How many of us can identify with this statement?
As parents, we naturally want the best for our children.
We want them to be successful in life, academics, and later, career. We want them to be successful in everything they do.
But what would happen if our children cannot achieve what we want them to succeed academically?
Is this the end? Will we get upset, angry, or disappointed with our children and ourselves?
We fear that our children may lag behind in their studies and skill development in this rapidly changing world. We ourselves can’t keep up with the changes we are experiencing every day! So what more can our children do?
By practising 8 parenting techniques that instil independence and proactive learning habits in our children, we can greatly help our children adapt to these rapid changes and keep up with their classmates.
Your Child’s Biggest Challenge.
Thankfully, most of the problems that cause your children to lag behind can be solved with the right strategies and the guidance of caring, supportive teachers.
However, there is one problem that cannot be solved with learning strategies and professional guidance alone.
The most common issue that can hinder a child’s progress is… the parents’ approach to raising their children.
Now, I am not saying that you are not a good parent.
In fact, you are such an amazing parent that you take time out of your busy schedule to learn how best you can help your child by reading this article. You are surely an honourable parent who wants to help and support your children the best way you can.
When we see our children struggle, we are tempted to scoop and wrap them up in a cocoon every time a challenging situation comes their way.
While shielding our children may help them avoid trouble and challenges in the short term, it trains them to depend entirely on their caretakers and us.
How will our children defend and take care of themselves without the presence of a guardian?
Overprotecting our children can also disrupt the progress made from learning strategies and it may contradict the guidance of professional educators, which may prevent your child from reaching their fullest potential. So if shielding our children is not the right way to raise them, what is the recommended alternative to help them grow successfully?
How to support your children the right way
Recall back to the first time your child walked on their feet.
How did your child learn how to walk? Did they learn by holding your hand throughout their entire training process? Did they succeed on their first try? Have they never fallen on their bellies when they were practising?
Most likely, your child started learning how to walk when you let them go.
Your child may have fallen countless times, but eventually, they managed to walk across the room and hug you.
To give our children the space to grow, we need to instil independence and responsibility in our children.
Responsibility is the ability to control and manage one’s own life, while independence is the ability to take responsibility for one’s life without unnecessary reliance on others.During my time as a senior principal, I have tried and tested numerous approaches to help preschool children gain independence. After 35 years of experience, with additional research from A.R. Parenting.com and The Centers for Parenting, I have found 8 approaches that are proven to help children thrive!
1. Don’t fear the “first” of everything that your children do.
We tend to feel anxious whenever our children do something new. We are scared that a challenge would be too difficult for the children to solve. We may believe that failure will devastate the child’s confidence.
But the thing is: it is natural for humans, especially children, to make mistakes
Set aside your fears! Allow your children failures and mistakes within a safe and supervised environment. When they do fail, be their facilitator to find solutions and guide them towards a solution.
With your guidance, they will become resilient problem solvers in the future!
2. Trust your child.
We need to stop thinking our children will fail and ‘fall’.
Making a mistake is not the end of the world. While mistakes may hurt, our children can build the resilience to try, try again.
In a safe, supervised environment, our children learn from their mistakes and understand how to do things with their own new and improved solutions. If we worry too much about their failure, we may fail to recognise their progress and successes.
Our children can do amazing things. So trust your child; they are more capable than you think.
3. Allow your child to choose for themselves.
If children constantly rely on parents to make decisions and solve all their problems, they will likely grow up with low self-esteem issues. This is because they will be entirely dependent on others to make decisions for them and are an ideal target for bullies.
Encourage children to make small decisions: what clothes to choose for a function, deciding on how much food they should put on their plates, and so on. If they are a little older, get them to decide what dishes the family should have for dinner or get them to decorate the house for holiday celebrations.
Compliment your child on their choices, even though it is may not be your personal choice. These little choices instil a sense of identity and success.
Through accumulated experiences, your child will also figure out how to make bigger and better decisions.
4. Give your children time to develop their life skills according to their level.
Even though children are exponentially fast learners, especially during their early years, it takes time for your child to learn and develop their skills.
If you are worried about your child’s progress, talk to your child’s teacher to find out what level your child is at, what skills and training they need to work on, and how you can continue to support them at home.
This advice will help you set realistic goals that are age and developmentally appropriate based on sound, professional advice.
From there, you can support your children by supervising their practice of the basics at home. Once they have mastered the basics, you build up the momentum and introduce new challenges as they grow older, based on the guidance of their teacher.
You should also space out their learning milestones so that they can learn at a comfortable yet challenging pace that won’t overwhelm them.
5. Be honest with your children.
Transparency and honesty are values that parents must have with their children.
Tell them if you are worried about something just as you expect them to tell you. It is okay to show your child your worries. With a growth mindset, you can manage these concerns in a positive direction without worrying your children.
If your child sees that their parents are dishonest and try to cover up something that is not right, your child will lose their trust and respect in you.
6. Let your children be children!
Exposure and learning about life are integral in growing up, but it can be stressful when parents expectations are enforced like corporate, key performance indexes.
When the fun and joy of learning is replaced with undue pressure and negative reinforcements, our children’s joy and passion will be lost.
In the end, we will have children who are good at memorising and studying but devoid of creativity, motivation and enthusiasm.
Let them have fun and play around. Children don’t need to grow up too fast; otherwise, they miss out on the joys of their childhood.
7. Discern where you need to draw the line
A children’s natural sense of curiosity and experimentation can lead to risky situations. However, we must also embrace that by allowing the child space to decide and fail, they will safely yield more valuable life lessons.
Parents need to know where to draw the line between caution and fear. This line can be tricky to determine: there are no hard and fast rules on where to draw the line because every child is different.
But a good rule of thumb is to provide enough guidance, discipline and teaching for the child to make informed decisions instead of impulsive ones.
It is better for children to learn consequences from wrong choices under the constructive criticism of a parent than to regret the irreversible mistakes committed in adulthood.
8. Teach your children the meaning of cause and effect to develop responsibility.
Teaching children to be considerate of others is the next step towards instilling responsibility in children.
Transitioning children from recipients to givers does not come naturally, especially when a child has benefited from all the love, care, and attention since birth.
Hence, it is up to us to teach our children how to be considerate and how one’s actions affect themselves and others.
Set limits and learn to say no.
Hold your child accountable for their actions and enforce consequences.
By showing and teaching how cause and effect can be influence by your children’s own decisions, they will understand how decisions affect their wellbeing and the wellbeing of others.
This realisation is the precursor to being responsible.
Responsibility and independence are two related qualities that help us succeed in adult life.
As parents, we need to have a balance between overmanaging our children and underparenting. This role takes years of practice! But with love, understanding and encouragement, our children will grow alongside us towards success no matter how young or old they are and be willing to move on.