over the years from my friends, other parents and the childrens’ teachers, often being asked what’s my secret.
So I’ll be sharing with you some guidelines that I’ve personally followed.
I don’t have a degree in child psychology, but coming from a large family, I have the pleasure of being surrounded by loads of kids and picked up on common sense parenting behaviours, which have worked for me.
Right from the start, keep your baby in a routine. I read a fabulous book, ON BECOMING BABYWISE by Gary Ezzo. It talks about babies being happy simply by being kept in a regular eat time, wake time, sleep time pattern.
Be consistent with the rules and boundaries that you set. All too often, when you’re in a good mood, rules tend to get relaxed, yet when you are tired, or having one of those days, any little thing will upset you and the poor child suffers. All you do is confuse them. If it’s no today then it’s no tomorrow.
When you deny your child something, give them a reason why and stick to it. For example, if they want to know why they can’t have sweets and your reason is that it’s too close to dinner, then if they keep nagging, your reply must still be, no because it’s too close to dinner. You need to be more persistent than them, regardless of how tired you are.
Throughout their baby and toddler yeras, try to keep meal times, play time and rest time as routine as possible. Children raised with routine and rules feel very protected and stable, because they know their boundaries.
As adults, we are required to adhere to many rules. From arriving to work on time, not speeding or drink driving and the list goes on. How then, do we expect to raise great kids, who accept rules and do as they’re told, if they are not taught consequences.
My son had a habit of “forgetting” to do simple things I’d asked, mainly because he was in a hurry to play his games. I warned him that if I caught him playing games without chores being done, then he’d be banned for a week.
I expect it to be done. Well, I caught him out, and guess what. The ban went into place and he knew not to argue and apologised. Broke my heart to do it, because he’s a great kid, but a rule is a rule.
You might think that’s tough, but let me tell you, my kids think I’m nuts. We have loads of laughs and I use a lot of humour in my discipline methods and the things I say, but when they get the look, they know I mean business.
My favourite rule, that they still laugh about, is not disturbing me when I go to the bathroom. I am very quick in the shower and as you know, kids always come looking for you when you have something to do that doesn’t involve them. I’ve even heard of parents sitting their children on their laps while they’re on the toilet!
My kids were told not to come to the bathroom door unless they were sick or bleeding because if they weren’t, they would be by the time I finished with them! Sound tough?
To this day, I am never disturbed when I’m in the bathroom. Mind you, I don’t take ages in the bathroom.
One of my favourite authors is Dr Michael Carr-Gregg. I first heard him speak at a school event about raising teenage boys, and I was worried that I’d come home thinking I was too tough.
Well, was I excited when I realised he was almost a male version of me when it came to parenting. He is fabulous and full of humour even though his message is profound and serious.
Next week in How To Raise Great Kids, I’ll be covering more about the environment we create for our kids. In the meantime click on the books if you’d like to purchase them. I thoroughly recommend them.
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