We want the best for our children. We want them to have a great education, have good friends and be respectable citizens of tomorrow's world. I mean, they are, in fact, going to be our future generation, right? We don't want a group of entitled, disrespectful little brats ruling the world. Can you imagine what shape it would be in then?
No, we want our children to be good and well behaved. Most importantly, they better not embarrass us. Ever. Speaking to many of empty nester friends, I discover there are lots of things they would like to tell the young parents of today. Today's parent has been stresses and issues to deal with. Many more than they did as young parents. But many things remain the same. Here are a few things they want you to know.
I mean really dirty. And stop yelling at them to not do something because they are going to get dirty. Who cares? Let them enjoy their childhood. Every single dirty minute of it.
2. Get the hell off your phone!
You're a parent, not a high school child. Grow up. You have life in front of you. Play with your child, interact with them, spend time with them, pay attention to them.
3. Don't stick up for them all the time.
Let them figure it out on their own. You can certainly advise them on how to handle situations or give them guidance, but let them do their own solving. They will eventually need to figure it out anyway. Give them guidance, don't coddle.
4. And speaking of coddling, don't do that.
Give them breathing room. Give them space. They don't need you by their side 24/7. They can figure out how to do things on their own and if they can't they will come find you and ask you. Leave them be sometimes.
5. Let them grow their hair long, let them shave their head.
It's hair. Big deal. Let it go. There are worse things they can do then grow their hair or want their head shaved. It's their head and their hair.
6. Let them get pierced or tattooed.
Who cares? Aside from them tattooing Go to hell on their foreheads, most kids get inked or pierced for fun or as an expression of who they are. Their creative side. If it's not going to harm their future job efforts or success, let them be.
7. If you have more than one, don't play favourites.
I know this can sometimes be challenging but catch yourself if you find you are doing that and stop immediately. It will hurt them in the end if you don't stop now.
8. Support whatever crazy plans, ideas or dreams they have.
No matter what it is. Always make sure they believe in themselves and that they know you believe in them too. If they want to hunt for dinosaurs when they get older tell them that's a great idea. Period.
9. Teach them the value of money but don't stress over it.
Don't tell them that money doesn't grow on trees and that you're not the bank and that you have to work hard for your money. Don't instill any limiting beliefs on them about money. You don't want them to spend the rest of their lives worrying or stressing over the almighty dollar. They'll have enough things to worry about as they get older. Money doesn't have to be one of them.
10. Don't stress about their future education or how you are going to pay for it.
Most of them don't even want to go to college or university anyway. Put a bit of money away for them but don't scrape every penny you have so they can go to school. With the rising cost of education these days, by the time they are ready for continuing education you will have to remortgage your house anyway. Enjoy your money and go on vacation. The kids will be fine.
11. Don't believe everything you read on the internet about the do's and don'ts of raising children.
There's some irony in that as you read this but really, all the warnings and advice from too uptight parents telling us how our children should behave. They should behave like children because that's what they are. Leave them be.
Yes, we want our children to be fine upstanding members of society but at what price. Lighten up and let them live. And don't stress about them so much. Guidelines and morals. Not chains and demands. You want them to respect, like and appreciate you. Not despise you and every thing you taught them. They will never have their childhood again. Let them enjoy it.