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11 Things You Must Do To Avoid Crippling Your Child

11 Things You Must Do To Avoid Crippling Your Child

I know how you feel. I know that creeping doubt in your mind that eats at you, asking whether the things you do to your child will harm him in some way.

There is so much information out there about child-rearing but honestly, it misses the mark. Somewhere there MUST be some true information that will explain what is happening in the parent/child relationship that will help it all make sense.

There are some basic misunderstandings that parents have and once you clear them up, you will have a better understanding of your child. And it is understanding that makes relationships work.

1. Realize who your child is.

Have you heard this quote? “You are a ghost driving a meat covered skeleton made from stardust. What do you have to be scared of?”

I don’t know who said it. It is a big mystery but it has been circulating wildly around the internet and it resonates with people because there is truth to the statement.

Somewhere along the way, the idea surfaced that we are all animals, born from meat and bones and basically just meat-bags rolling around doing what animalistic meat-bags do. This is a relatively new and highly degrading viewpoint that leads to confusion in human relations.

This explanation simply doesn’t fly. If it did, the methods that we have been sold to help us understand and handle our children correctly would work and they don’t. Methods only work when your basic information is correct.

In the beginning, your child is someone who has recently woken up in a brand new, tiny body not knowing anything about this body and how it works. His first days and weeks are spent trying to figure out, where he is, what is happening, what his body is, and what does he have to do to make it work?

The following weeks are spent figuring out which muscles allow him to raise his head, move his fingers and what groups of muscles he must use to turn over and do a million other combinations of movements that will move his body the way he wants it to move.

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He has no way of communicating other than crying, so he cannot communicate effectively with you or anyone else. This is a huge source of frustration for him.

As he grows, he must learn the laws of the physical universe such as gravity. He has no idea that when he lets go of his balloon string, it will fly away. He struggles to make sense of this because he let go of his apple last week and it fell down. All he had to do was pick it up again.

Why does the balloon fly away when the apple doesn’t?

Everything he does in the physical universe is subject to these laws and they seem to contradict each other at times. Additionally, once he gets used to his body being a certain size, it changes and he has to figure it out all over again. This continues until he is grown.

On top of that, at a certain age, his body starts going overboard manufacturing hormones which greatly affect his emotions. Suddenly he seems to have no control over them and thinks he is going crazy. It is a very confusing time.

Children are not small animals. They are more aware than any science has ever taught us. The calculations they must make to get used to the body, hold a knife and fork and use their mouths to form words are staggering. Yet somehow they figure it out and get themselves up and moving.

2. Understand that your child is bombarded with way too much information every day.

From learning how things work, to acquiring a language, to understanding how people interact, your child has so much random information thrown at him every day that sometimes it is too much.

When I was in my teens I lived in Belgium and I was enrolled in a French school where no English was spoken. Every day, I did my best to keep up and every night I went to bed with my head swimming with French phrases and school subjects that I now had to learn in another language.

Additionally, the culture was different. I was mortified every time I did something socially incorrect. It was one of the most difficult times in my life. I had melt downs, but I had them in private.

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Children don’t do that. Sometimes they have their melt downs in the middle of the grocery store. Understand where that frustration comes from and be patient and loving when your child has had enough.

3. Create areas of agreement with your child.

The creation of areas of agreement by communicating with your child is a very profitable tool in the creation of a good relationship that lasts a lifetime.

This entails listening to your child when he talks to you about things that are important to him. It doesn’t matter whether you feel his ideas are important to you or not. If you make him feel that his interests are stupid, petty or not worth noticing, you are creating areas of disagreement and creating an upset child.

Let him talk to you about his video games and his friends. Let your daughter talk to you about her favorite stories. If you do this and take a real interest in what they are talking to you about, you create bonds.

4. Do not talk to your child in a way you would not talk to an adult.

Children are adults in training. They are little interns in the subject of life, learning what they need to know to get by. Despite what some “experts” may tell you, they are not born stupid or bad. They are really trying their best every day to make you proud.

If you comment in a positive way about the things they do, you will see that they start to do them more and more. Kids and even adults will do more of what they are complimented on. If you ignore most bad behavior and compliment good behavior, you will get more good behavior.

If an adult were communicated to in the way many children are communicated to, he or she would be furious and rightfully so! Children do not like being treated poorly any more than adults, and if you want a good bond with your child you will not insult or belittle him.

Listen to yourself and see if your words would be offensive if someone else were saying them to you. If so, choose different words.

5. Do not take your child on errands when he is tired or hungry.

If you do this you are begging for a melt down.

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Do you remember the last time you were in a grocery store, tired and hungry? Were you frustrated? If you had the chance to grab something off the shelf and eat it right then, would you have? Honestly, I have almost done so in the cookie aisle a few times.

That brings me to my next point, feed yourself before you go! Don’t go around tired and hungry. You need to keep your spirits up when raising a child. Take good care of yourself so that you have energy and patience to give to your child.

6. Teach your child compassion by being compassionate.

Compassion is simply being willing to take another’s viewpoint when he or she is suffering. If your child is upset, there is a reason. He is tired, hungry, suffered a loss or had an upset somewhere along the line. To him, these are terrible things.

He needs someone to hold him and agree that whatever occurred to him was ‘sucky.’ This agreement alone will make him feel better. Don’t point out what he did wrong or tell him what he should have done differently, just agree that it sucked. That is all it takes.

Children who are treated with love and patience tend to be more compassionate than those who have been pulled and hauled around, yelled at, and belittled.

7. Teach your child to be compassionate to pets and all life forms.

Let him know that animals have feelings and emotions and need love and care. He needs to understand that as a person, he has a duty to ensure that all living beings are cared for.

Let him see you help other people and say nice things about the people around you when your child is present. Indicate that people are mostly good and say nice things about them making them more real to your child. He will grow up with the idea that he is one of them.

If you say bad things about your neighbors, you give him the idea that he is different and they are inferior. This idea will hold him back in life and cause confusion in his mind about how to deal with others.

8. Don’t pass your issues to your child.

I once knew a woman who had an eating disorder and badgered her daughter so much that her daughter almost became anorexic. Understand that your demons are your demons and do not pass them along to your child.

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Manage your stress so that you don’t explode in anger around him. Take care of yourself so that you can care for him happily and without strain.

9. Never say or do anything that would make your child think that he is stupid.

When a child hears that he is stupid over and over again from a parent, sooner or later he will agree. When that happens, you have ruined him. Nothing is more crippling to a child than his own belief that he is stupid or cannot learn.

10. Understand when your child owns something, it is his to direct or control as he sees fit.

If you give your child something or if he earns it, understand that it is now his to do with as he pleases. I know there is a big deal about “sharing” in this society, but consider this concept. How would you feel if you recently purchased a nice new car and your boss forced you to “share it” with your co-workers. Or what if you bought a new pair of shoes that you love and you find your sister wearing them. When you protested, everyone told you that you were bad because you didn’t know how to share? Would you be upset?

Where did this idea come from? If you have something, it is yours. You can let someone use it if you want to but it is up to you. Why do we force our children to share their things? How could we think that this concept would be ok with them when we would be upset if it were forced on us?

11. Defend your child.

Never take others’ words when they criticize your child. People say things to cover themselves; and it is easier to blame a child than to take the heat when they mess up.

As an example, when my son was four years old, he was waiting outside of the classroom for his daycare provider who was late. The school secretary told all kids to get on the bus without checking to see if my son should have even been on that bus. My son did as he was told. At the end of the line, the bus driver told him to get out. No one was there to pick him up and he was left at a bus stop miles away from school in a sketchy part of town until another mother saw him and brought him back to school.

For over half an hour I had no idea where he was. I was sure he was gone. When I confronted school officials and the daycare provider about this huge blunder that almost cost me my child, they had the gall to blame my four-year-old son. They told me he should have known that he wasn’t supposed to be on that bus.

I learned the school had lost another kid the week before, nobody was upset, and in the end he was found. In the end, I was told that my son needed to work on his “refusal skills.”

Of all of the school officials and people who should have taken responsibility, the kindergarten teacher called me to apologize. The rest blamed my four-year-old son. Obviously this is an abomination but the attitude of complete abdication of responsibility is epidemic in every public school I have come into contact with.

Your child is the most precious thing you will ever have. He is an adult in a small and unfamiliar body forced into a universe that is completely new to him. He is not stupid. He has feelings and ideas from day one. He remembers things and he can be affected by negative behavior from the moment he is born.

And he places his absolute trust and love in YOU. Keep these things in mind as you interact with him. Knowing and recognizing your child for who he is, is the missing step in fully understanding him and raising him in a way that will be healthy and happy for you both.

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Last Updated on September 30, 2020

How to Live a Stress Free Life in a Way Most People Don’t

How to Live a Stress Free Life in a Way Most People Don’t

Learning how to live a stress free life may seem impossible, but the truth is that there are specific things you can do to begin eliminating sources of stress.

No, it doesn’t look like a made-for-television movie. No, it doesn’t look like something only people with extra time and money can do. It looks like your life—but without any self-created stress triggers.

Here are 11 ways to help you live a stress-free life:

1. Stop Overanalyzing Situations That Haven’t Happened

The first step to living a stress-free life is to stop overanalyzing imaginary scenarios. It’s easy to spend time in the world of worst-case scenarios. People tend to cultivate this world for one of two reasons.

First, because if you know what the worst-case scenario is, then it won’t surprise you when it happens. Second, if you know what the worst-case scenario is, then you can do everything in your power to control the universe so the worst case never happens.

If that’s really the world you want to cultivate, then become a professional risk assessor. If not, then ask yourself how you are benefiting from continuing to live that way.

Does it make you feel better about yourself and your life? Does it make you want to leap out of bed in the morning, eager to embrace the worst-case scenario? Does it bring you joy or fulfillment?

If your answer to these three questions is no, then stop living in the future and bring yourself back into the present.

2. Don’t Take on Other People’s Problems

The whole advantage of other people having problems is that they aren’t your problems. When you frequently take on other people’s problems, you get into the habit of enabling.

Let’s get crystal clear about the definition of enabling: enabling is the art of continuing to take responsibility for other people, thereby disallowing their personal responsibility[1].

It is of no service to other people to take on their problems because they can’t/won’t/don’t know how to fix the problem.

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It is of service to empower others to take responsibility for themselves and their lives, to encourage, teach, and motivate others to address their own problems. So stop enabling, and start empowering.

3. Get Present in the Moment

Being present in the moment involves being in your body and feeling your feelings—two things that lots of folks actually don’t know how to do.

Ask yourself these two questions: What does fear feel like in your body? What are you afraid of?

If you don’t know the answer to these questions, you probably aren’t present in the moment. Being present involves vulnerability, humility, and openness[2].

How to live a stress free life by being present

    The past and the future stop being so relevant and intriguing when you’re able to get in your body and feel your feelings. When you can do these two things, you actually want to be in the present moment.

    To get started, close your eyes, focus on your breathing, and watch your stress levels drop. Then, try these tips: How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying.

    4. Focus on What You Have, Not What You Don’t

    The easiest way to stop focusing on what you don’t have is by not watching TV commercials. Marketing teaches us to focus on what we don’t have, and advertising campaigns spend millions of dollars convincing us that we must have what we don’t yet have.

    Can you think of a marketing campaign that teaches you to enjoy what you already have without buying something to enhance it? Odds are you can’t.

    In a world dictated by Super Bowl commercials and Facebook ads, it takes stalwart focus to recognize what you have more than what you don’t. If you want a stress-free life now, get stalwart, and stop letting other people dictate your focus.

    In order to do this, try cultivating a gratitude practice to help refocus your mind toward what is good in your life. You can get started with this guide.

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    5. Stop Surrounding Yourself With People Who Don’t Make You Happy

    Honestly, what kind of people do you really like to be around with? People who get you, who see you clearly, who accept your flaws and all; people you can be yourself with; people who have shared interests?

    How many of those people are in your life? What characteristics do all of the other people in your life have?

    If you find that the people in your life aren’t adding anything positive, it may be time to make some changes. If you find that other relationships you have are downright toxic, start working to cut out those relationships immediately.

    6. Find a Job That Makes You Feel Good

    You don’t have to stay at a job just because it pays the bills. Most people spend more time working than sleeping. The average person spends 40 to 80 hours a week—or 2,000 to 4,000 hours a year—working. That is a significant investment!

    If your best friend or child told you that they were going to spend 4,000 hours giving their emotional, mental, and physical energy to something (or someone) that wasn’t going to value them, give anything back to them, or pay them what they were worth, what advice would you offer? Give that same advice to yourself. You won’t be stress-free unless you don’t learn this[3].

    Here’re 11 Signs That You Should Leave Your Job.

    7. Only Take on What You Can Handle

    Busyness is an addiction. Slowing down can actually be terrifying because it causes you to notice that you have feelings that you now have time to feel.

    I get it.

    By the time I slowed down, I had decades of busyness under my belt. I went into a tailspin depression because I didn’t understand how to be in the right relationship with my own emotions.

    When I finally figured out that feelings are just feelings and allowing them to express themselves is healthy and natural, I stopped experiencing withdrawal from my addiction to busyness and started figuring out the pace of life that felt best for me.

    Remarkably, I discovered that I don’t actually like being busy. What will you discover about yourself?

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    8. Let Go of Grudges and Anger

    For me, it took 20 years of adulthood to figure out that holding on to grudges and anger only hurt me. Lucky for you, though, you can benefit vicariously from my experience just by reading one short paragraph!

    No one is holding your feet to the fire, demanding that you hold on to grudges and anger. The energy of anger slowly eats away at your body, mind, and spirit, until one day you wake up more resentful than optimistic.

    One day, people no longer want to be around you because the stink of negativity is oozing out of your pores. One day, you even get tired of hearing yourself get angry. And the person or people you are angry at or holding grudges against probably haven’t been affected at all.

    Who gets hurt the most in that process of repeating negative thoughts? You do.

    Some good advice for you here: How to Let Go of Resentment and Anger

    9. Stop Reliving Your Past

    To live a stress-free life, you have to stop reliving your past. I know it seems like fun to compare everything in your present to your past, and to experience the present through past-colored glasses, but it actually isn’t.

    When you wear past-colored glasses, you can’t truly experience the present for what it is. Your boyfriend or girlfriend gets compared to a list of expectations and failed relationships rather than recognized for the unique blessing they are in your life.

    Your boss gets compared to all the bosses who came before her/him. Your friends’ ability to parent gets compared to your parents’ ability to parent.

    People, including you, deserve to stand on their own past-free merit.

    10. Don’t Complain About Things You Can’t Change

    There are always going to be people elected into office whom you don’t like, taxes that you don’t want to pay, idiot drivers who refuse to move out of the left-hand lane, and a person ahead of you in the check-out line who won’t stop chatting with the clerk.

    The great benefit of being human is that we get to experience all of what life offers us. To live stress-free is to learn to deal with this fact.

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    Dwelling on your frustration with something that can’t be changed doesn’t do anything other than drag you down. You are the only person who will ultimately decide how to respond to what is.

    11. Stop Living Through Other People’s Lives

    Someone else’s life is not your life. Your life is your life.

    What that means is you get to live your life in the way you want. You get to make ridiculous mistakes, take leaps of faith, and stuff things inside your handbag of fear just as much as the next person.

    Going through stuff is the whole great messy adventure of being human! Being alive and living life is terrifying and glorious and everything in between.

    Stop living through social media, trying to soak in all of the experiences everyone else is having. Focus, instead, on what it feels like to be you in this moment. You may find you like it.

    Final Thoughts

    An astounding thing happens when you reduce stress and anxiety, get into a relationship with your body, mind, and spirit, and just be yourself without judgment.

    Your life literally slows down. You stop wishing for the weekend. You begin to live in each moment, and you start feeling like a human being. You just ride the wave that is life, with this feeling of contentment and joy.

    You move fluidly, steadily, calmly, and gratefully. A veil is lifted, and a whole new perspective is born through improved mental health. And this is how you live a stress-free life.

    More Tips on How to Live a Stress-Free Life

    Featured photo credit: Drew Coffman via unsplash.com

    Reference

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