Today, parents want their children to be the best. To be at the top of life’s game. They strive to make them little geniuses but forget to teach them the essential skills necessary for navigating the daily challenges of life. When kids grow up having to be what their parents want them to be they lose out on finding who they really are and how to find their way around.
Parents need to first focus on teaching skills which are crucial for living a happy life rather than making them experts in subjects that don’t really add to their innate sense of mastery. Here are the essentials for every kid to learn.
1) Teach them it’s okay to make mistakes
When your child knows it’s okay to mess up, he is freed from the fear of failing. He will become daring and want to explore and try out new things. Don’t shame them, or laugh at their mistakes. Don’t discuss their failing with anyone else at least, not within earshot of your child. Sometimes, a child learns without being told I told you so.
I remember the time I burnt my dress using a very hot iron, I was afraid to tell my mom. But wisely, when she discovered my transgression. She just said ‘I was wondering why you did not wear that dress.” I never ever put a hot iron to an outfit without first testing the hotness of the iron.
2) Teach Them To Clean Up
They need to know that whatever they do, their experiments or their toys or books need to be put in it’s place. That there is cleaning up to do after one eats, bathes, washes or uses the toilet. They have to learn that messes don’t clear themselves out. We need to do the dirty work ourselves.
3) Teach them to respect themselves and others
Encourage them to decide whether they want to wear a blue dress or the pink one. Let them decide if them want to play with someone, share their toys or give uncle a hug. When they learn about boundaries early in life they are not guilted into making choices that are detrimental later. Also, they need to understand just as they are autonomous beings, everyone else is too. Cooperation and sharing work both ways. All healthy relationships should have equal serve and return.
4) Teach them how to handle difficult emotions
A common mistake parents make when children throw a tantrum is to shut them down. This happens because parents are triggered by their child’s anger and rage. It is critical that they learn how to express and channel their anger without being destructive to themselves or anyone around. This is one very crucial skill if they need to live their adult lives in harmony.
Don’t shut down sadness and tears calling your child a ‘Cry Baby’ this is done with boys mostly. Stopping sadness from being expressed affects a person’s ability to bounce back. Studies have shown that suppressing emotions is bad for your physical and emotional health.
5) Teach them the joy of solitude
Most securely attached kids are able to play by themselves once they are around 7 to 8 months old. As they grow up their capacity to be by themselves increases. However, today modern life is full of electronic distractions that we parents don’t give our kids the opportunity to learn to deal with solitude and boredom.
Being alone allows the infant, and later the child, to develop their own internal life. They are not reacting to the immediate environment, are not set on a particular goal or task, they just are. If one is not allowed to develop the capacity to be alone, one does not develop a solid sense of self which makes him/her reactive to the surrounding environment. Noted child psychologist Winnicott calls this the ‘false self.’ Children who do not know how to deal with solitude grow up to be insecure adults, people pleasers, disconnected from their own wants and desires.
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If your child has these skills he/she will be better able to manage their life without being overwhelmed or feel inadequate when faced with challenges. Moreover, parents need to remember that they are not going be around forever and no matter how good they are in Maths or Science, they still need to know how to manage their life. Teaching them the above skills will raise their self-esteem leading to happier lives.