Teachers, mentors, and parents are asking, “Who is raising these irresponsible, rude, and disrespectful children?” Is culture to blame? School? Parents? Raising kids is challenging, and there’s no “one size fits all” method. After a full day at work, coming home to care for children and take care of chores leaves a parent emotionally spent. It’s easy for parents to lose control and lash out at their children, making quick, irrational decisions about punishment.
Anyone who has been a parent understands the feeling of being overwhelmed with a two year old’s temper tantrum. Watching your children pick on each other can make it difficult to maintain your composure. However, your child is closely watching your reaction to model your behavior. You are essentially your child’s “barometer” – your reaction makes or breaks boundaries and sets the mood for the household. Here’s some suggestions to help you keep your cool and put the brakes on negative behavior:
Control your own stress. You may not realize your own anxiety level is high, but children pick up on their parent’s emotions and resonate with them. When you get anxious, your child’s anxiety increases as well. Learning to slow down, take time for yourself, and model positive thinking helps lower your children’s stress and teaches them how to cope with anxiety.
Don’t beat yourself up. You’re human, and every parent makes mistakes. It’s not the mistakes you make that will harm your child – it’s how you respond to those mistakes. Explaining that you make a mistake will build trust with your child and model that everyone makes mistakes (even adults). Avoid an attitude that signals you’ve given up on their child; kids perceive this as having lost their parent’s love.
Provide a stable environment for your child. Kids need routine and consistency. Statistics show that children who know what to expect at home are able to better focus on academic and social skills.
Be willing to ask for help from mentors you trust. Raising a child takes a village. Parents need other parents, grandparents, teachers, and mentors to raise their children.
The way we raise our children makes a huge impact on the future of our society, community, schools, and families. Investing your time and being willing to make changes to the way you were parented is paramount. Your children are growing up much differently then you did, but they need the same dedication, boundaries, consistency, and parental guidance you did. Leaving the internet to babysit our kids is dangerous, and you shouldn’t expect schools to instill family values and morals. You cannot control everything your child says or does, but you can control the home environment you provide. Nothing will be as important as what they learn from home.