Technology has brought all sorts of conveniences and possibilities before us – things that our great-grandparents would have simply been amazed to see. However, one thing that technology will never be able to simplify is the process of helping children learn to grow up into adults who take care of their obligations and behave with maturity and civility in all areas of their lives. In this article, we discuss some ways that parents can teach children the right way of living, just by going back to some of the basics of child-rearing that were once a given but now have almost vanished from modern culture.
The Family That Eats Together, Learns Manners Together
There was a time when families would sit down at a table in the evenings and eat dinner together. Of course, that was also a time when many women did not have to work outside the home, and so they had time to prepare a meal for their husbands and children, instead of rushing home from a job of their own. In more modern times, when both spouses are much more likely to have jobs outside the home, neither parent wants to go to the extra effort of slaving over a hot stove to cook, and no one feels like cleaning up afterward.
However, there are ways for families to still enjoy this time together instead of rushing through a drive-thru on the way home or heating up a frozen pizza and then plopping down on the couch, watching whatever is fresh on the queue from Netflix.
When families sit down at a table and eat together and they talk about the day that they had, they learn to know one another. Children will feel the love when you start caring for them, learn proper table manners, and also learn the art of conversation. As simple as it is, through this way you can avoid irresponsible teenagers that get into doing the wrong things and hang out with the wrong people. When you just talk to each other while hopping in and out of the car or in passing in the hallways of your home, you just get those one-word answers that tell you nothing.
Deep conversations enrich family relationships. And they teach valuable social skills.
Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child
Long ago, corporal punishment was a part of every child’s life growing up.
I’m definitely not saying that physical abuse is something that should ever happen. However, there is an age in a child’s life when spanking is not only appropriate, but is the best way to teach obedience. When a child reaches adolescence then the time for corporal punishment has passed. At that point, the child has already formed his or her morals and ethics on a basic level.
However, in early childhood, the fear that a spanking could be the result of an action is a healthy one. At that age, children are not ready for complex moral reasoning, but knowing that doing something that they want to do, but that they know is wrong, can be counteracted with the notion that physical punishment will result. It is a quicker, more visceral punishment than taking away a smartphone or a handheld video game system. Likewise, it inculcates through their minds that sense of instant obedience is far more important than a fear of grounding.
Support Your Child’s Dreams and Watch Them Flourish
Raising a child so that he or she becomes a mature and civil adult isn’t that easy. Honestly, it takes more than just setting rules and administering discipline. Children need structure in order to flourish and grow. Nevertheless, structure is not all that they need. If you think about a tomato vine and how it grows, then you get a sense of how this process works. When you first plant a tomato vine, it needs a trellis or other support system in order to spread out and start developing. The structure that you provide for your child gives him or her the framework of limits in which development can take place safely.
With a tomato vine, there comes a point where the vine starts to go its own way along the trellis, spreading out in multiple directions and becoming even stronger. Once your child has achieved the maturity that will thrive under full independence, it is time to let go.
Understanding when it is time to extend trust is important. Children want structure, but they also want you to trust them, so when you see that your child is ready for that trust, you have to be prepared to extend that trust to them. That gives them the freedom to pursue their dreams and it also gives you the perspective to watch them blossom into the successful adults that you always knew they could become.