“It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves, that will make them successful human beings.” – Anne Landers
Good parenting means that you are in it for the long haul. Think of sound, long term investments: they pay off handsomely. When we do that and avoid certain mistakes, the chances of our kids turning into decent, caring, and well balanced adults are much higher. Here are 5 parenting mistakes to avoid.
1. Making life easier for kids
The problem here is that kids may rarely experience frustration, disappointment or anxiety. This basically means that as they face adulthood, they are ill equipped for the ups and downs that life, work and relationships will inevitably bring.Advertising
When they fail in a test or their team loses, we should be there to encourage and support, not prevent these things happening. Let us concentrate on the tools we can give them to cope with setbacks. Psychologist Madeline Levine says that we have to let toddlers fall when learning to walk. That policy has to continue as kids grow up and face other challenges.
2. Being careless about remarks
John Chirban, psychology instructor, at the Harvard Medical School has warned about careless remarks. Negative judgements or comments can have a lasting, harmful impact. Imagine the fallout from hurtful, uncaring and harsh remarks. These can adversely affect a child’s development and hurt his/her self esteem. Parents have to watch what they say and also be careful about body language.
3. Parents overpraise and overshare
This is the other side of the coin to being hurtful and insensitive to a child’s needs and worries. Here, parents tend to exaggerate with praise and they rarely praise the effort but tell the child that s/he is really smart, cute, good at sports and so on.Advertising
According to research done at Stanford University, praising effort rather than talent in 1-3 year olds pays off. Five years later, they seem to be better able to cope with challenges and are more motivated.
Kids tend to overshare on Facebook too, which is another way of inflating the child’s ego. These kids are at risk of becoming unproductive, incompetent adults according to some experts.
Parents often tend to brush bad behaviour under the carpet. This is the perfect recipe for children learning how to lie and cheat to get out of difficult situations, rather than taking responsibility for their actions.Advertising
4. Children are never at risk
“We mustn’t wrap our children in cotton wool, but allow them to play outside so as to better understand the opportunities and challenges in the world around them, and how to be safe.” – Ed Balls , Member of Parliament, UK.
There is an interesting article which explores the area of how many risks children should take while playing. Learning to take risks means gaining confidence but also learning about limits and boundaries. This has been echoed in the UK where the emphasis on allowing children to play safely outdoors is an integral part of the government’s Fair Play project. This project emphasises the need for kids to take risks and to learn how to manage them. This is a crucial element of growing up.
In one survey of 7- 12 year olds in the UK, over 50% said that they had been banned from climbing trees as it was considered to be too dangerous.Advertising
5. Parents are unable to stop children nagging
Many parents are forced to give in to a child’s nagging when they want something. If we give in, the child learns that persistent nagging really does work and it will ruin any efforts for imposing consequences and setting boundaries later on.
I really like the solution in the Positive Discipline books written by Lynn Lott. The second time the child starts to nag with the same request, just say three words, “Asked and Answered”.
You can then explain that the question has already been asked and answered. You can even repeat what the child first asked and then repeat your answer, just to make it crystal clear! Now this saves you tons of time, you do not have to start nagging yourself or even start lecturing. You just establish this technique and be consistent in using it.
Parents are often seen taking the easy, fast way out but they are sowing the seeds for more and more trouble later on. Well worth investing in the tried and tested solutions above.
Featured photo credit: Catched kid/ Jordie Alvarez via flickr.com
Last Updated on January 21, 2020
The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want
Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.
Why You Need a Vision
Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.
How to Create Your Life Vision
Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.
What Do You Want?
The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.
It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.
Some tips to guide you:
- Remember to ask why you want certain things
- Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
- Give yourself permission to dream.
- Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
- Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.
Some questions to start your exploration:
- What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
- What would you like to have more of in your life?
- Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
- What are your secret passions and dreams?
- What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
- What do you want your relationships to be like?
- What qualities would you like to develop?
- What are your values? What issues do you care about?
- What are your talents? What’s special about you?
- What would you most like to accomplish?
- What would legacy would you like to leave behind?
It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.
What Would Your Best Life Look Like?
Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.
A few prompts to get you started:
- What will you have accomplished already?
- How will you feel about yourself?
- What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
- What does your ideal day look like?
- Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
- What would you be doing?
- Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
- How are you dressed?
- What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
- What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
- Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.
It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next step. Give yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.
It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.
- What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
- What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
- What would you have needed to learn along the way?
- What important actions would you have had to take?
- What beliefs would you have needed to change?
- What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
- What type of support would you have had to enlist?
- How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
- What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?
Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.
It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.
Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com