“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 September 28, 2020
The Pros and Cons of Working from Home
At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.
Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.
One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.
When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.
So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.
Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day
This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.
Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.
When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.
Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity
One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.
Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.
An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.
When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.
Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day
Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.
We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.
By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.
Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment
While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.
I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.
You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.
Con #1: We Move a Lot Less
When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.
Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.
Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.
Con #2: Less Human Interaction
One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.
Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.
Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.
This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.
While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.
Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment
Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.
This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.
For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.
Con #4: Unique Distractions
Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.
For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.
To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.
Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.
We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.
More About Working From Home
- 10 Tips to Help You Be More Efficient Working From Home
- 7 Ways To Supercharge Your Productivity When You Work From Home
- 10 Work from Home Desks to Boost Your Productivity
Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com