“Too much love never spoils children.
Children become spoiled when
We substitute presents for presence.”
Dr. Anthony P. Witham
There are a lot of children who have problems with their behavior. Is your child one of them? If your answer is ‘Yes’, you should deal with this problem and pay more attention to your relationship. After all, your goal as a parent is not to instill fear or to show her who is the boss. Every devoted parent tries to be better every single day and to help the child develop into a self-confident and successful human being.
Raising a happy child is one of the most rewarding and challenging jobs in the life of every parent. That means that your parental duty is to help your child and encourage her with kindness, empathy, self-control, honesty, cheerfulness, and cooperation. Promote her intellectual motivation and curiosity and protect your kid from eating disorders, antisocial behavior, or drug and alcohol abuse.
Let’s see what the basic principles are for parents who want raise the happy and good-behaved child.
Table of Contents
- Establish rules
- Love your child
- Be involved in the life of your child
- Keep in mind that all severe problems start in teenage years, but they could be solved in toddler’s years. It seems a little bit confusing, but you should think twice!
- Encourage your child’s achievements
- Encourage your child independence
- Talk to your child and support her. Don’t push!
- Teach your child to appreciate others
Whether you like it or not, you should establish the rules. It is the one of those ‘must do’ things. You merely have to do it if you want to be a good parent of a healthy child. Start with asking the child to behave politely to people, or to finish their part of housework. Ask the child to do daily tasks in accordance with her age such as laying the table, tidying her room, or cleaning the table after a meal. All of that will bring a sense of responsibility in your kid’s life and make her a better person.
On the other hand, always keep in mind that things which are evident for you are not always obvious to the child. Sometimes children need to get instructions how to do something in the desired way. Teach your child to respect your rules, but avoid extreme rigidity.
Believe or not, children are not against clear rules. They make their lives easier and help them develop a sense of self-control. The problem is if you change your own rules depending on your current mood. Be consistent in your demands. If you change your own rules on a daily basis, your kid’s misbehavior will be your fault, not her. Right?
You should tell your child what you consider as right and wrong and what you expect from her. It is reasonable to enforce discipline until you leave a kid enough space to be an independent person. Banning them watching TV more than two hours per day or forbidding them going out to play in case of their misbehavior will not make you the bad parent. On the contrary!
But, to make things entirely clear, I have to say that you should avoid harsh discipline. Any verbal abuse or physical punishment which may seriously harm your child’s self-esteem may make your child adopt aggression as a way of life forever.
Well, I was raised by my grandparents, and they never beat me even though I was very independent and stubborn child who was refusing to impose on her someone else’s will. On the other hand, my brother was beaten by our father as a child. Today, I am a woman who got University degree. I speak a few foreigner languages; have my own family, and a job I love. My brother left his high school and still has been working a physical work which hates. He is an alcoholic who has three beautiful children and beat them as his father beaten him. During his whole life, he is much subjected to other people’ influence too.
I do not beat my child, and she is neither disobedient nor spoiled. I don’t want for her such horrible patterns my nieces have. I can’t tell you how to behave yourselves, but you should consider what is more important for your child – to be an unquestionably obedient and unconfident person, or successful and a good man.
Love your child
You are not perfect, and you shouldn’t expect your child to be perfect either. Both of you are unique individuals with your own will and your job as a parent is not to break your child’s will. You need to direct her in the right direction. There is a difference, you see. The rule above all rules is to love your child because she exists, not for her achievements or tasks she fulfills. You mustn’t say ‘I won’t love you if you don’t finish..do..make..get..win’.. Come on! Put yourself in her shoes. How do you think that a child could be self-confident and secure when you treat her in that way?
Determining the child’s code of conduct or your refusing to permit child’s arrogant and rude behavior is not connected with love. The secret is that the child has to understand that you love her no matter what, but that you won’t tolerate inappropriate behavior. Maybe it sounds like cliché but, believe me, the ultimate truth is that your love will shape your kid’s personality and make the bond between you much stronger.
However, some experts think that it is possible to overload a kid with ‘too much love’. I am not sure about that. Yes, children must understand that their parents won’t met every of demands they have, especially the unreasonable ones, but what does love have to do with it?
For those who don’t understand me, there is the first paragraph. Read it again! Don’t mix establishing rules with love! I firmly believe that it is completely impossible to spoil your kid with ‘too much’ love. Actually, there is no such thing as ‘too much love’ at all. Love will make children happy, self-confident and honest. Rules will make them organized, well-mannered and responsible. Mixed, they will give the healthy, compassionate, and open-minded human being to this world who will respect others and who will become a successful adult in every possible way.
Please, remember the simple fact! A spoiled child is never the result of too much love but the consequence of giving her material things in exchange for love.
Be involved in the life of your child
Whenever you spend time with your child, you should be really and completely present not only physically, but also mentally. Your child needs to know that you genuinely care about her and her needs. On the other hand, it is essential for you as a parent to know what new and important things are happening in your child’s life.
Don’t let yourself the possibility that you have no time for your child because it will get back to you very quickly in the very nasty way. Your baby will grow up faster than you can imagine and she will become a teenager almost overnight. When it starts to be necessary for you to know what it’s going on in your child life, and when you have to check if she is fallen into trouble, it may happen that your child will become inaccessible for you.
Keep in mind that all severe problems start in teenage years, but they could be solved in toddler’s years. It seems a little bit confusing, but you should think twice!
If you sow good seeds while children are small and teach them to distinguish good from evil and acceptable behavior from bad ones, these lectures will become a part of their personality. Such things can’t be forgotten, and they will have good foundations later which will prevent them from getting into trouble in the most painful years of life.
Encourage your child’s achievements
Do you have a clue how much your encouragement means to your child? Sometimes a few basic statements like ‘It’s excellent!’, ‘Well done!’, and ”How nice!’ can make a difference. Remember how praises affect you. For a child, it is even more significant. Ultimately, you are her parent, and each of your approval has its weight and importance.
In many situations, you will see how your approval makes your kid blossom into a confident and secure individual. Encouraging is always more important than criticism. If you criticize your child, you show her that she is wrong and more criticism leads to lack of self-confidence. More support and encouragement lead to building self-confidence. That means, if you find an adequate measure between two of them, your child will learn to realize the difference between acceptable and wrong behavior without losing her personality and self-consciousness.
In front of their parent children should have the freedom to make mistakes and to fail sometimes. It is not a shame. Mistakes are only a part of the process of growing up. Children will learn from mistakes they make. If you punish your child every time she makes a mistake, she will start to be scared to try anything new. Let a kid learn by making a mess. Only warn her about things that could hurt her.
Praise your children every time she does something nice no matter how ordinary and irrelevant it is in your eyes. For them, every simple thing including winning a baseball game, the second place in the competition for the most beautiful song, cleaning the wardrobe, or tidying a room is something extraordinary. Applauding her is not the hard thing for you to do, but your kid will be convinced that work something important and significant. You will see, it will help her to develop her personality better.
Pay attention! For you, something like ‘You are not capable enough’ or ‘You cannot do that right’ maybe sounds encouraging, but for the kid, this will not be a challenge. It will negatively mar your child’s personality. Believe me; your undoubted support will help her more.
Encourage your child independence
Foster your child’s independence. Believe me or not, it is significant for your child. It will make a difference between a free-spirited and an incapable man. Why would you insist on unconditional obedience? Your child should learn how to make essential decisions on their own, not to become depended on someone else’s opinion.
Let your child have a voice and her own choices. Discuss other ways to handle problems and allow her to have some say in her own life. In that way, she will feel that she has power. Brainstorming will let the child put forward her own ideas and learn how to find solutions to future complicated tasks.
And, don’t make a common mistake. You don’t need to do things for your kid. For example, a child has to finish their homework on their own. You should look through it once she ends it, of course, but if you complete a project instead of her, you will only motivate her to be a non-working and lazy person.
Also, the independence is not the same thing as disobedience or rebelliousness. Being a ‘Rebel without a cause’ is interesting only in the Hollywood movie. If you have no desire your child to be like a miserable character played by James Dean in that movie, avoid mistakenly equate these things. Feeling independence is the important part of human nature, and you should expect that your child will push for it. No one wants to feel controlled by other people including their parents.
Talk to your child and support her. Don’t push!
Talk to your child from the first day of her life. Your voice will be the guidance for your child. Talk to other people in front of the child. Talking will make her learn a language. Read to her stories even you believe that she won’t understand them. Give her time. Avoid using the computer, TV, or PlayStation. They are not a babysitter, and they can’t help a child learn the adequate language and improve a vocabulary.
Listen to your child. Give her an opportunity to respond. Let her communicate in the way she can at that moment, depending on her age. If you use ‘Shut up’ instead of listening, you will teach her that you have no time for her and that you do not care of her opinion at all. The only thing you will achieve over time is that she will feel shame for her feelings and emotions.
Whether your child is good at sport, singing, learning foreign languages, dancing, or writing, encourage her. It is nice if she has a wide variety of interests but, please! I am talking about HER interests, not yours. If she is interested in some activities, it will help her get extra knowledge and develop varied viewpoints. If you force her to spend all day long dealing with all the activities that came to your mind, it is the matter of time when she will give up on all of it. The crucial thing is that she has to follow her own interests not to fulfill your ambitions.
Teach your child to appreciate others
Learning to appreciate others both elders and peers around is a vital lesson. Your child must understand that other people whoever they are should be treated politely and adequately. Otherwise, your kid may grow up in a conviction that she is better than others and avoid respecting other people. Why would you think that it could be good for your child to teach her that someone is an irrelevant and less valuable person only because other nations, religion, skin color, gender, age, or level of education? Nope. It will just teach her to be narrow-minded and vain.
Be sure that she will follow your steps. If you misbehave with your spouse, friends, and family members, your child will pick up that way of behaving from you. If you spend time gossiping and using bad words in different situations and in the relationship with other people, it is very likely that your kid will do the same.
One more thing – avoid comparing your child to anyone else. Children are sensitive about their parents’ opinions. If you tell your kid that she is less valuable than some other child, you will achieve one of two things. You will crush her self-confidence and get an insecure and unhappy child. Worse option is that your attitude causes aggression. If you constantly keep repeating ‘Why aren’t you as good – smart – beautiful – pure – successful as your friend?’ the only thing you will get is developing intolerance and anger towards that other child.
All in all, try to remember that your child should learn the basic things from you. If you fail, she will find another role model in her life. Too often it is not a model that you would like for your child. Therefore, be careful. Always carefully mind on which way you behave and what do you say in front of your child.
The secret is in a right balance of strictness and gentleness. If things were not so complicated, there would be no need for dozens of books on parent-child relationships. Right?