What do YOU want for your children…? To be well behaved or to do well at school? Or maybe you just want them to be happy and achieve what they can in life?
But what makes our children happy?
To give them what they WANT?: more sweets, to stay up late, no chores, longer screen time, the newest phone/gadgets. We tidy their room for them; we take over the organisation of their life so they can just enjoy it; for us not to raise our voice; we cook and clean for them; no nagging from us – just praise; we make sure they are on time for everything; pack their school/PE bag; fix and solve their problems; keep on top of their homework?
Or will they be happier if we give them what they NEED?: healthy food, limited sugar, restricted screen time, chores and responsibilities, consistent rules, consequences so they learn from their mistakes; expecting them to try to solve their own problems; realistic expectations towards school and activities; for them to organise their everyday life and activities?
So what our children want and what they really need often have little in common. We are not doing them any favours or making our children happier by giving them what they THINK they want… as it will be taking away the greatest gift of all: independence and a sense of responsibility.
Children who are not trusted or trained to be self-reliant often have a low self-esteem; they don’t get to experience achievement and success – to feel the outcome of their efforts and get praised for doing so. They will find school life harder to cope with than their friends because they are not used to the expectation of looking after themselves and being organised, as…”mummy does that!!”. Furthermore, we then tell our children off saying, “why can’t you do more by yourself?!!”
Children like rules and routine; it makes them feel safe, secure and happy in an already stressful and confusing world.
So let’s make our kids happy and give them what they really need and in the process it will make you a more successful and happier parent. You will lead your child toward greater independence and self-reliance which will not only help them to do better at school but also boost their confidence – we all like to be trusted to do things for ourselves and others!
Children who are self-reliant not only do what they are told the first time but they will also start doing things on their own…without being told! Yes, wouldn’t that be nice?
So ask yourself: what does your child need in order to be happy?
- For you to give back some of those self-imposed chores you have taken on and start allowing your child to do them for themselves?
- To start having planned chores and responsibilities, so your child gets a chance to show what they really can do?
- More realistic consequences, in order for them to become responsible for their own behaviour and actions?
- Give your child the time and space to problem-solve their own every day issues, without you stepping in to fix them!
- For you to step back and allow your child to make a mistake, get up, fix it, try again and enjoy the success which they have achieved!
I am not saying that from now on you should not do anything for your children and just let them get on with everything by themselves! Instead, let’s not push or pull them, but rather let’s walk next to our children and with the right parenting approach, support and ‘train’ them towards a happier life of self-reliance, independence and responsibility.