The journey of parenthood is full of milestones and challenges - That's a fact, but what is the biggest challenge we go through as parents? No, it's not that our little Picasso’s treat the couch as a white canvas nor stepping on a small piece of lego (Ouch!)- It's giving up the disabling labels and building the self-esteem of your child.
Every child has a different personality; that's what makes each one of us unique in our own way. As parents we need to understand that raising a child is not a competition; it's all about understanding and accepting your child's decisions and moving on.
Let's discuss three key tips on how to give a child wings to fly!
1- Encourage all feelings.
Kids are no different than us. They get angry, sad, happy, jealous, scared, worried...etc. The way we deal with our kid's feelings will mostly determine the relationship we have with them.
When our kids are sad, accept it, ask them if they need a hug and listen to them carefully. There is no need to take their negative feelings personally and start lecturing them about right and wrongs or what to do and not to do -Let's face it, that makes you feel better, but it makes them feel worse (Which is kinda selfish).
2- Listen and help out.
It's not as easy as it sounds. If listening to something that challenges your belief system makes you mad, you need to learn how to become a good listener.
When your child feels like sharing some stories with you, make time for them and focus on their perspective, try to communicate and help out with a piece of advice if they ask to, and always (I mean ALWAYS) respect their feelings and actions.
Avoiding control and stress when you are having a moment with your kid strengthens the parent-child bond and builds trust. When kids find appreciation and respect from you, they will respond with appreciation, respect and listen to you in return.
3- Talk to your kids like adults.
The way we talk to our kids really matters. We have all heard that talking to our kids like adults makes them smarter, but is smartness the only reason to do so?
One morning while I was grabbing my morning Starbucks coffee, I noticed a table where a father and his two kids, a 9-years old and a 5-years old, were having their drinks and casually chatting (and no the kids were not drinking coffee :). I couldn't help but smile at the warmth of that moment.
Having back and forth conversations with our children not only builds valuable trust but also enhances their confidence and problem-solving abilities.
In the end, remember labels are just for jars, not people. Offer your kids the opportunity to be themselves and don't force them to behave in a certain way just because it's labeled 'right' by society; The consequences of doing this are damaging for their personality and the relationship they have with us as parents.
As a friend of mine always says; You don't want your children seeing themselves through the eyes of people.