There are so many perceptions of the word parent. When people mention the word “parenting”, most automatically think of the word “discipline”, as if they go hand in hand. Discipline is a large part of parenting but it should not be the first thing you think of. A more accurate perception of a “good” parent would fall more along the lines with the role of a teacher. When you become a parent you become a teacher.
Being a teacher requires several things. You will teach your children life skills by example, through discipline, and most importantly love and positive reinforcement. The one thing you must always remember is your children were born into our world and not the other way around. Make sure you are teaching the kids how to act and get along in our world without getting stuck in their world doing whatever they want you to do. I think it is fine to let your children do some of the things they want to do, but let’s make sure it is for the better.
Our main goal is to minimize stress in our every day lives. Sometimes we need to expend more energy initially in order to relieve stress in the long-term. Expending positive energy is not nearly as tiring as expending stressful energy. So what does this tell you? It means that stress is what causes fatigue and not just using up energy. So stress must be eliminated.
One of the greatest ways to relieve stress is to teach your children to do helpful tasks early on. Teach your children to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich at the age 4. Teach your child to get their younger sibling a sippy cup with milk in it. Teach your child to even change a diaper. Get them involved. This does require patience and energy. But 3 or 4 weeks down the road you have now eliminated a long-term strain in your life by having to wait on your children for everything. Not only that but it teaches your kids more than you can imagine. One, it shows children to become responsible and independent by accomplishing a life skill. In turn, it will boost confidence in themselves, heightening self-esteem, which will allow them to learn more easily in the future.
So become a teacher. My 5 year old daughter changes my 9 week old baby girl. My 3 1/2 year old son will feed my 9 week old a bottle. My 5 year old daughter will help me do the dishes.. and she wants to help. When they do these tasks and help you, make sure to give positive reinforcement and also share their accomplishments with mommy. For instance, “Hey Mommy, Elizabeth was such a great helper today, she fed Emma a bottle and changed her after she helped me make the sandwiches for lunch. Isn’t she becoming such a big girl?”
These types of reinforcements seriously improve confidence and self-esteem. As you can see you worked hard to get your child to learn these simple life skills but in the long-term you have minimized stress from your life.
But don’t be so egotistical and simply do it for yourself. Do it for the children and for the family. The children will begin to feel important and they can establish a role within the family. With my kids, I will have one change a diaper and the other will take the diaper to the trash. This teaches teamwork which is highly important in life. The children will also learn quickly what is needed to get drinks and prepare lunch so the next time they ask for something they know how much you will need to go through in order to execute their “command”. My oldest daughter helps me without me asking her, when she knows I have to prepare lunch and do other things at the same time. She never offered until she learned herself what was involved. She has learned sympathy and compassion.
So become the teacher. Teach them what life is all about. Make sure there is down time. Kids learn in short bursts of energy. Don’t overwhelm them as this could hinder their confidence. Don’t expect to teach them things overnight. Teaching by example is usually the most efficient and successful means at getting the children to accomplish goals. Let them go at their own pace at watching you execute your tasks over and over again until they build up enough confidence to do it themselves.
Energy has been used up, but the energy is not lost. The energy has been invested into your family and it will pay off in the end.
Copyright© Steven Remington